Most college students would agree, as fun as it can be, college can also be a very stressful time in a person’s life. There are many roles college students take on that many do not realize. A majority of college students have jobs, on or off campus, so they have to be an employee as well as a student. Some students participate in extracurricular activities, like sports teams or clubs, and have to dedicate time to those and even serve as club leaders. Students also have to fulfill the roles of a supportive friend, son/daughter or sibling who makes time to stay in contact with loved ones and significant others – the list goes on!
Long story short, college students have many roles to fulfill and have very full plates at times. However, there is one role that is often overlooked, and that is being your own caretaker.
It’s pretty common for college students to cut back on sleep, skip meals or sacrifice things they enjoy to make time to fulfill all the roles listed above. But it’s very important for college students to ensure they are taking care of and advocating for themselves as a person first, before any of their other roles. Because to be a student, employee, team member, friend etc., you need to be a healthy person first.
As a person, and not just a college student, you have an obligation to yourself to do what is best for you and take care of yourself, so here are some tips to help you practice self-care:
1) Never feel bad, guilty or ashamed for putting yourself first
Alone time is a must to recharge, refuel and relax.
2) Learn to say no
You cannot do everything or be everywhere at once. Learn what you can handle on your plate and set limitations for yourself.
3) Plan time in advance for yourself and your self-care practices, whatever they may be
With a busy schedule, it is important to ensure you have this time for yourself.
4) Try yoga or meditation
College students rarely get to sit and just breathe if they’re juggling multiple roles. So, take some time to be in-tune with your body and mind and relax. The IWC even offers various yoga classes students can attend!
5) Read for pleasure
College students read because they have to for class all the time. So, find something you enjoy, whether it is poetry, novels, magazines, or even online articles and spend an hour or so a week (or night if you can) and read for yourself – not for a class.
6) Eat healthy
A college student’s budget is tight, but just remember that food is meant to fuel your body with nutrients it needs to function properly. So take time to think about what you are putting into your body and ensure you are hitting all the food groups. There is even a registered dietitian available at the IWC who you can make an appointment with if you need pointers in eating a balanced diet.
7) Find a series you can watch every night before you go to sleep to help you unwind
Most college students like to binge watch series, but limit yourself to an episode or two a night so you can prolong your enjoyment and give yourself something to look forward to doing when you get home (other than going to sleep).
8) Know when you need to ask for help and know that it is okay
It is perfectly acceptable to ask for help. Whether it be from a professor to further explain something from class, asking your employer to adjust your hours, or just asking a friend to lend a listening ear, do what you need to do for you. You can schedule an appointment with WSU’s Counseling and Wellness Services for emotional support or talk to Tutoring Services for class help.
9) Find a hobby you enjoy and find time to practice that
Learn why hobbies are important and what ones are great to take on in my recent blog post!
10) Write and reflect
Writing can be a very therapeutic task for some people. Journal at the end of the day about what is going well in your life or what isn’t going well. It is unhealthy to bottle those negative emotions inside. Or challenge yourself to write short stories or poetry if journaling doesn’t sound like it is for you.
These are just some tips and guidelines. At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you! Participate in activities that energize, benefit, and help you!