5 Unconventional Forms of Self-Care

Although face masks, bubble baths and retail therapy are all viable forms of self-care, they are also quite materialistic. I’ve recently learned that sometimes self-care needs to go beyond the surface -- meaning that in order to take care of myself, I may have to make some difficult decisions or do things I’m not too keen on, all in the name of bettering my quality of life. Here are five forms of self-care that go a little bit further than treating yourself.

1. Learning to say no

This is something that I struggled with for a really long time simply because I have awful FOMO. Whenever my friends would want to go out or do something, I would always feel like I had to say yes. As a college student, it can be really difficult to balance an academic life, a professional life and a social life. However, I’ve learned that sometimes certain things need more of my attention than others. I’ve since realized that it’s perfectly OK to say no to going out if I have some homework to do, or I’m just not feeling up to it. Your friends will understand, plus your body and mind will thank you for it.

2. Allotting yourself some me time

There’s something about college that makes it seemingly impossible to find alone time. Perhaps it’s the fact that our schedules are constantly filled to the brim with classes, clubs, internships, etc., or that our friends are usually within walking distance. Regardless of the reasons why, I’ve learned that giving yourself some time alone is a really important form of self-care. Since I’m an introvert, this may be more vital to me than someone else -- but at the very least, granting myself a half an hour to do something as simple as watch Netflix can make a world of difference. I tend to feel more energized and in a better mood, all because I let myself relax on my own.

3. Cleaning your room

I know -- cleaning and organizing your room totally doesn’t sound like self-care whatsoever. If anything, it sounds like work that can ultimately stress you out even more. But hear me out before clicking out of this article -- doesn’t coming home to a clean room sound a lot more calming than walking into a huge mess? Don’t you feel a lot better when your laundry is done or your bed is made? Taking 15 minutes out of your day to make sure your space is clean can have a serious impact on your mood. I know that after a long, busy day, my favorite thing is coming home to a comforting room where I finally feel like I can chill out.

4. Getting sh*t done

Again, this is probably in the same vein as cleaning your room, but getting impending work done is without a doubt an important form of self-care. No, it’s not fun, but it’ll somehow benefit your life in the long run, and that’s the goal at hand. Forcing yourself to be productive and finishing that paper or studying for that test will ultimately make you feel a lot less stressed out, especially when it’s done. Think of this way: By getting your assignments done, you’re tending to your academic life and (hopefully) improving your grades. That sounds like self-care to me.

5. Taking a social media break

If you’re like me, you probably spend way too much of your free time scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. And yeah, when used correctly, social media can be a really cool and beneficial thing, but it can also harm your mental health if abused. When I tend to notice my anxiety and stress levels rising, I’ll force myself to delete the Instagram or Twitter app for at least 24 hours. That might sound a little crazy to some people (and if it does, I’d recommend evaluating your social media usage), but it really does help my state of mind. Since sitting around and constantly checking Instagram won’t be an option, I’ll find other ways to entertain myself that are a lot more beneficial, like meditating, reading or working out. It might be a bit painful at first, but trust me, it helps.