Self Care

Self Care for Students: How to Take Care of Yourself in College

Self care is a necessity. When you take care of yourself in college, you feel human: happy, healthy and ready to tackle life. Self care for students is even more necessary, especially during exam season!

As a college student, self care is probably the last thing you’re worried about. But what if I told you that taking care of yourself in college will make your entire time there better?

Taking care of yourself in college is not a full time job; you just need to switch up your routine a little bit. In this article, I’ll show you how to do just that.

Why is Self-Care Important for Students?

Don’t roll your eyes, self care for students is important because it makes your life better. Think about it: how can you focus on school when you’re not taking care of yourself?

Personal story: When I was in college, I had a hard time focusing because I wasn’t getting enough sleep. When I got my sleep schedule back on track, my grades (and my general mood) improved so much. Taking care of yourself in college will make a difference, trust me!

When we’re in a stressful situation, we can sometimes put self care on the backburner. For college students, self care is replaced by endless hours studying.

This means that you can stop:

  • Eating the right amount of food (yup, I’ve had friends forget to eat)
  • Sleeping (especially during exam season)
  • Basic hygiene practices
  • Having enough social time with friends

It can be hard to strike the right balance with self care, but as a college student, you can eventually find some awesome self care strategies.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on to what you’re here for: your ultimate guide for self care as a student!

Basic Self Care for Students – Self Care Strategies for Beginners

You can skip this section of the article if you have these tips covered. For a lot of you, however, you’re just living on your own for the first time. Adjusting to adulthood is hard.

So, for you newbies in the college world, here are some basic self care that you should be doing:

1. Listen to Your Body’s Cues

Your body can give you so much information on what you need. It won’t do you any good to ignore it while you study or go to class.

If you are tired, rest.

This self care tip can be hard for you to do, but resting when your body is tired is better for you in the long run.

You can’t think straight when you’re sleep deprived and need rest. Studying will be more productive if you take a power nap, then get to work.

So, how long should your nap last? 90 minutes.

An entire sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, so aim for an hour and a half when you decide to nap. You’ll notice that you’ll feel so much more refreshed to study.

If you are really sick, don’t go to class.

When I say really sick, I’m talking fever, diarrhea, and other sicknesses that prevent you from focusing.

This is not to say that you should make excuses for skipping class, but if you’re struggling to get out of bed because of a bad head cold, please don’t risk passing out on the side of the road as you try to get to class.

Get your sickness sorted out, then get the notes you missed.

2. Implement Moving into Your Self Care Strategies

Usually, you sit down during lectures. You’re used to sitting down and get achy when you have to get up and move to your next class.

Make sure that you spend some time walking or exercising. Modify your schedule to get moving, including:

  • Walking on campus instead of taking the bus as much;
  • Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator;
  • Checking out some workout classes that your college gym offers.

So, get moving! Your limbs will thank you later.

Strategies for Self Care – New Self Care for Students You Need to Try

These self care ideas for students are not as basic as the previous tips, but they will work wonders for you! Taking care of yourself in college is important, and with these ideas, you’re well on your way to balancing your student life with your needs!

I’ll be using the 6 types of self care model to give you college self care ideas that will make you healthier overall.

3. Make Sure Your Brain is Happy

In college, sometimes your brain goes through this information overload with everything you have to learn. Mental health can get neglected! It is a winning self care strategy to focus on your mental wellbeing.

Go for counselling to see where you’re at.

One of the biggest self care things you can do as a student is take care of your mental health. Your school has counselling services that are available.

If you feel like your mental health is going on the wayside, schedule a meeting.

Even if you feel like your problems are too small to see a counselor, schedule a meeting.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Therapy

Cry when you want to.

Crying is actually healthy for you (yes, it’s true!). When you hold in the tears, you’re holding in toxins and stress hormones, which is not good for self care.

You are allowed to cry when you feel:

  • Sad or hopeless
  • Stressed out or overwhelmed
  • Feel like crying

As long as you bounce back after crying, it’s totally okay to have a mini cry session.

Develop stress-busting techniques.

As a college student, you need to develop stress relief techniques. There are many moments in your academic career where it’ll seem like you have to do 100 things at once, so please, for the love of god, save your sanity.

