Finals week is only two weeks away from now (boo) and I seriously can’t believe this semester is already over. It literally flew by! I’m not gonna lie though, I’m very much looking forward to being done with my current classes. This semester has been by far the most stressful one yet. The amount of expectations most of my professors have for our projects, exams and assignments is so overwhelming and exhausting. I do have some professors who are super chill about criteria and are more than willing to support and help in any way, but the other ones care more about every little aspect and detail in the classes. Even though I give them a huge amount of credit for being passionate about their jobs, it can be a little over the top from a student’s perspective. It’s also tricky for me to manage my time for my extracurricular groups as well as blogging and socializing. It’s funny how college can be the best time of your life but also the worst time of your life!
Even though deadlines are a priority, it’s still so important to make time for self-care. I want to get good grades and do the very best I can, but I also want to take care of myself; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Most college students don’t prioritize self-care as often as they should. I can be guilty of that for sure. We all know stress isn’t healthy and also not easy to manage at the same time. However, I want to try to encourage anyone, whether in college or not, to find time to take a breather and prioritize their own well being. And no, it’s not selfish one bit! Self-care is in fact a divine responsibility that is essential for everyone’s success and well-being! My busy schedule can get the best out of me, but I try to find time to make sure I’m happy with myself. Here are some of my favorite ways to practice self-care in college:
Sleep is a hard thing to accumulate in college. Most of my friends have expressed the lack of sleep they’ve received before due to the stresses of classes. It’s something I struggle with too, don’t get me wrong! But even though I care a great deal about my education, giving my body plenty of rest is a huge priority. I honestly try to stay away from pulling an all-nighter as much as possible. The latest I’ve stayed up for a project or studying was at 2 AM, and I pray to God that I never have to stay up that late for a class again! About most adults need at least 8 hours of sleep to function properly the next day. What I try to do every night is stop playing around with my phone one hour before I get into bed. I try to do the same with my computer, depending on how busy I am with classwork. To sum it up … MAKE SURE YOU GET PLENTY OF SLEEP!
Explore the outdoors
For me personally, nature calms me. Obviously I don’t like going out in the freezing winter, but I love going out in mild spring or fall weather. Whenever I need to wind down and give my mind a break from assignments or studying, I love to go outside and see the beautiful world surrounding me. I can see every visual detail created by God, such as the gleaming stream in a creek or green leaves on a tree, and I give thanks to Him for blessing me with its beauty. Even standing outside for five minutes or less boosts my mood. Studies show that spending time outside can increase endorphins as well as stimulate serotonin in your brain, which are both very good things! Ask a friend or more to go on hike with you, or even just to sit outside free and read a good book. I guarantee by the time you go back inside after being outdoors for a certain amount of time, you’ll feel like a whole new person!
Make a daily to-do list
Honestly, nothing is more satisfying than checking off tasks and goals on your to-do list. I used to be lazy when it came to making to-do lists. I would write them every once in a while, which helped but I still got stressed out because I wasn’t making them daily. I kept telling myself I didn’t have the time to write a to-do list. It felt like another task to add on a to-do list! 😂 Lately; however, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing them daily. At the beginning of my spring break, I was overwhelmed with the amount of work I needed to do and I was also going on a trip to Seattle for the week. I decided to write a to-do list for that day and for the rest of the spring break, so that way I knew exactly when I needed to get stuff done. Since then, I’ve been writing them every night prior to the next day and I’m less stressed now! It really feels good to write down your main priorities and check them off when finished. I guarantee when you start doing it daily, you’ll find yourself feeling more at ease and even more motivated!
Schedule your deadlines, then schedule downtime for yourself
Even though we students have to stay on track for when things are due, it’s also important that we prioritize some down time for ourselves. What I do before every new semester is write down all my deadlines for assignments, projects and exams (they’re usually posted on the syllabuses ahead of time), as well as any group meetings for Delight Ministries and CHAARG. Once I do that, that allows me to know when I can make time for myself to rest, meet with a friend/relative, write blog posts, workout, read my Bible, etc. I think everyone, student or non-student, should find specific days/times in their schedule where they can take some time off and refresh the mind and soul!
Drink more water than caffeine
I can definitely relate to needing coffee every day. I can hardly go through one day without having a least one cup. However, I find water way more energizing and rejuvenating for your body than caffeine. When I wake up in the morning, I crave water more than I crave coffee. So I always have a 20 oz YETI full of water at my desk ready for me as soon as I wake up. I make sure to drink 3-4 full glasses of water every day to avoid dehydration. You should also know that H2O increases good health but also increases brain power, and brain power helps increase motivation for classes. Therefore, drink more water to help you get through the semester!
Get enough exercise
Trying to find the time to workout and take care of your body in college can be tricky. Trust me, I’m a college student myself! I try to work at least five days a week, and I have my available times in my schedule so I can prepare my workouts for that week. I’m in a fitness organization called CHAARG which happens once a week, and it helps me stay fit and healthy. We do a different workout every week, and all the girls are so sweet and fun to workout with! When I’m not working out with CHAARG, I go with my dad to our personal trainer at DFS Gym. I also like to workout at the Kent State rec center every once in a while, or go for a 30 minute run in my neighborhood when it’s nice outside. I find running and listening to music relieves my stress the most! But everyone is different, so just find the exercises that help you wind down and feel good the most.
Seek a therapist
Talking with a professional can make challenges less stressful, whether academic or personal. There are many campuses that provide counseling centers and mental health services for students. I’d be shocked if there was one that didn’t offer any! Everyone’s mental health experience is different, but seeking a nearby therapist will most likely give you a better perspective of the situation(s) you’re facing.
Do a social media detox
There are a good amount of articles that state how some college kids’ anxiety and depression actually comes the pressures of social media. It’s easy for us to start comparing our own content with others’ and feeling envy. It’s also not fun for someone to look on their Instagram or Snapchat and see themselves missing a fun event that all their friends are at. I have FOMO, so I can definitely relate to that bitter feeling of disappointment! Spending too much time on technology can also increase stress and sleeping issues. After a certain amount of time looking at my computer screen, my eyes and head start to ache. Even as a part-time blogger, I sometimes need to hide my phone in my bedroom and just take a break from all the highlight reels. What I try to do is put my phone away one hour before I get to bed, so that nothing on social media can distract me from studying or my mental health. I try to do the same with my laptop if I’m not as busy with classwork either. Surrounding yourself with a more realistic perspective (aside from the stressful realities of college) can make you feel more centered and grounded. This can give you plenty of opportunities to actually stay focused and connect with loved ones rather than spending time trying to take the perfect pic for the Gram!
Spend time with friends/family
Speaking of connecting with loved ones, that’s my last and most important self-care tip for this post. Spending quality time with the people you care most about can be super beneficial for your well-being. I recently went out with some friends one night in Kent for a few drinks and we went back to their apartment and watched Drunk History. It was one of the most fun nights I’ve had by far this semester! I’m also very fortunate to live close to most of my relatives, that makes it easier than see them every now and then. Hanging out with positive people with great senses of humor is a big time mood booster. Positivity and humor are my two love languages!
Whether you’re currently in college or out of college, what are your favorite self-care strategies during your busy schedule? Comment down below and start a conversation!