How to Practice Self-Care as a College Student

May 16, 2018

Source: Thomas KellyUnsplash

Where do you sit on your list of priorities?

Somewhere near the bottom, between 'cleaning my room' and 'drafting that college essay'. Am I right?

Self-care was one of those things I'd 'get around to someday'. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that 'someday' never came. It took hitting rock bottom for me to realise I actually mattered and taking care of myself isn't selfish. In fact, it allowed me to be a better, shinier version of myself which helped my relationships, college performance and overall happiness.

Being a millennial in college is hard. We're expected to have a full-time course load and a part-time job and we usually create a side-hustle because our part-time job doesn't allow us to be as creative as we hoped. This all comes before actually having a semblance of a life, such as friendships, dating, learning how to cook and how to manage our finances. Sometimes, I feel like us millennials were just thrown into the deep end and told "good luck!"

It's not surprising our practice of self-care fell by the wayside as we tried to figure out how to be an 'adult' in this big ol' world.

01. Write
Create a blog, Twitter account or Instagram handle. Write. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and move through them in a constructive way. Somedays, I feel a certain way and I can't figure out why until I start writing. The whats and whys flow out of me and it all feels much more real when I see it written out in black and white. 

I started blogging as a way of creating a journal for reflection. That way eight years ago. I've met some of my best friends and had some great experiences through blogging. I wouldn't change it for the world. It has helped me grow as a person, connect with other like-minded people and made me realise that self-care isn't selfish.

If writing online isn't for you - invest in a journal, buy an adult colouring book or start a bullet journal. Find a way to express how you're feeling in a way that feels valid for you.

02. Exercise
But I don't have time to exercise! I barely have time to sleep. I feel you. The thing is, Elle Woods was right when she said: "happy people just don't shoot their husbands". This example may be a little extreme, but exercise releases endorphins and they make you happy. Exercising doesn't have to be a scary crossfit workout or the latest 'make you want to die' exercise. It can be as simple as going for a walk around the block or playing in the park with your dog. I've found that getting outside is half the battle but I always feel 100% better for having done it.

03. Do what you love
I love to read, blog, play The Sims 4 (no shame), exercise and bake, so I make time for those activities. Yes, there are things I 'should be doing' but I would not be happy if I only did those things day in, day out. It's all about balance. Find a hobby, join a book club or gym or social sport, or attend a night class. Hell, put aside some time to just do nothing
Source: Alisa Anton / Unsplash
04. Relax
Easier said than done, especially when you're following a hectic college schedule. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to stop. Even if it's only for half an hour every day. You need that time to reflect, celebrate your accomplishments and recharge. 

05. Go tech-free for a day
Wait, what? We're millennials and students. I'm 90% sure I've never gone a whole day completely technology-free. It's just not in our nature, but it could be in our best interest. I don't know about you, but my phone is constantly going off, I'm always receiving emails and my Fitbit watch is constantly telling me to move my ass. I'm grateful for everything that I have and I appreciate technology absolutely, but it gets overwhelming. And distracting.

Put your phone on DND for a day. Don't watch Netflix. Ignore your inbox. The world won't implode, I promise.

06. Talk it out
College is a unique place to build friendships. Most of the time, you're surrounded by people with the same core interests. Try to talk to someone new in your major classes, even if it's just about how you're perpetually late or how you can't survive without caffeine. Heck, you're in the same class so talk about why it interests you! (Or how you're only in this class because it's a requirement and oh my god, make it stop.) 

Source: Roberto Nickson / Unsplash
New or old, friendships (and romantic relationships) are great modes of practising self-care. They're the people who are supposed to build you up, take care of you, and be your sounding board when you need them. Sometimes, it just takes a simple coffee date with an amazing friend to take you back to your perky, sparkly self!

07. Take time out
I'm an introvert (or ambivert) so being around people 24/7 (especially the same people) really drains my energy. I'm a fairly social person and absolutely love connecting with friends and new people, but it is mentally exhausting. By the end of the week, I'm wanting to spend some time by myself. I don't do it to be rude, I do it to survive. Sometimes being with friends is the answer, sometimes being by yourself is the answer. 

Personally, I find curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee to be the perfect recharge. Find a technique that works for you and make time for it every week! A friend of mine exercises every day as her way to recharge whilst my sister loves taking baths (especially with Lush products)

There's no right or wrong answer to self-care. It's all about what works for you.


How do you practice self-care? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What did you study in college/university?

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