Strategies for Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is very important and by self-care, I mean caring for your own sanity. “Me time” is essential and often forgotten in our busy lives as college students. Currently, it seems as though we have just finished midterms and are now being struck by project due dates, research and soon enough, final exams. According to the American Psychological Association, stress can cause an array of problems on your health including chronic headaches, increased chances of disease, weight gain or loss and even depression. They also point out that reducing stress levels will help you to feel better now and will benefit you and your health in the long run.  

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A great tactic would be to listen to some chill music of course! Music does amazing things to the human body and mind. If you’re feeling stress from assignments, homesickness or just a case of the blues, music is the answer. Currently, my playlist looks like, Sza, Jhene Aiko, Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, and Chance the Rapper. All of these artists bring me happiness and give me a sense of tranquility when I hear their songs. The great thing about using music to help your psyche is that we can carry it anywhere! If you’re feeling like you need to take some time for your mind in between classes, just pop in some headphones to your phone and press play. Easy as pie.

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Sometimes watching an old movie that evokes nostalgia takes your mind off of stressors. I’m pretty sure that most people have a movie from childhood or their teenage years that brings them peace or joy. This can definitely get your mind to think about the simpler things in life. If you don’t have a movie like that, I recommend you check out the article called Old Romantic Movies That Will Leave You Feeling Some Type of Way. You just might find something that reminds you of good old M-O-M and who doesn’t love Mom?

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The third strategy to relieve stress would be meditation. I don’t necessarily mean sitting cross-legged in the middle of the common room with your hands in an “ohm” on your knees. Just lay down on your bed, on top of your covers and close your eyes. You can even put on some soothing spa music via Pandora or Spotify. Whatever you choose, just make sure that you are closing your eyes and clearing your mind. It may take you a few tries to fully clear your mind and just lay, but after you get the hang of it it will definitely benefit you and your mind. It may even help you realize how stressed you truly are in life when you just take a few minutes to shut everything out.  

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Finally, go to the gym! Working out has many benefits for your health. As said by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity can reduce your risk of depression and help you sleep better. This is along with many other benefits to your brain such as helping to keep your thinking, learning and judgment skills sharp. They suggest doing aerobics and muscle-strengthening activities for 30 to 60 minutes about three to five times a week. This can be easily worked into your class and work schedule because the ODU Student Recreation Center is open 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

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Many of us often forget to take some time for ourselves. As college students, we have our faces buried in textbooks and laptops on the daily. Just make sure to keep in mind that self-care is important on both your mind and your body in the long run. I dare you to try out some of these strategies and see how your mood and daily thoughts change!