Self-care is the things that you do to take care of your physical and mental health.
Being in college can be hectic. No wait, it is hectic.
Classes, assignments, group works, tests, exams, and so on.
It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming to juggle and balance your personal life, school life, social life, family, and a part-time job. This is why it is mandatory for you to take time to intentionally care for yourself so that you can manage all these aspects of your life.
It might seem like you are too busy but you can always and have to create time for you.
Like I always like to say, you can not pour out from an empty cup. How can you expect to function properly in school and do school work well if the inside you are falling apart?
Self-care is very important.
Your body is a living being and needs to be constantly nourished and taken care of in the right way. This allows you to carry out daily tasks easily.
When you do not take care of yourself, daily activities become harder to accomplish.
Look after your physical health
They say that health is wealth.
This could not be further from the truth and that is why you need to take good care of your health in the following ways
Sleep for at least 7 hours everyday
You need to sleep and relax your body for at least 7 hours each night.
Staying up all night doing an assignment or studying for a 300-page word document for an upcoming exam is terrible for your overall health. Not considering the damage that you might expose your eyes to by staying up all night on your phone or laptop, lack of sleep is not good for the brain.
Although schoolwork may get hectic, it is important that you create a healthy sleep schedule.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
Self-care also means taking care of your internal self.
Take in more nutritious meals that will benefit your body more often.
Taking vitamins and supplements will also ensure you get all the goodies your body needs to thrive.
Constantly sitting in class for long periods of time, reading and typing for long hours on your laptop means that the amount of time you spend moving around is less and this can affect your overall health.
Take time out of your day to talk a walk, do some at-home exercises, go to the gym, dance, whatever it is that you enjoy doing that gets your body moving is important.
A hydrated body is a healthy body.
Having a water bottle close by will motivate you to take in more water throughout the day. If you keep forgetting to drink water you can set a reminder on your phone.
If you generally do not like the taste of water you can add in your favorite fruit like an orange or pineapple to enhance the taste.
Take breaks regularly
I don’t care what your days look like but you have to make time for yourself. I like to call this me time.
No phones, no people just you and you alone. It can be as easy as a 5-minute walk or silently making a cup of tea or coffee. Whatever floats your boat.
I say this because most of the time we are so busy with school work or just something that days feel like they go by so fast and you wonder to yourself how did time fly by so fast.
Alone time grounds you back to being in the moment.
Take breaks in between doing assignments and studying to avoid feeling overwhelmed and irritated.
Plan your days
Not having a plan is planning to fail.
What I mean by this is that if you don’t even have a plan of when your classes are, what assignments you have and when they are due then you will only make things more stressful for yourself than they need to be.
Being organized will help you to allocate time to the tasks that need urgent attention. This will reduce the stress of doing assignments last minute.
Starting your week with a plan helps you to know which days you have classes and at what time. When you can tackle assignments and group works, time you can spend with your friends, time you can allocate to yourself and so on.
Planning gives structure to your days. It will also make sure you do not forget important tasks that need to be attended to.
Have check ins with yourself
Checking in with yourself. This means having a small meeting with yourself. Asking yourself if everything is ok, how am I feeling, and so on.
This is important because you can easily spot an issue as it begins rather than dealing with an issue once it has completely torn you down.
You can do this by using journal prompts
Allocate specific time for self-care
Allocating a certain amount of time in your day for self-care and certain days for a self-care day is very important.
For example, you can set aside 30 minutes each day at whatever time of your choice to do something that you really enjoy and you consider as self-care i.e., completing a puzzle or going out for a walk.
Self-care is different for every person.
Take into consideration self-care activities such as doing your skincare routine as a must and priority.
Make adjustments when needed
Many are the times a lecturer decides to have a makeup class that unfortunately falls on the time you had planned to do something else.
Abrupt changes are completely normal, especially in college. You have to learn how to be flexible and know how exactly your days look like so that you can make the necessary adjustments.
Prepare for exams in advance
This is a very important point that I feel you need to take note of.
Prepare for your exams early.
I used to have a habit of studying a whole semester’s workload a week before exams. This is stressful, overwhelming, and risky for your grades.
It’s better to study for smaller bits over a long period of time than a large portion in a short period of time.
Revise your notes after each class.
This is because notes from one class are fewer and the explanation is still fresh in your memory.
Let us not be students who love last-minute studying, it is not worth it.
When you overload yourself with a lot of studying, you will not have time for yourself. You will be stressed and this might affect your overall grade.
Do assignments earlier
Doing an assignment, the night before its due…adrenaline rush…right?
I know many students do this but yet again last-minute rush is very stressful and overwhelming.
Do your assignments earlier and break them up into small portions so that you can do a small amount of the assignment over a given period of time rather than all of it at once at the last minute.
This is because you want to avoid stress and feeling overwhelmed.
Submit assignments early
Handing in assignments in the right time lifts your mind off it and also you do not have to keep on stressing about whether or not your marks might be deducted or other penalties that might affect your overall grades.
Set boundaries and learn to say no
Having personal boundaries helps you to stay in line with what you know you can not deal with and what you do not want to do.
Learning how to say no is very important. Let’s take a scenario where your friends ask you to go to a party with them. You say yes and yet you had allocated that time to do something else you really wanted to do.
You will only end up always saying yes to things you really did not want to do. This might cause you to start resenting yourself for that.
Learn what makes you feel overwhelmed and what eases it
For example, what stresses me the most is doing presentations in class. I hate it. So, I have to come up with ways in which I can deal with the anxiety of doing oral presentations and avoid falling into a complete nervous breakdown.
Find out what makes you feel overwhelmed. Have you taken up too many extra activities? Is it exams? Whatever it is identify it and find ways in which you can cope and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Do the things that make you happy regularly
Does baking a cake make you happy? Perhaps going out for a walk make you happy? Is it watching a certain tv show or cartoon that makes you happy?
Then do it. Do it often. Make time for it and do it.
Whether it be watching the sunrise or reading a book, that which makes you happy, do it.
Find a good support system
Having a support system like your friends really goes a long way. On those days when you are feeling low, you will have someone or something to fall back on.
Having activities such as praying, meditation, journaling, and writing a gratitude list also are helpful.