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Mental Health

A Guide to Finding Time for Yourself When You Don’t Live Alone

As summer comes to an end and college begins, students find themselves in new living situations while under the stress of the academic year. Whether you’re living with random roommates in the dorms, commuting from your family home, living in a sorority house or living off campus with your roommates, finding time for yourself can be a challenge. Maintaining the balance between school, work and a social life is a struggle enough, but it is also important to focus on yourself. Let’s discuss five strategies for finding time for yourself!

Find your method of “quiet” time

Do you listen to podcasts or music, go on walks or runs, watch TV or read a book? Discover what makes you relax and enjoy your alone time, so you can multitask and incorporate these activities into your daily schedule. If your days don’t include a creative outlet, find some time to paint, draw, sing or dance!

Multitask and Get Creative

If you struggle to find time for yourself at home with your roommates or family, take the long way to class/work so you can listen to your favorite music or podcast. Even on your busiest day, it is important to take a couple minutes to breathe and relax. Try doing something relaxing but productive like cooking, drinking coffee outside or journaling for five minutes.

Develop Healthy Habits

Set a consistent, but not too time consuming routine to complete every day. This might look like 20 minutes of reading before you go to bed, a 10-minute yoga/meditation in the morning, going to the gym or eating a meal by yourself. These are efficient but effective moments of alone time that are healthy habits you can form daily.

Learn How to Say “No”

As someone who struggles with saying “No” to friends for fun activities or peers who ask for favors, I’ve been working hard on not being afraid to say “No” if that is what I need to do to protect my mental health. Don’t be afraid to hang out alone instead of hanging out with your roommates or friends. Say “No” to extra tasks that you do not have the time for and be realistic in deciding how much to commit to. It’s okay (and healthy) to sometimes take time for yourself instead of going to an event, joining another organization or hanging out with your friends.

HAVE A “Me Day”

If you are feeling overwhelmed and need a little more alone time than the strategies above allow, schedule a “Me Day” and put it in your calendar. Don’t make plans that day and complete your work beforehand, so you can use that day to completely relax and take a much-needed break from the stressors of everyday life. It is important to find time for yourself and taking a mental health day can make all the difference in the world.  

Finding time for yourself can be difficult when you live with roommates and are rarely alone. Use these five strategies to improve your mental health while balancing roommates and a busy college schedule!

Leah is currently an Honors student at UMKC studying Criminal Justice and Psychology. In her free time she enjoys reading books about court cases and painting commission pieces. She is passionate about advocacy, self care, and human rights.
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