As a college student, you will eventually feel crushed underneath the workload of tuition, assignments, studying, grades, and all your responsibilities. Taking care of yourself tends to be forgotten. But self-care may be the difference between your passing or failing both as a student and as a human.
Haley Cummings in a Collegiate Times article explains, “Self-care means taking time to improve mental, emotional and physical health.” Crucial steps to self-health is knowing yourself. Take the time to recognize the things that bring you joy and define you as a person, she suggets.
The American Psychological Association illustrates the risks of unresolved stress. There is stress that can be helpful in motivating you to accomplish tasks. But stress that becomes disruptive to your daily life is detrimental to your health.
Symptoms of being stressed are feeling fatigue, struggling to concentrate, and irritability. These problems are opposite of what a successful college student needs.
It is not only that stress will interrupt a student’s ability to perform at an advanced level, but it can possibly interfere with a student’s life. Signs for disruptive stress, also known as chronic stress, are feelings of anxiety and depression. Even though college students view self-care as a burden to their busy lives, it is crucial for students to realize the importance of managing their lives to take care of their well-being.
The Mind Soother Therapy Center provides eight ways for college students to maintain their health.
First, allow yourself to get sleep. To be able to function properly for the next day, your body needs six to eight hours of sleep. It also provides your body the time to naturally regenerate its health. If you are struggling with retaining this amount of sleep, turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bed and reduce caffeine and alcohol.
Second, eat a well-balanced diet. This is a difficult task for college students since food can be expensive as well as time consuming to prepare. But when you choose to eat a piece of fruit over a bag of chips, your body will recognize the difference of longer sustained energy. Make sure to eat breakfast and drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and fried. It can be beneficial to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Plan meals ahead. Take the time to schedule out your meals for the week and pick one day to shop for all the food. You will end up saving money on the food that sits on the counter, never gets eaten, then expires.
Third, get exercise. Exercise decreases stress and boosts health. Exercise should be scheduled at least three times a week for 30 minutes for healthier functioning. The UCC gym is open for students, employees and the public for a $35 membership fee for 11 weeks.
Fourth, allow yourself to take breaks. Life gets busy and overwhelming. Try not to procrastinate. Spread out the work to give yourself time to complete it and not feel stressed. Remember to talk to your teachers when you have any questions or concerns.
Fifth, Journal. Journaling allows you to reflect on your accomplishments and your needs. Keeping a log of goals, accomplishments, obstacles, and stress will allow you to see your growth or areas to improve.
Sixth, practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Mindfulness, also known as meditation, is time that you take for yourself to contemplate. You can find success with this process by being in a silent room with your eyes closed, pondering on the way you feel mentally, physically and emotionally. Mindfulness provides you with a state of mind that you can reflect on your day, find inner peace, and detoxify stress in your life.
Seventh, set realistic goals for yourself. Setting short term and long term goals gives you something to motivate yourself with. Write down your goals and post them to see daily to remind yourself what you are working towards. UCC Canvas class shells have calendars that show assignments for all your classes; they could be a useful tool for setting homework goals.
Eighth, get support from relationships. Having supportive relationships can promote mental health. Make time to be social. Where you can, cut out toxic relationships and replace with supportive ones. Relationships that positively impact your life have the ability to reduce stress. UCC student Darby Lynn deals with her stress in several ways. “I work out. Or I’ll go the opposite way and treat myself to some really fatty food.” Another UCC student, who goes by the name Kita, said, “I go home and play with my little brother.” Dalton Roman reduces stress through thinking about his family. “My motivation to go to college is to provide better for my wife.” Dalton suggests students think of their futures to feel better. Brody Black, a business major degree, offers his method to destress. “I keep things new in my life. College is always the same thing over and over again.” Finding ways that personally help you to stay away from chronic stress is critical for you to be able to succeed.
Make yourself a priority so your well-being and your college education prospers.