Some amazing stress busting techniques I use include:

  • Mindful breathing;
  • Taking a break when I’m overwhelmed;
  • Talking to someone close to me when I’m feeling stressed.

Self care is not dwelling on your stress and wanting to wallow all day. You deserve to move on!

4. Social Self Care as a College Student

Even when you’re super busy with school work, you need to remember that humans are social animals! Take some time to make plans with friends or study with someone – just having someone close by can work wonders on how you feel.

Here are a few suggestions of ways you can get your social self care fix even when you have a lot on your plate:

  • Talk with people you sit next to in class;
  • Study in a common area with lots of people;
  • Try to organize a group study session;
  • Go to your professor’s office hours.

As long as you talk to people every day, you can get your social self care in and feel much better about interacting with other humans. It makes you feel normal, even when you have 5,000 things due (I’ve been there, ugh.).

5. Student Self Care: Practical Self Care Ideas

Now that we’ve covered your brain and your social life, there are a few nitty-gritty details that can ensure that your future self is happy.

Practical self care consists of actions that you do today that can make your future self less stressed. This includes:

  • Making (and sticking to) a budget
  • Planning out your study sessions to avoid studying at the last minute
  • Asking for help when you need it.
  • Cleaning your apartment

While it’s not a super fun activity, you’ll be really happy that you can save yourself the stress when you plan ahead in life. 5 minutes of chores right now can save you the stress of having to clean while needing to study.

Self Care for Students: Exam Related Self-Care

I get it; you’re probably reading this article because you’re in the middle of exam season and you’re freaking out. The college self care ideas I mentioned above are good for the whole semester, but you might need more specific ideas for when you have finals coming up.

I’ve got you. Here’s what you need to do:

6. Stop Dwelling on Past Mistakes

There’s this trend with students. You feel hopeless because you didn’t do as well in your last exams, or you’re scared because your final is worth a large chunk of your grade.

Repeat after me: It will do you no good to dwell on what could have been.

You haven’t made any mistakes in the future. You can still study, and do amazingly on your finals!

Thinking about the past too much can also make you think that you can’t succeed, which is simply not true.

As soon as you write that final, stop thinking about it.

(If you start calculating your possible grade in the exam room, this tip is for you!)

7. Take a Walk

Are you ever stuck on a problem, leave it alone for a bit, and then come back to it only to figure it out right away? Me too.

Sometimes, the best thing that you can do when you can’t figure something out is take a break.

Most of us perform badly under pressure, so work on reducing your stress before you go back to hitting the books.

8. Invest in Some Comfy Study Stuff

Who wants to study when your roommates are loud and you don’t feel cozy?

It’s important, for college self care purposes, to make your study time enjoyable. That means that your goal is to make yourself comfy and cozy.

Some ideas of getting ready to study in a cozy way include:

  • Getting some tea to sip while studying;
  • Wrapping yourself in a blanket as you hit the books;
  • Investing in some earplugs to block out the noise;
  • Making sure that your lighting isn’t too bright (but not too dim either, please don’t take a nap!).

Studying doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it a very hygge experience, and cozy-on up!

9. Surround Yourself with the Right People

Some people can just stress you out. If you’ve ever had friends who compare grades all the time or are so stressed that you become stressed, you know what I mean.

While I’m sure they don’t mean it, you might want to steer clear of people who stress you out during exam time. This is strictly for self care purposes and is not permanent!

We don’t need extra stress, so surround yourself with people who boost you up during exams.

Look for people who study with you without freaking out and people who encourage you.

10. Try Not to Cram

For the love of your mental health, please stop cramming for your exams! It’s not good for you and it’s not an efficient study method.

This relates to the whole concept of practical self care: you’re doing some work so that your future self won’t freak out.

I have a bunch of tips on great study methods in my article on how to deal with exam stress, so be sure to check that out if you’re a nervous Nancy!

Conclusion: Self Care for Students is Not a Luxury, it’s a Necessity

You won’t get a trophy for neglecting your self care as a college student. You’ll get sadness and anxiety instead!

Even the busiest of students can make time in their schedule to avoid the added stress and implement a bit of self care in their routines to avoid burnout.

It will take practice. It’s okay if it’s not a smooth transition to get yourself into a more balanced schedule. However, you’re trying, and that’s the best that you can do.

TELL ME: Which strategies for self care are you most excited to implement?

Peace out!