On a college student's list of priorities, self-care doesn't typically hit the top of the list. But if you're not taking care of yourself, are you really living your best life?
1. Take a soothing bath with epsom salts.
This is one of my favorite ways to unwind. I'll put on a life-giving or educational podcast (I opt for TED talks because of the educational value) and just soak for at least 20 minutes. There are also a lot of health benefits from Epsom salt baths! Dr. Teal's makes some killer Epsom salts with different scents to take care of your various needs. You can get two three-pound bags of my personal favorite, Lavender-scented for sleep and soothing, on Amazon for $17. You can also find them at any of your local grocery stores. Pick your favorite scent (or the scent you need in your life) and soak all your worries away!
I meditate when I want to feel the most "zen," but also when I feel like I can't get a handle on all the thoughts going through my mind. Meditation is a way to calm the mind and center you. There are a lot of shorter meditations on YouTube (like this one) that can fit into your crazy schedule. But one of my personal favorite places to find meditation is an app called Headspace that brings you through meditations that can be as short as 2 minutes if you need it to be. It also has meditations on a wide variety of subjects, so you're bound to find one that serves your needs. Now go be a mindfulness master!
3. Exercise more often.
Y'all, I don't run either. It's okay. Exercise can be much more low-key than running. The key is to make realistic goals for yourself. With my schedule, realistic goals look like me making sure I go on a 30-minute walk once or twice a week. It's not a lot, but enough to make me feel like I have accomplished something, and enough to get those endorphins flowing and my spirits raised. If you are wanting to become more of a fitness fanatic, Nike has a great app that has all kinds of workouts that target whatever area of your body you're wanting to get in tip-top shape.
4. Practice Yoga.
Yes, yoga is still a form of exercise, but it truly gives you the best of two worlds. Yoga is a form of exercise that also is based upon an idea of mindfulness and centering yourself. It incorporates the body and the mind and helps you truly center yourself while also gifting your body with nourishment through movement. One of my all-time favorite YouTube yoga channels is Yoga with Adriene. She has everything from five-minute sessions to 45-minute sessions for sleep, focus, energy, core, beginners, advanced, and everything in between.
5. Unfollow those people on social media who make you feel icky.
We all know who I'm talking about. Those people in high school that were awful to you. Those people who post a lot of hateful comments and articles. Those people who just make you feel bad about the life you're living. You don't need that bad juju in your life, sweetie. Just unfollow them. Chances are, your spirits will lift and your feed will begin to fill with good vibes only.
6. Compliment yourself in the mirror.
If you haven't seen the video of the little girl who compliments herself in the mirror, you're doing yourself a disservice so just go ahead and make that happen. Anyways, this truly is a great way to boost yourself up. I feel that this falls under the "fake it 'till you make it" category. If you're feeling like you're not good enough, just start telling yourself in the mirror "You are good enough! You are worthy! You are amazing!" and eventually you'll start to believe it (because it's true, you are amazing, friends, and don't you forget it).
7. Go outside when the sun is out.
I know, I know. I have vampire tendencies, too. But did you know that exposure to sunlight causes your brain to release serotonin (the hormone that regulates several things in your body, including happiness)? So put on your favorite song about sunshine and head outside for some much needed Vitamin D!
8. Keep a journal.
I know I struggle with keeping a journal (even if every part of my soul wants to be Rory Gilmore and keep meticulous journals that document every second of my life). Guided prompts are a way for you to get the benefits of written reflection while not having to come up with something to write about every day. You can get a "Q&A A Day 5 Year Journal" from Barnes & Noble for $17 that provides you with something to write about every day for five entire years. (No stress about what to write about for five whole years? Sign me up!)
9. Draw (or color, if you're artistically challenged like myself).
Adult coloring books may have seemed like a funny idea at first, but the truth is that coloring, in general, has been proven to relieve stress in all people, not just kids. The amount of adult coloring books that are out in the world is unreal. One of my favorites is this Harry Potter-themed one that you can get from Amazon for about $12. You can also find floral patterns, mandalas, and even some fun animal ones to fit whatever your interests may be. Go ahead and become the next Pablo Picasso. Who's stopping you?
10. Plan your self-care time.
You may be thinking something like: "You're telling me I have to plan another thing to add into my day? Why do I need to plan it? Why can't I just do it when I have time?" Well if you had time, you would probably not have had the urge to read this article. If you don't plan your time for self-care, it is much less likely to happen. Ergo, you won't be taking care of yourself and you'll be riding the struggle bus and it will eventually light itself on fire. Brighton The Day has a fantastic post about why making a self-care plan is important and how to do it.
Whether your self-care happens daily, weekly, or monthly, I hope you can start taking care of you. Remember, if you aren't taking care of yourself, you're going to be riding the struggle bus and it will light itself on fire (not actually, no buses or fire are going to spontaneously up and take you away). Basically, help yourself before you wreck yourself, people. If you want to live your best life, practice self-care!