Even though it’s not always a commonly mentioned method for success, self-care tips for college students are essential if you want to succeed while you’re in school. Between classes, studying, part-time jobs, and trying to have a social life, college students have a lot on their plates. But by incorporating a few of these self-care tips for college students, you will be better prepared to balance all of your duties while also making time for fun.
So, keep reading if you’re looking for some simple self-care ideas selected specifically for college students like you to fit easily into your busy schedule.
Why Is Having Self-Care Ideas Important For College Students?
Self-care is an important part of any successful person’s routine. Consciously carving out space just for you is important because it allows you the necessary time you need to restore your mind and body so you can show up in the world in a more powerful way. Self-care comes in many forms and can be simple acts that you engage in to focus on your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health.
But keep in mind that self-care looks different for everyone. Self-care ideas for college students may look different than self-care for younger kids or senior citizens. But the benefits are universal. Self-care has been proven to decrease stress and improve the quality of life in college students . In addition to decreased stress, a consistent self-care practice has also been linked to a better immune system, better productivity, and increased self-esteem .
9 Practical Self-Care Ideas For College Students
Developing a great and sustainable self-care routine as a college student is an important part of your academic and future professional success. There are many ways to practice self-care in your everyday life: some students like to play an instrument or binge on their favorite show while others enjoy napping or being creative. Even though self-care comes in many different forms, there are some universal self-care tips available to you as a student that can help you to feel balanced, rested, and ready to take on the world.
# 1 – Get At Least 7 Hours of Sleep Every Night
Classes, parties, study groups, part-time jobs, homework, socializing with friends – you’ve got a lot on your plate. Being in college is an exciting time and you don’t want to waste a minute of it. While it’s normal for a student to have a packed schedule, it can often disrupt some basic self-care practices that are essential to your well-being.
When you’re feeling stretched for time, sleep is usually the first thing to go. While it’s not uncommon for college students to only get a few hours of sleep a night, it’s not great for you – mentally, physically, or emotionally. Lack of sleep is associated with poor memory, anxiety and depression, weight gain, and a weakened immune system . It can be tempting to substitute coffee for lack of sleep but try not to make this a habit – your body needs sleep to properly function. When you get enough sleep you have a better chance of staying at a healthy weight, you get sick less often, your relationships are better, and you can think more clearly and do better in school .
# 2 – Eat Healthy And Balanced Meals
It can be difficult to eat healthy when you’re in college. Maybe you only have pizza and fast food options around campus or maybe your dorm room doesn’t have a kitchen where you can cook. Maybe you think you just simply don’t have the time to make healthy meals. But a healthy diet is linked to higher grades, better memory, and faster information processing and so is definitely worth it. The quality of what you feed your brain and body is going to impact your success as a student .
You don’t need to change your eating habits overnight. Making small changes to your diet will still have an impact on your mental and physical health. Swapping out your nightly pint of ice cream for a piece of fruit, choosing grilled cheese and vegetables instead of meat on your sandwich, or swapping out your soda for water can really add up in the long run.
# 3 – Meditate And Practice Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are some of those self-care ideas, ideal for college students, that won’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your day. Both mindfulness and meditation promote present-moment awareness, a state of consciousness that can help you manage stress, think more clearly, and decrease negative emotions .
There are lots of ways to practice meditation that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule. One of the simplest things you can do is follow your breath:
- Sit in a comfortable position, feeling your back against the seat.
- Bring your attention to your breathing. Take ten slow deep breaths, feeling the air entering and exiting your body.
- Whenever your attention wanders, just gently bring your focus back to your breath.
This quick exercise will calm your nervous system and help you feel relaxed and restored.
# 4 – Exercise Alone Or With Other Students
Exercise is one of those self-care ideas for college students that checks off a few different boxes. It improves your physical and mental health, but if done with others, it can help your social self-care as well. Engaging in physical activity with others is not only fun but can help you stick to your fitness goals and keep you motivated. Joining a club sport or an on-campus exercise class can help you meet new people who share similar interests while also supporting your mental, emotional, and physical health.
# 5 – Keep A Gratitude Journal To Practice Self-Care
Gratitude is a wonderful way to improve your mental health and overall well-being. Consciously focusing on the good in your life is linked to lower stress levels and better productivity .
A great way to practice self-care rooted in gratitude is through journaling. Recording your reflections on the good in your life is going to help train your brain to notice the silver linings even in the most challenging of situations. You can choose to start your own gratitude journal but some like to have a more guided experience with prompts that makes it easier to create a habit.
