The life of a college student is like none other. For the first time in our lives, we find ourselves immersed in this newfound freedom. It’s the first time many are branching out from their parents and childhood homes and living on their own for the first time. Thus creating an increase in commitments claiming hours throughout our days.
I know for myself, I have never been as busy in terms of social interactions and activities as I have been within the past few years I’ve attended Temple University. With that being said, I still am first and foremost, a student, who strives to achieve and gain the most education out of my academic experience.
Given my experiences, I’ve compiled a list of self-care habits that have helped me maintain a healthy and positive mindset, and social life while finding myself in the depths of my academic course load.
First things first: exercise
Up first, arguably my favorite, and simultaneously the most important, is exercise. As a former athlete, I have always kept active. I’ve never really gone a day without some form of exercise until I got to college.
After arriving on campus freshman year, I found myself straying away from the gym, as this was the first time in my life it was not essential. However, it didn’t take me long to recognize the loss in my life from that daily exertion of energy.
There are a few different types and variations of exercise I incorporate into my day based on different factors like time, energy, and daily schedule. Most mornings, I push to wake up extra early, allowing myself time to go down to the gym and get a quick workout in. Although those first few minutes after my alarm sounds are antagonizing and dreadful, the feeling that is produced through my mind and body is worth the early wake-up.
Starting my day with moving my body creates an overall mood and energy shift, one that encourages success through my daily tasks. The endorphins, or your brain’s “feel-good neurotransmitters,” released through exercise create an overall happy and euphoric feeling, often noted as a “runner’s high.” With those endorphins, I’m able to start my days feeling motivated and run through my morning on a positive note.
Hot girl walks are another appreciated exercise routine that I try to incorporate into my days when fitting. If I’m not working, or too busy with homework and assignments on a particularly nice evening, I lace up my sneakers, start up a podcast, and head outside to simply walk around campus.
My routine is the perfect bridge between my academic calendar and the relaxation mode I settle into for the remainder of the night. Taking an hour to walk and clear my mind, while also stimulating my brain through a creative outlet I find myself personally invested in, is beneficial to my overall mindset through the day, and night.
Creating an agenda
Although it’s beneficial, a simple workout every day is not the only habit that helps me maintain a healthy relationship with my studies. Another practice I have found beneficial to this is writing things down, more specifically taking notes. I had always been the student who had a physical agenda on me at all times and planned my days accordingly.
In an age today where so much of our everyday lives have been transferred to computers and phones, I find it helps tremendously in keeping organized, to write things down in a physical to-do list. Sure, my roommate has laughed once or twice after walking into my room to see a notepad taped to my closet door that’s filled with my assignments for the week, but this visualization not only helps my organization, but also helps to maintain timeliness, and a motivated mindset.
One way I enable my mind to get started with large projects, essays, or studying for an exam is by allowing myself to have a reward in return.
My examples of rewards are a cookie in the kitchen waiting to be eaten, a new episode of my favorite TV show calling my name, and planning a night out with my friends. These are all healthy components of my life that I know I shouldn’t give up for schoolwork. However, creating a healthy balance between the two is key.
Maybe I tell myself thirty minutes of schoolwork, and then the new episode. Or, I only allow myself to go out on Thursday night if I complete the essay that is due on Friday ahead of the due date on Wednesday night. This mindset allows for a more effective way to stay organized and not fall behind, while still experiencing the fun in college life.
These are just a few of the many mental health habits I have enforced into my life, but I’ve seen drastic changes in my overall mood toward school work because of these day-to-day differences. My ambition towards my studies has never been as strong as it is now, and I have these healthy habits to thank.