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Mental Health

How to Take Care of Yourself with a Packed Schedule

Every collegiate knows the feeling of being overwhelmingly busy from the second you wake up, until the moment you go to bed. Between classes, work, exercising, involvement in multiple student organizations, homework, applying for jobs/internships, and maintaining a social life, you’re probably feeling pretty stressed out at this point in the semester. You might not have the time to have an all-out spa sesh while running around trying to get everything done. But, there are small things you can do throughout the day to make yourself feel a little better. While doing good in school, taking advantage of opportunities, and having relationships with others is important, it’s also important to take care of yourself. Luckily, you can practice self care- even when your schedule is packed. If the following cat gif speaks to your soul on a spiritual level and/or looks like you on a daily basis, you definitely need to practice some of these tips:

1. You can mix business and pleasure

With a full schedule, you may not have 20 minutes to relax and do a facemask, but you can work part of your beauty routine into other areas of your schedule. If you know you’ll be doing homework for a while, why not put on a face or hair mask while studying? While you may not be able to do this in public (no judgment if you’re willing to rock a sheet mask in the middle of the library), doing homework at home is a great time to work on your beauty routine. Need to read a few chapters, but also want some relaxing time? Try completing some of your readings while soaking in the tub. There are lots of easy ways to incorporate some of your work into the things you do to take care of yourself. Your skin will thank you for the extra TLC, even if you need to multitask.

2. What you eat matters

Microwavable ramen noodles may seem like a cheap, fast meal for those crazy days, but they don’t offer the nutritional value you’ll need to get through the day. If by some miracle you have an hour open, use it to cook a meal. Even if it’s not quite lunch or dinnertime, you can always prep your food and heat it up later. Cooking is relaxing, yet productive, and takes your mind off the things you need to get done. Slow cookers are a college student’s best friend. You can leave everything to cook while you’re doing your daily tasks and come home to a great meal. If you are cooking, make sure you have plenty of leftovers you can refrigerate or freeze. You’ll be to have a nutritional home cooked meal instead of regular ramen on those crazy days. 

3. Exercise when you can, however you can

We all know that a regular exercise is important, but when you go from 8 a.m. classes directly to work and then directly to student org meetings, finding a chunk of time for the gym can feel overwhelming. Despite what you may think, exercise can be really energizing and give you that endorphins boost to make it through the day. When finding time to exercise, plan your workout into your daily schedule and look at it as a commitment, rather than something you can put off for another day if it doesn’t get done. This will help you commit to your health. For days that you’re really short on time, look up some circuit workouts on Pinterest for a quick HIIT workout. If you really don’t have the time to get in your workout that day, work your fitness routine into other areas of your life, such as, taking the stairs instead of the elevator to class. If you’re someone who lives in walking distance of campus, but tends to drive, leave your keys at home and take a walk to class. These small changes throughout your day will have an huge impact on your health when they all add up.

4. Remember that your social life is important

While good friends understand that you’re busy and don’t always have the time to hangout, it’s still important to make time for them. If you still need to get a mountain of homework done, but you haven’t gotten the chance to hang out with your friends in a while, schedule a homework study session with your pals. Even if your friends aren’t in the same classes as you, being around other people can make homework more fun and give you time to catch up between breaks. You can even schedule a grocery store run together. Chances are, your friends also need to pick up a few things. Going together make this mundane task more fun. No matter what, your friends will appreciate seeing you, even if it’s during the boring stuff.

5. Make plenty of to-do lists

Not only will making a to-do list or scheduling in your planner help keep you on top of everything, crossing things off your list is such a satisfactory feeling. Whenever you have a busy day, write down everything- and I mean everything. Even little tasks, like sending an email or picking up toothpaste at the store should be on your list. Looking at everything in written down in one place may seem overwhelming, but crossing things off throughout the day will feel amazing. There’s no better feeling than looking at a fully checked-off to-do list.College is crazy. When you’re constantly running around throughout the day, it’s important to remember to do small things to take care of yourself. Not only will you avoid burnout in the long run, but you’ll feel better about yourself.

Kendra Lamer

UW Stout '19

Kendra Lamer is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at UW-Stout. She is a professional communication and emerging media major with a concentration in applied journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. When she's not doing school work or writing for Her Campus, you can find her dancing at the studio, going for a run, drinking coffee or decorating for holidays way too early. After graduating, she plans on pursuing a career in public relations or journalism and adopting lots of dogs.
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