Tips for the Chronic "Self-Neglector": Simple Ways to Begin Self-Care

For the typical student, the college experience can feel overwhelming at times. From academics, extracurricular activities, and maintaining relationships, college throws a lot your way. If you’re anything like me, in an effort to accommodate for all those things, you let caring for yourself fall to the wayside. That’s why my goal is to provide you with easily attainable ways to live a better, more productive life.

1. Sleep at LEAST 5-6 hours a night

Notice I that I say at least. I know we’d all love to sleep 7-9 hours per night but for many college students, that just isn’t possible. Getting 5-6 hours of sleep minimum is a much more  attainable goal

2.  Make your bed as often as possible

This is something that I’m very guilty of not doing, but it actually benefits you to make your bed each day. Not only does your room look cleaner, but by completing this simple task first thing in the morning, you’re preparing yourself to achieve other tasks throughout the day. It’s motivating and you’ll feel good about actually having done it.

  3. Pick out your outfit the night before

This may seem silly, but we often tend to feel better about ourselves when we’re dressed a bit nicer or put some thought into our outfits. I’m not saying that you need to dress to the nines or anything, but this way you’re putting more thought into what you’re wearing and can feel good about it. Plus, it makes less work for you in the morning.

  4. Have a basic skincare regimen for each morning and evening

I’m not about to ask you to embark on a ten-step Korean skincare routine because that’s a bit much for the average college student. But the four basic steps are cleanser, toner, a treatment of some kind if you need it, and a moisturizer—in that order. If four steps is still a bit much for you, just stick with a cleanser and a moisturizer and you’ll be good!

 5. Be sure to brush your teeth at least once a day, if not twice.

I am very guilty of skipping this step (gross, I know), but when it’s 2 am and you’ve just finished your chemistry assignment sometimes all you can do is fall into bed…

  6. Eat at least two full meals per day

You should always try to eat 3 square meals a day, but finding time for all three can be very hard! I’d recommend being sure to at least eat breakfast and dinner each day to at least “bookend” your days with energy.

  7. Make a daily schedule and do your best to stick to it

(https://schedulebuilder.org/)

This website is a lifesaver and trying your best to manage your time is KEY for success!

 

  8. Have a regular shower schedule

If you don’t already, you’ll thank me later. Ever since college, I’ve started looking at my showers as like a mini-spa retreat. I actually look forward to them. And of course, being clean and fresh on the regular is ALWAYS a good idea.

  9. Invest in a nice planner to keep track of your assignments and your life

Ban.do planners are the bomb.com

  10. Plan to do at least one fun activity each weekend

This will motivate you to get through the week because you have something specific to look forward to!

  11. Do something active for 1 hour per week minimum

Notice that I said active, meaning you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym. A walk or a bike ride works too! This will keep you feeling good and possibly get you outside for at least a little bit.

  12. Drink more water than you usually do

I really never drank water before college, but now that I’ve made an effort to drink more, I love how it makes me feel. #healthgod

  13. Make sure you hang out with friends at least once per week

You need social interaction of some sort to keep you feeling your best. Feeling isolated and lonely is never fun and is not conducive to your personal growth and success.

  14. Call your loved ones at least once per week

Not only do you need your friends, but you also need your family—and they need you too.

  15. Go gently with yourself

Do your best to speak kindly to yourself even when things aren’t going well. Seek to improve. The only person you need to aim to do better than is your previous self. Try your best always, but know that your best is all you can do. You might not succeed at doing all of these things all of the time, and that is okay.

 

Now you might be thinking, Monica, all of these things are super basic—people should be doing all of these things already. You’re right, they should be. But some aren’t. I for one still struggle with even doing these basic things as my major is very demanding and my physical disability takes a major toll on my energy, so please do not think I’m some preachy guru wannabe because that’s FAR from the truth. The steps I’ve just shared were inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which basically says that in order to reach your highest potential, your basic needs must be met first. Working to achieve these 15 things gave me the confidence, motivation, and self-esteem I needed to be a better student, a better friend, and an all-around better person. How are you supposed to be able to achieve even greater things if you are unable to do even the things I just listed? Easy, you can’t because you’re simply not equipped to do so! You must give yourself the tools to succeed!

 

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