Why Self-Care Is Essential In College

Why Self-Care Is Essential In College

It's OK to not be stressed out.


In college, the hustle and bustle of life can get very overwhelming. Beyond going to class, the experience of balancing different clubs, friends and responsibilities, not to mention school work outside of class- the laundry list of to-dos can get exhausting. Trying to meet up with all those people that "you promised you would get together with" can suddenly become the hardest scheduling task ever, and keeping up with relationships while seeking to make new ones is always a constant balance. Additionally, the common plight of overcommitment to clubs and activities is one that affects many students, with many of them overcommitting their to-do lists and daily schedules.

With so many things going on every day, it's no wonder that students are overwhelmed. The mental health of college students has become a concern that is growing every day, with more and more students reporting experiencing intense stress, anxiety, and depression. A survey conducted by Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors show an increase of concern for the mental health of students on college campuses, and also found that students experience most commonly anxiety (35.8%), depression (36.4%), and relationship problems (35.8%).

The incidence of suicide is shockingly high and a sobering reminder to students and their families that they are in a crucial time of their lives: newfound independence mixed with the stresses of new types of relationships, a new life stage, and new responsibilities can have devastating (while preventable) consequences. It is the second leading cause of death among college students, and many of us know someone or have heard of someone committing suicide. This fact alone puts the responsibility of each and every one of us to look after our own personal mental health and also looking out for the people around us.

Being in the state of a college student gives us far more responsibility- while parental distance is usually celebrated, it can cause to be fatal: the recent suicide of a Hamilton College and the parent's insistence that they should've been informed of his evident slipping mental health opened the conversation about a student's personal rights and how much their parents should be informed. While there is no right answer, students should err on the side of precaution and always have someone to talk to. There are various campus-wide resources available, but creating a strong support system in college is vital since it benefits not just you, but the friends that you invest in.

Recognizing that you may be overcommitted/slowing down in life is something that I have personally struggled with- my individual inclination is to fill my schedule up with daily things to do and always be on the go: however, living that lifestyle led me to eventually go through a period of intense burnout. Accepting that it's okay to not be as busy means that it's okay to take time for yourself and that focusing on the things that you care about (while it may only be a few) and doing them well is far better than doing a lot of things half-heartedly. The culture of college that many of us can relate to seems to be a competition of "Who is the most stressed out and busy?" and "work-hard-play-hard" is often an act that many put on behind a facade. While I still struggle with this idea of slowing down and not overcommitting, life continuously reminds me that I need to take this time in order to perform at my full potential.

It might sound simple, but self-care begins with yourself. Doing face masks with friends, keeping up on your laundry, and drinking enough water sounds small, but I've found that small changes that you consistently do are more impactful than catching up on 20 hours of lost sleep in one day. Self-care is remembering that it's okay to feel behind in life/career/relationships (which I have many times) or putting aside your work and reading that book you said you'd always wanted to read. More than ever, now as a college sophomore, I realize that self-care is how you make the most out of your college experience. We're only here for 4 years: it is much more enjoyable to be happy during those four years rather than constantly stressed and burned out.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.


Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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