In college, there is a lot to be stressed about. Between tests, homework and everything in between, we can sometimes forget to make time for ourselves. If we can make time for everyone else, there is no reason not to find time for ourselves.
We must remember to make time to be good to ourselves, or else your mental health can suffer. Here are 10 self care practices to start this week.
1. Know your limits
According to Psychology Today, self care means knowing what your limits are. This means knowing when to take a step back from everything that is going on in your life and make some time for you to be able to just unwind. If you are taking on too much in your life at once, it is important to realize that and slow down a bit.
2. Remember to eat well
Being good to ourselves also applies to what we choose to put into our bodies. The other day, I went 13 hours only eating a granola bar. I just got so busy between classes and homework that I completely neglected my body. It is important to take breaks when doing work to make sure that your body has enough nutrients in it so that it can continue to function properly.
3. Find time for yourself
It is important to take time out of your day where you are able to do something for you. Whether that is taking a bath, reading a book, or watching netflix. You need to do something that is able to relax you, and have a time where you are able to do something apart from homework or studying.
4. Get enough sleep
Knowing how much sleep you should be getting each night is another important aspect of self care. Your body cannot function properly if it is not getting enough sleep each night. Be kind to yourself.
5. Lower your expectations
I used to think that getting a bad grade was the end of the world. I would beat myself up about it for weeks, feeling guilty. I would tell myself that I was not smart enough, not good enough. Just not enough. Now that I am older (and only slightly wiser) I know that this was not a good self care practice. I’ve learned to be easier on myself, as well as kinder. It still stings when I get a bad grade, but instead of telling myself that I am not good enough, I tell myself that I will do better next time. And more often than not, I do.
6. Pet a dog (or cat)
When life gets too hard, I am grateful I have friends who own cats and dogs. Petting a furry friend (for me at least) helps to release the stress that has been building.
7. Clean your room
I know most people (including myself) neglect to clean their room throughout the week. Whenever I am having a particular stressful week, having a clean room can help how I am feeling because it takes away from the stress. Having a messy room seems to add to my stress, in my opinion. Also, cleaning can be very therapeutic, and it is an hour where I am focused on something else besides that paper that is due tomorrow. It is a chance to unwind before getting back into things.
8. Get a journal
I have found during my almost four years of college that writing my thoughts down can be very calming. There are some things you just don’t want to talk to anyone about, but have to get out in some way. Instead of keeping these thoughts inside, writing them down can be another way to release them without opening your mouth.
9. Go to your room
I have found, as an introvert, that sometimes I just need to be alone. When I get too stressed out, one of my first choices, besides screaming, (it is very therapeutic) is to close my door and watch Netflix by myself. After that, I feel ready to face almost anything that life (and my professors) throw at me.
I know this sounds weird, but it is very calming. My roommates (who I am very grateful still put up with me) know when I am stressed as soon as I walk in the door. If it is a good day, I will say “I’m home!”. If it is a bad day, what comes out of my mouth resembles a T-Rex roar. Due to its calming effects, I consider this a form of self care.
There are many ways to practice being kinder to yourself. No matter what you choose, remember to take time for yourself and get away from all the stressers of college.