Guided gratitude journals like our popular A Year Of Grounding Gratitude have easy-to-follow daily prompts that will help you create a habit of gratitude. This journal can be printed out and written on or you can use it as a digital document and fill in the text fields right on your computer, tablet, or phone.
# 6 – Set Yourself Realistic, Achievable Goals
With so much on your plate, it can feel overwhelming to think about all the goals you want to accomplish this week, this semester, or even this year. If you want to create achievable goals, you might want to try the SMART method.
- To practice the SMART method, first, make your goal specific. Answer the who, what, when, where, and why you want to accomplish your goal.
- Then make it measurable. Set doable milestones you can measure on your way to your goal to help you stay on track.
- After that, make sure it is attainable. Who do you need to help you accomplish this goal? Do you have the energy, time, and focus to accomplish your goal?
- From there, make it realistic. Just because you have the time and the energy to attain your goal won’t help if the goal itself is not realistic.
- Finally, make it time-based. Setting a deadline for yourself creates a sense of urgency and helps to drive you each day to work towards your goal.
If you want to learn more about how to set, visualize and commit to your goals in constructive ways, check out this article: 7 Effective Goal-Setting Techniques – Master The Goal-Setting Process.
# 7 – Take Regular Breaks From Studying To Release Stress And Tension
While all of these self-care practices can help you as a student to feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally, there is nothing like taking micro-breaks to help reset your mind. Stress management is one of the most important self-care ideas for college students because so many learners struggle with how to properly cope with stress. Making time to unwind is important for your academics, social life, and overall well-being.
#8 – Avoid Self-Medicating As A Means To Alleviate Your Stress Symptoms
It’s essential not to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs to alleviate your stress symptoms. While there are certainly times when it’s okay to have an alcoholic drink, this habit could become problematic if you find yourself relying on drinking as a means for coping with academic pressure. This becomes even more important when you consider binge drinking with other college students since this will not only impair your mental capacity but also increase feelings of anxiety and depression long after you’ve stopped drinking.
It may be hard to do during college life but try to limit your alcohol intake when dealing with academic stress and make sure to never drink alone.
#9 – Take A Break From News And Social Media
With the ubiquity of news in our society, it’s important to take regular breaks from all your social media feeds and news apps that are constantly updating you with information.
Social media addiction has played a significant role in self-care because so many people find themselves seeking out immediate gratification via their devices when they are feeling anxious or sad about what is happening in the world around them.
It can be difficult at first but switching off your phone and social media accounts for short periods of time every week or even once or twice a day will help you take a step back and examine your habits.
Managing Academic Stress Through Self-Care – A Simple Self-Care Program For Students
A great way to help you manage stress is to get professional help. A psychology expert such as a psychotherapist or counselor can help you learn how to cope with your stress which will benefit you throughout college and beyond. And/or: if you’re looking for expert guidance that also fits in with your schedule and can be accessed from the comfort of your home, you might want to take a look at an online self-care program.
30 DAYS OF SIMPLE SELF-CARE: MANAGING STRESS is an easy-to-follow self-care course that is perfect for college students because it provides you with a variety of tools that you can easily apply to every aspect of your life whenever it suits you best. The course works with a range of science-backed methods such as guided meditations, affirmations, relaxation exercises, self-care practices, and journaling techniques. You’ll learn how to cope with stress, create helpful self-care practices, and accept yourself just as you are – no matter how stressed you may feel.
What’s also great about this SELF-CARE PROGRAM is that it is a self-paced online course, meaning you can take as much or as little time to go through it as you please. Knowing that you have an evidence-based tool right on your laptop or phone to help you cope with stress in any situation you encounter will help those tough days feel more manageable.
This course focuses on several key aspects of stress management – accepting what is; learning how to breathe; slowing down; relaxing your mind and body; self-comfort and care; and trusting yourself. After completing the course, you will be able to successfully manage your stress with tools, resources, meditations, and worksheets that you can come back to again and again.
The Bottom Line
There are many self-care ideas for college students that can help you learn how to manage stress and maintain your mental and physical health. By applying methods like healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and meditating, you can maximize your college experience and improve your academic, social, and personal well-being.
However, the most important self-care aspect to consider as a busy college student is learning how to manage your personal and academic stress in constructive ways. A self-paced online program focused on simple self-care practices to be carried out in the comfort of your own home such as 30 DAYS OF SIMPLE SELF-CARE: MANAGING STRESS could be a great way for you to cope with those stressful moments in college life.
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