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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNH chapter.


Hey y’all, this semester has already been rough for me. I don’t know about you, but the combined stress of school, a global pandemic, and everything happening with the election and anything else in the news is completely burning me out. Sometimes all I want to do is sit and watch Netflix until I forget that I’m in 2020, but that’s not sustainable, and that’s not healthy. I decided to make a self care checklist for myself for days when I just can’t come up with what might be wrong, and I’m hoping that this can help you as much as it helped me to write it.  


1. Am I sleeping enough? Am I sleeping too much?

I get both sides of this question. Laying in bed all day and zooming into class with the camera off may sound amazing, but sleeping all that extra time means more stress when you don’t finish assignments, interact with other people, or go out and see the sun. The urge to hide is strong but there needs to be a balance. On the other end, not sleeping enough is actively harmful. It hurts your concentration, affects your moods and energy levels, and can impact the immune system. I know I’m extra stressed about getting a cold or anything right now, and the less open my immune system is to Covid, the better. Figure out what the best balance of sleep is for you. Maybe you need to go to bed super early on school days and sleep in on weekends. Maybe you stay up late but don’t need to get out of bed before 11 for class. Figure out the right amount of sleep for you, and it can make a huge difference, I promise.


Courtesy of Etsy

2. Am I eating enough? 

Take a second. Think back on what you’ve eaten the past few days and ask yourself if it’s enough. Are you leaving the dining halls still hungry? Are you eating four salads a day and avoiding all carbs that come into your line of sight? Are you skipping meals because your schedule doesn’t give you time for lunch and you couldn’t meal prep anything to bring with you? Don’t worry, it’s healthy to eat comfort food. Pizza isn’t inherently evil, you just need to moderate how much you eat. And in my opinion it’s so much more important to eat enough food, not just good food. Quantity over quality. If you aren’t getting the calories or nutrients you need because you’re trying to stick to a diet or you don’t have time in your schedule, change something. You need food to survive, and that’s not really a negotiable point. I know that the dining halls are different this year, so your food routines may be messed up, but just take a few minutes and evaluate your habits. If you feel you need to fix something? Do it! Just make sure that regardless of what you eat, it’s enough to maintain you and your body.


3. Am I drinking enough water? 

Look, I get it. Coffee is great, and you need your caffeine. I understand that, and fully accept it. But you also need to check in and make sure you’re getting enough water. If you aren’t properly hydrated you are way more likely to get sick, at least in my experience. Water is literally the reason we stay alive. And I understand, sometimes water tastes gross. Some people just really hate the taste of water. I fully understand that, but there are easy workarounds. How do you feel about tea? Or water with flavouring in it? I know drinking water isn’t always the highest priority, and you definitely don’t have to give up all other drinks, but keep an eye on it. Hydrate or Die-drate!


woman sitting alone looking out window
Photo by Anthony Tran from Unsplash

4. Am I isolating myself? 

Social distancing is hard. It’s really hard, and what makes it worse is when you start to isolate yourself even more. I currently live in a single, with all my friends either off campus or in dorms far away from mine. It’s super easy for me to just spend all my time hiding in my room, refusing to come out for anything other than class or getting food. But doing that is not great for my mental health, and it’s not great for yours. Try to add in some kind of socializing, even if it’s different than it used to be. Last year I would have had a movie night with friends, but now this year I do that over zoom! Once a week me and a few friends sign onto a call, have one of us share our screen, and watch some reality tv dating shows. It’s not quite the same as it used to be, but I look forward to it every week, because I can feel safe in my dorm without losing all contact with the world. It doesn’t take a lot to accidentally isolate yourself, so take a few minutes to figure out a way around it. 


organized closet with shelves and decor
Photo by chuttersnap from Unsplash

5. When was the last time I cleaned up my space?

I personally stress-clean my room, but I also really struggle with some things like taking out the trash or doing dishes. It can add to my stress when I’m in a messy environment, so sometimes I have to make myself do something about it. Even if you are super amazing at keeping the floors vacuumed and the dishes done, treat yourself to some freshly washed blankets and towels sometimes. Change your sheets and pillowcases and remake your bed so that when you want to crawl in it’ll be nice and fresh and comforting, especially with the added sense of accomplishment for finishing a task!


Woman shaving her legs in the bathtub
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

6. Have I taken care of my body recently?

When was the last time you took a shower and treated yourself to a nice body scrub or soap? Have you washed and moisturized your face lately? Trimmed or painted your nails? Took special care of your hair? When was the last time you went for a walk or a run? Have you spent some time in the sun or gotten fresh air lately? Have you stretched or done yoga in the past few days? Have you moisturized your hands after washing and sanitizing them so much? These may all seem like little things, but they add up. Self care as a whole is a really important concept, but sometimes we forget to focus on the “self” part of that enough. You don’t have to shave your legs every shower or wash your face every day, but you should do what makes you feel good and cared for on a regular basis. If you can’t remember the last time you took some time for yourself, maybe take an hour or two and treat yourself to something, you know?


Woman sitting in leaves during fall time
Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

7. Have I done something fun recently? 

I personally love to sew, and recently I’ve been making masks. I sit in class taking notes and stitching, and while normally sewing makes me feel calm, it’s been making me stressed lately. So I decided to start a new project. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed fun projects until I started one again, and recognising that I needed to change something really helped. School and stress can’t be your everything, it’s just not healthy. So make sure that the things you are doing help spark joy. Maybe you need to take a night off and watch a movie you love, or maybe you and your friends should go apple picking. Maybe you just need to curl up with a trashy and terrible book about witches and demons that you loved in middle school. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you just need to know that you’re doing it because you enjoy it. Taking a bit of time to do something you love is really necessary, especially when everyone’s mental health has taken a hit this semester.


8. Have I asked for help?

This is probably the hardest, but the most important, question on here. I hate needing to ask for help from anyone, but I know that this semester I really need to. Asking for help can be going to PACS or some other therapy, or it can be asking your friends to check in on you when they have the mental capacity. Sometimes it means having to go to office hours and talk to that professor that you’ve been avoiding, because they can’t help you if you don’t ask. The professors are being super understanding this semester from what I can tell, and if you’re struggling then you can probably work something out. In this current American culture, asking for help is super difficult and we think it’s embarrassing sometimes, but it really shouldn’t be. Even if you could push through this difficult time on your own, you shouldn’t have to. There are people who can help, and people who want to. Sometimes self care means recognizing that you need someone else to help you care for yourself. It’s hard to ask, but it’s worth it. 


Senior Anthropology and Philosophy major with a habit of picking up productive hobbies as healthy anxiety and ADHD coping mechanisms!
This is the general account for the University of New Hampshire chapter of Her Campus! HCXO!