College can be as stressful as it is fun. It’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself when you’re caught up in schoolwork, clubs, social life, etc. While all of these things are important and part of the college experience, not prioritizing yourself can cause a decline in your mental health. It’s important to take time for yourself, relax, and reflect. Below are a few ways to practice self-care when dealing with college stress:
1. Take a mental health day
I know it seems easier said than done, but taking even just one day for yourself can help replenish your mental health. You just have to commit yourself to actually doing it. Spend one day doing only things that make you happy, whether it’s reading, playing video games, binging a show, doing a face mask, etc. It’s a full day where you don’t have to worry about school, your future, or whatever else is causing you stress.
2. Spend time outdoors
It sounds silly, but spending too much time indoors can drop your serotonin levels and lower your mood. It’s important to feel the sunlight on your face. Going outside for just an hour a day, whether it's going for a walk or reading, will improve your mental well-being.
3. Create a support system
College can be lonely. Being alone in your thoughts is something that happens often in college and it can cause you to overthink and stress more. Even if you’re not lonely it’s important to spend time with people who love and support you. It’s simple; being with people who make you happy, will make you happy. Any time I’m feeling down, hanging out with people who enjoy my company always makes me feel better. Make sure you're surrounding yourself with the right people. The right people are those who value you as a person and genuinely enjoy being around you and vice versa.
4. Take care of your body
I found it hard to take care of my body since coming to college. Being tight on money means eating ramen and mac and cheese, and how you feel physically will affect how you feel mentally. Staying active and eating well-balanced meals will make you feel accomplished and improve your mental health. I’m not saying you can’t eat what you want, but make sure you incorporate healthy meals into your diet. Even just working out for 20-30 mins a day will help you maintain a positive lifestyle.
Hopefully these tips will help you take beter care of yourself in college!
This blog was written by Julia Allee, General Body Member.