Many college students spend countless of late night hours studying for exams, balancing school, social life and submitting papers at the final deadline. Although college is one of the best experiences for students, many struggle with prioritizing their time to incorporate self- care. While your academics are extremely important, don’t forget to create time to take care of you. Below are a few tips to help you practice self-care to prevent burn out, physical illness and stress.
- Sleep. Remember, your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep to function properly. Sleep is a natural healing for your body and it allows your brain to actively work while you’re sleeping. A research at Brown University showed that 73% of college students reported sleeping problems while only 11% reported a good sleep. One great tip to increase better sleeping habits is to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Download the SLEEP GENIUS app to track your sleep patterns, schedule naps and listen to calming sounds.
- Eat healthy and balanced meals. By following a nutritious food plan, it will give your body the natural vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive. As a college student, you should incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily intake. Things to do: Eat breakfast daily, take multivitamins, drink 6-8 glasses of water and pack snacks for those long hours in the library and lab. Things to avoid: fried foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
- Exercise. Exercising can really help to decrease stress levels. As a college student, you should have unlimited access to the gym on your college campus. In addition, some gyms will offer discounts to college students. Aside from the gym, you can integrate other fitness activities, such as yoga, kickboxing, riding your bike, hiking, running, etc. Download the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of your exercise goals.
- Take breaks to refuel. Take period breaks while studying in the library or writing your paper. Don’t cram a 15 page paper in 24 hours before the deadline. Give yourself sufficient time to write your papers, so you can schedule breaks to replenish your energy.
- Journal. Journaling is a great way to write out your thoughts and feelings. You can also create a gratitude list in your journal to write out the things you are thankful for. This will help to shift your mind to think positive even during stressful moments in college. Download the 5 MINUTE JOURNAL app which allows you to journal in the morning and evening for less than five minutes.
- Meditate and practice relaxation techniques. Meditation is a great way to build self-awareness and develop a strategy to manage stressors in college. You can practice meditation and relaxation techniques by finding a quiet space to take deep breaths in a relaxed position. Always remember to turn off your electronic devices to decrease distractions. Other forms of relaxation are listening to soothing music, religious rituals and reading. You can go on websites like Youtube to find guided meditation exercises.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself. You can write out your goals and place them in an area where you can see it daily to stay motivated. Remember the S.M.A.R.T. goals formula: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Timely and Realistic when creating your goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself when accomplishing your goals. Download the app STRIDES to track your goals and habit.
- Get support from relationships. Having supportive relationships tends to be better for your mental health. Aside from spending time with your family and friends, get involved in campus organizations of your choice. Although you’re attending college to pursue a college degree, set aside time to have a social life. It will help you recharge!
Follow at least a few of the above quick tips to improve your self-care and increase your energy and contentment!