As I started my first semester at UT, here are some tips that I have learned so far to take care of yourself while trying to survive college.
- Going on walks
Since I live off campus, I have to commute every day as many students around the country do. I live 15 minutes away from campus walking, and this was such a hustle for me since I was never used to having to walk to places. I was just used to taking my car to get wherever I needed. Walking under 100 degrees was bad, I hated it, and I would get to class all sweaty and tired until I started seeing it from another perspective. A friend of mine challenged me to take a look around as I walked to campus and think about three things that I’m grateful for. At first, I thought it was silly, but it actually helped me realize the good things and forget the bad. This made me start my day with a positive attitude and truly made a change in my life. I challenge you to do the same, as you are walking, driving, or taking the bus to get to campus, think about three things you are grateful for.
- Treating myself
I didn’t do this at all before, like ever. Sometimes after class, I just wanted a coffee or maybe something sweet, but I would always tell myself there is coffee at home, or there must be something at home, because I didn’t want to spend money on it. Recently, though, I started getting coffee after a long day because I literally had no energy left to go back home walking. Even though I could have made my coffee at home, I felt better because somebody else had made it and I felt like this was a reward of some sort. Since then, after a long day, I try to reward myself with something. I believe that as college students we are so focused on getting things done and spending all our days sitting, that we forget how proud we should feel for all we do. Get yourself something after a long day at school. You deserve it.
- Knowing when to stop and rest
As college students, I think that we are all stressed about school, work, and our social life and we forget about our basic needs. I am sure you have heard that college students have a worse sleeping schedule and that they don’t sleep enough, and it’s true, we have so much going on in our lives that sleeping is not our priority. To fully recover from our daily activities, our brain needs at least 8 hours of sleep to process what happened the day before. The reality though, is that sometimes other things seem to be more important, like finishing an assignment or doing the readings for the next day. It is hard to listen to what your body needs when such much is happening around you, it is hard to know when to stop. I set a goal for myself to try my best to sleep at least 8 hours each night, to fully recover, and to start the next day fresh and ready. Although sometimes I don’t do it, overall I do feel more energized and focused the next day.
- Go out with friends or alone
When I say go out with friends, it doesn’t mean just going out to parties or tailgates, I mean just doing something with people that you care about and uplift you. Sometimes, when I have anxiety or I am just tired, I try to stay at home, with my cozy blanket watching Gilmore Girls in my bedroom. It is the best feeling ever, but I realized that sometimes, even if I don’t feel like it I need to get out of my bubble and talk to others. Just going out with my roommates for dinner, getting coffee, or even just to the grocery store makes me feel loved and less lonely. Try to go out with friends make meaningful connections and spend time with people who recharge your energy.
- Clean and organize
Something that always helps me when I am anxious or stressed out is cleaning and organizing my room. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but simply listening to music and letting myself go brings me joy every time. Plus, getting things done makes me feel good and accomplished, to later give me the motivation I need to do harder tasks like study.