Lately, self-care has become incredibly trendy, and it seems everyone has a different definition. In my opinion, that's important, because everyone needs to care for themselves in different ways in order to live balanced lives. Here are a few tips I've used in my first month in college when life gets overwhelming.

1. Tea

It's all about the process, and making tea is one of those things that is peaceful from start to finish. Boiling the water, picking a mug, steeping the tea, it may seem silly, but for me, those things are an escape from reality. My favorite kind is peppermint, which is great for your digestion and particularly nice before bed.

2. A cozy sweater

I don't know if this is common for college dorms, but mine is consistently FREEZING. There is nothing I love more than wrapping myself in a giant sweater while I work, clean, etc. And while wearing a comforting sweater may not seem like the most impactful daily practice, I am a firm believer that it's the little things that count.

3. Gratitude

Say a little gratitude for your day, even it's only for a few seconds. For me, this looks like prayer, but I realize not everyone is spiritual. I still think that practicing thankfulness is incredibly important and can be grounding when we get caught up in all the things we have to do.

4. Books

While scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and the like is the easiest passive activity on the planet, and one that I fall into too often, it steals away time and often leaves us wondering why we aren't doing something better than looking at social media. I like books because they are concrete. You can hold them in your hands and smell the pages and clutch them tightly when its raining because they're fragile enough to be damaged. Books have a sense of permanence that other mediums do not and they are a pleasant break from other daily activities.

5. Calling someone you love

This is important. So much of college is unfamiliar and sometimes you just need to vent or hear about someone else's life. In the past, I've heard that you should focus on making new friends in college and not talk to your high school friends, but I've found the transition much easier when I check up with old friends and see how they're doing. College is all about customizing the kind of lifestyle you want for yourself and that includes keeping long-time friends in my life.

At the end of the day, all of these things are helpful, but they don't make or break the outcome of my day. Self-care has always been about the small steps for me because together, those small things shape the kind of life I choose to lead.