Self-Care Amidst the Mid-Semester Slump

Amid the stress of exams, papers, extracurriculars (gotta build that resume!) and potentially applying to internships or working a part-time job, college is often overwhelming. Especially now when we are right in the thick of the semester. Unfortunately, with deadlines approaching and our time so thinly spread across many areas, self-care is likely the first thing to be neglected.

Self-care goes beyond doing a face mask or having a wine night. Self-care is about prioritizing and creating habits and routines that help you to balance your life in a way that keeps you healthy and brings you happiness. Self-care looks different for everyone, but one thing that should remain consistent from person to person is the view of self-care as a preventative measure, not a quick fix for stress. All too often, we wait until we are exhausted and completely burnt out only to turn quick fixes which are ultimately unhelpful. Netflix binges, a night out with a few too many drinks or whatever it is, we've all been there. Now that I am a few years into college though, I have found a self-care routine that really works for me, and I want to help you to find one that will work for you!

Personally, I have learned that when I keep up with healthy habits like eating right and exercising regularly, I feel much better and am better able to keep up with my hectic schedule. As tempting as fast food may be when you find yourself rushing to from class to work, or pulling an all-nighter at the library, it is only going to leave you feeling sluggish (not to mention drain your bank account). Pack some fruit to snack on or prep some nutritious meals at the beginning of the week to get you through even the busiest of days.

When it comes to exercising, do what feels right to you! I’m not saying we all need to spend hours killing it in the gym every day (unless that’s your thing in which case, you go girl)! Just getting yourself moving a little more each day can help. If you usually ride the bus or drive to class, try walking or biking. If you do want to get yourself to the gym, the rec center on campus is free for all students and offers low prices on fitness classes like yoga, biking and lifting. For me, if I can get in cardio a few times a week and make it to yoga once or twice, I’m doing good. I find carving out the time, even in my busiest weeks, helps me to stay focused and energized. Bonus: exercise gives you a boost of endorphins, a feel-good chemical in your brain that can help to reduce stress.

Another great way to practice self-care is through something as simple as meditation, which can be done for free, anywhere, for as long or as short a time as you like. It can be the perfect way to prevent stress and calm yourself when stress does arrive. Meditation always sparked my curiosity, but it seemed a bit daunting to sit and be still with my thoughts. A while back, my therapist recommended I try out guided meditations as a way to ease myself into meditating, and I am now hooked. I recommend guided meditation to everyone! I find that for me it works best in the mornings before I have a to-do list running through my head on repeat. Maybe light a candle or drink some tea if you feel like it, but just taking the time to be present with yourself is the key.

It’s so important to build a habit of doing something for yourself, no matter what you decide to do. You may have come across this article stressed to the max, looking for a quick fix. While taking care of yourself isn’t a quick fix, it is absolutely something that will make you better off in the long run, and you are less likely to find yourself under so much stress in the future. Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas on how you'd like to take care of yourself better!