As a college student, I’m sure you have plenty going on in all aspects of your life… so much to juggle, so much to prepare, so much to maintain! Considering all your responsibilities and activities, you may find it difficult to care for yourself. Well, I am here to tell you that I certainly understand the plight of college life and the difficulties associated with managing so much. On top of that, I also know it’s hard to live in a noisy world where media overloads us with TMI (too much information) and bad world news every second of the day. It becomes super important to take a step back and spend time decompressing and getting yourself centered. For these reasons, I believe you’ll find these 14 self-care strategies helpful as you strive to keep yourself focused and at peace during your time in college.
- Take deep breaths. Sometimes, we forget to breathe. Breathing helps to relax your body and reduce your stress levels.
- Roll your shoulders daily to relieve a bit of the stress that can build in your shoulders. Exercising regularly helps, too… get those endorphins flowing.
- Spend time in solitude, away from distractions and noise. This helps to refocus, gain clarity and find resolve. Meditate to reflect on your past experiences to make sense of them. If you are a spiritual person, pray.
- Soak in a tub. This helps you to relax and de-stress while pampering yourself. While you’re at it, listen to music that makes you happy.
- Change environments. Get some fresh air. Switching settings can be positively stimulating. It gets you out of a funk and helps change your attitude.
- Stay away from negative people. Misery loves company. Spend time with positive, goal-driven peers who encourage you.
- Limit your exposure to social media + news. For example, only check social media after lunch or after dinner for a duration of 15 minutes. Set those parameters and you will experience an increase in your productivity. Limiting your media exposure is also helpful as we humans tend to internalize information from these platforms and use it to compare ourselves to others. Negative news of disasters and deaths can lead to heightened anxiety. Preserve your positive mindset by all means necessary.
- You may be involved in competitive environments where you lose sight of who you are and why you deserve to be in those spaces. Know that you DO deserve to be in those settings if you worked hard to get there. You are enough! Create a visual for yourself. Write down why you’ve merited the right to be in college, in a job or in any other setting you are part of. List all of your achievements. Revisit this list regularly, especially when you need a reminder of how awesome you are.
- Pursue your passions. One reason many college students experience distress is because they aren’t pursuing their passions. Do you like to act? How about salsa dance? Tap into your hobbies of passion and the things that ‘light your fire’. If you don’t know your passions, it is totally okay! Just do the positive things you love to do and be sure to allocate time for those things.
- Stay organized. Organization can give you peace of mind, promote structure in your daily activities and reduce confusion. College is really overwhelming at times as you may frequently find yourself juggling so many responsibilities. Devise systems or mechanisms that work in keeping you on top of your tasks. Use your Google calendar to mark every due date. Create a wall visual using index cards and tape; writing one deadline per index card & placing them in chronological order. For each task you complete, take down the card that represents that assignment and throw it away. There’s something gratifying about physically discarding an item that represents a completed job.
- Set 3 goals a day and stick to them. Every day, before you start your routine, write down 3 things you want to achieve for the day. Set small, achievable goals for yourself and don’t allow anything to distract you from accomplishing those goals. Focusing on your goals should occupy your mental space and leave you with no room to wallow in your worries. You will also feel a great sense of satisfaction once you achieve these small goals or micro-wins you set for yourself.
- Have fun. Do things that make you laugh. Watch your favorite movie. Watch comedies with your roommates and friends. Go to campus events. Spending time in solitude is good for a while, but be sure not to isolate yourself from your peers. Life is more fun when spent with people.
- Download a daily motivational or inspirational app. Start your morning off by reading or listening to a daily devotional or message. This helps keep you encouraged and focused on the things that matter in life.
- Watch College Life on Fleek with Dr. IJ on YouTube to gain self-care strategies and insights through these video resources. Also, visit collegelifecoach.info and follow @drijclc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat to get additional self-care encouragement and information from your #1 College Life Coach. I am here to support you!
Remember, the only way to survive and thrive as a college student is to establish an ETHIC OF CARE for yourself in order to keep the focus and drive you need to complete anything worth doing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. IJ (Ijeoma Nwaogu, Ph.D) is the #1 College Life Coach and host of the YouTube Show, College Life on Fleek. Having served as an advisor, counselor and educator in college and university contexts, Dr. IJ is passionate about college student development. She enjoys coaching students who wish to maximize their potential and live thriving lives during their time in college and thereafter.
Check out the video version here.