As college students, we can get swept up in the importance of homework, exams, projects and everything else that can be thrown our way. Your success in and out of the classroom is extremely important, but so is your self care & mental health. By the end of this article I want to convince each and every one of you to take a step back, take a deep breath, and dedicate some time each day to your self care.
First of all, what is self care really? According to clinical health psychologist, Helen L Coons, self care, “is one’s action is around our physical, emotional, relational, perhaps professional, educational, and, for some people, spiritual well-being that reflects the way that we take care of ourselves on the most fundamental levels.” For the most part, self care revolves around doing activities that make you the happiest, while reducing your stress levels.
Studies have shown that your success and productivity is directly correlated with your self care, which in turn, helps your mental health as well. Here are some tips on ways that you can improve your self care!
Get some sleep!
Getting sleep can be hard as a college student, but it is so important. I’ve found that going to bed early and waking up early are two of the best ways to maximize the amount of sleep you can get while also increasing your productivity. If you plan on going to bed early, say around 10:00 PM, you will start to plan your days accordingly and get your work done early. Going to bed early goes hand in hand with waking up early, as getting a jump start on your day will enable you to make the most out of it!
Do at least one activity a day that makes you happy
This could literally be anything. It could be watching one episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix, riding a scooter around campus with a friend, taking a bath, or reading a chapter of a book you’re reading. In reality, self care is different to each and every person, but it is important to find what self care means for you. At the end of the day, doing something that makes you happy and increases your well-being will allow you to be more productive in the long run.
Exercise is one of the best ways to increase your endorphins. Endorphins are naturally occurring chemicals that are released in your brain when exercising and trigger a positive feeling in the body. It has been shown that after working out, people feel more productive and more accomplished. Working out is also a stress-reliever and can serve as a nice, productive break from your classes or studying schedule. Exercise can be anything from going for a walk, taking a group exercise class, swimming, or lifting weights; the important thing is to find what works for you and will help you get moving consistently!
Lastly, taking some time each day to either journal, or jot down some notes about how your day went can help prioritize your problems, fears and concerns while also figuring out how to tackle these things head on. Journaling also helps you visualize your goals and ambitions by giving you a space to write down the mini-milestones that you need to accomplish in order to reach your dreams. Finally, reflecting in a journal enables you to give yourself encouragement by writing down what you have accomplished that day, or that week, thus giving you the chance to see all that you have done, in addition to inspiring you to stretch your strengths and talents in new challenges.
Ultimately, self care is a major part of being happy and successful in and out of the classroom, regardless of the outside noise that you may have going on. I strongly encourage each and every one of you to take some time for yourself to do one of the things that is mentioned in this article. Maintaining good mental health and participating in self care activities empowers you to be the best you, and gives you the authority to be in charge of your own happiness, success, and growth.
By: Paige Horn