While it's important to give yourself time to breathe at any point in life, being in college can especially leave you anxious and upset. Whether that's because you're can't go home till your next break, or it's the piles of homework on your desk that's making you go insane, it's hard to see how you can possibly make time for yourself when you can't even handle the situation in front of you. These are the moments when it's actually most important to look after your emotional and physical wellbeing and prioritize yourself, even if that means having to say no to someone or something. Here are five easy ways you can practice self-care in college, and even if you are in a stable place (kudos to you then!), these are great ways to have moments of gratitude to yourself and the life that you are enjoying.
1. The first step is self-reflection.
What is it that's making me anxious? Why isn't the vision I have for myself aligning with what's occurring in the present moment? What is one good thing that's happened today? These are all questions I tend to explore when I put pen to paper and journal for a bit. Writing out my emotions and organizing my thoughts never fails to help me feel better and look at the situation from a more objective point of view. Self-reflection can be done in many ways though, through talking on the phone to your mom while pacing around the room or typing in the notes on your phone while listening to calming music. Find whatever works for you, but make sure this is the first thing you do when continuously feeling upset, because it will build a starting point from where you can figure out how to best tackle the problems you are facing and what is needed to give yourself some peace of mind.
2. Do something that gives you inspiration or motivation, but also feels productive.
In college, we can build this strange habit of feeling like we need to be productive 24/7. In order to start getting out of this frame of mind, you can take a break from your work and do something for yourself, for even just 20 minutes, that makes you remember why you are here getting an education, or why you love doing the things you used to be so passionate about. Maybe you're really good at playing an instrument, or love solving logic puzzles. For me, this meant looking into potential study abroad programs to get me excited about the opportunities I can have if I do well. I also have recently been taking mini breaks to read the book, You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero to remind myself I deserve to be here at this college and I am fully capable of living my dream life.
3. It's all in the little things.Sometimes after a long day of class, or work, or whatever else it may be, you just need to straight up treat yourself. For me, this past week it meant stopping by to pick up some bubble tea on the way home and breaking out my fall-scented Bath and Bodyworks hand soap to put in the bathroom (There is indeed a scent titled "Sunlight and Apple Trees" that I'm not sure how, but smells exactly like you think autumn would).
4. Practice mindfulness while doing an essential daily activity.
There are some things we all have to do every single day, so why not enjoy and appreciate them? I sometimes like taking a bit of a longer lunch break by myself for an hour to just sit outside, enjoy the weather, eat my food and not focus on anything else. I find myself so much more present and my brain slowed down and feeling much less heavy with stress. Another favorite alternative is to take a long shower to clear my head while blaring music, and then taking the time to lather my body up in lotion up afterwards. You'd be surprised at how easy it is to convince yourself you're living the luxurious life, whilst in a tiny college dorm room.
5. Give yourself an extra ten minutes in the morning to set up the day.
Now I know what you're thinking, how can I possibly make more time for myself when I don't even have time to sleep. But if you aren't so keen on the meditation aspect of mindfulness and self-care, this is a super easy way to focus and center yourself (instead of rushing around last second stuffing everything in sight into your backpack) before jumping into the inevitable chaos of the day. The most important part of this is to eat breakfast. I can't stress enough how much of difference that little factor will make in determining whether or not I have a good day. It doesn't even have to be anything fancy, maybe just a banana and some peanut butter on toast. Feel free to set the mood by playing some relaxing music and/or scrolling through pretty pictures on tumblr, or maybe writing out in your planner what your goals are. Whatever it is you need to do to take time for yourself in the morning, I can guarantee you it will help you set up a positive mindset to tackle the day, smile first!