10 Self Care Tips for Stressed Out Students

With this school year fully back in swing, it may feel like a school bus driven by syllabus after syllabus has hit you right in the chest. Due dates are looming in the air, eyes are getting tired of so much reading, and heads are spinning from studying for hours on end. Many of us have gotten used to this feeling of constant stress, but it is important to occasionally take a step back and focus on yourself.

According to Psych Central, self care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Essentially, it involves doing things for yourself. It is not a selfish thing, but rather a time to do a mental check-in to see how things are going and to raise your spirits. Stuck on ideas of what to do for your self care? Here is a list of ten things you can do!

1. Have a girls night in!

Break out those face masks, bath bombs, and nail polish. Take some time to pamper yourself or invite some close friends over to have a spa night. Light some candles and play relaxing music or watch your favorite movie. The main theme of the night? Relaxation!

2. Talk to a good friend

Whether it's calling a friend from home or grabbing food with a friend at college, sometimes it's just nice to be around someone who knows how to make you smile. Talk to them about what is causing you stress or just talk about silly things, it's up to you! Either way, you'll find yourself feeling better knowing you have someone to turn to. 

3. Write in a journal

If you like to write, there are tons of self care journaling prompts out there. Here are a few of my favorites: Name something you love about your body and your personality; What things make you feel happy to be alive?; What would your younger self be proud of you for today?; Who are your role models and what qualities do you share with them? If you want more prompts, simply do a quick Pinterest search!

4. Spend some time in nature

My freshman literature professor once told me that if I was ever stressed, I should take a walk in nature because unlike school or people, nature asks nothing from you. Sit by the pond or up at the picnic table by the water tower. Breathe in the fresh air and watch the squirrels run amongst the trees. Try to find some sort of peace in the world around you. It is a great time to read a book, think about life, or just unwind after a busy day.

5. Read a book

Lose yourself in the adventures of other people for an afternoon. For me, there's nothing better than reading about fictional worlds full of make-believe magic and charismatic characters for a break from my fairly average and somewhat stressful life. Looking for suggestions? Check out Good Reads!

6. Treat yourself

Buy something small that makes you smile while not totally breaking the bank. Disney band-aids? A new eyeliner pencil? A small flower for your windowsill? Perfect! Check out the Target dollar section or Five Below for some fun little gifts for yourself if you need some inspiration.

7. Wake up early to see the sunrise

This one might be tough for us night owls, but there's nothing quite like watching a new day unfold. Each new day holds such a promise for potential to live and love. The sky turns all sorts of beautiful colors that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. The best part? Sunsets are completely free of charge and happen every single day. Plus, you can post a super cute Instagram picture!

8. Have a dance party when you're getting ready for your day

Whether you invite your roomies to dance along or plug in headphones, have some fun! I personally find that the days I listen to my favorite upbeat songs while I get ready are the days that I enjoy more. If you need some song suggestions, there are many "Good Morning" playlists on Spotify and a Pandora radio station called "Morning Hits Radio". Just be careful dancing while putting eyeliner or mascara on!

9. Do a DIY project

Creating something artsy, useful, or a creative mix of both is always a nice way to cheer yourself up. Pinterest is full of ideas for easy do-it-yourself crafts. Invite friends over for a DIY night or create something on your own. Either way, it's a nice way to disconnect from your stress and channel your energy into creating something instead of stressing about life.

10. Pet an animal

I don't know about you, but petting dogs instantly relieves me of stress. If you're someone like me who lives hours away from their pets back at home, a furry face can often make a dreary day much brighter. Sometimes people walk their dogs around campus and it never hurts to politely ask if you can pet their dog. Millersville also offers dog therapy once a month, so keep your eye out for flyers posted around the Student Memorial Center!

If none of these self care ideas speak to you, check out Pinterest or do a simple Google search. There are tons of different ideas! So the next time you have some free time, consider doing something that will make you happy and don't be afraid to make some time for yourself. Your mental health will thank you!

HCXO, Hannah

*All images courtesy of Giphy