Self-Care for College Students
Have you ever heard of the term ‘self-care’?
‘Self-care’ means to take an active role in protecting your well-being and happiness, especially during times of stress. By being aware of self-care and practicing it consistently in your life, you’ll be able to make sure that the challenges and stresses of being an automotive student never become too much for you to handle.
Taking better care of yourself doesn’t cost much, as it mostly involves things you’re already doing. The important thing is to make sure that you’re doing them properly, as they are easy to take for granted, especially during stressful times during your studies.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on to ensure that you’re providing yourself with the best self-care possible.
Sleeping is often one of the things we neglect the most.
College life can be hectic, and for many students it involves late nights spent studying or spent having fun with friends until the early morning. Late nights unfortunately result either in a lack of sleep or inconsistent sleeping schedules, both of which aren’t very good for you. Both of these make it difficult for you to function at your best, which means that your ability to learn and your ability to manage stress are both compromised.
A great way to take care of yourself would be to have a consistent sleep schedule that you are very disciplined about. As your body gets used to your consistent sleep schedule every night, it’ll be able to maximize rest, reduce stress, and help you think clearly the following day.
Eat + Drink
Eating and drinking are two other daily habits that we usually take for granted. While sleep is important to provide us with rest, our food and drink are important because they act as fuel for our minds and bodies.
A lack of hydration, inconsistent eating schedules and consuming food and drink which are bad for us all undermine our ability to manage stress and negative emotions. When that happens, our mood is affected and we end unable to be at our best.
To ensure that we care for ourselves appropriately in this area, it's important to stay well-hydrated throughout the day, especially in our hot and humid Malaysian climate. We should start our days with a hearty breakfast, always remembering the old wisdom of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, and have healthy lunches and dinners that are balanced and not excessive in things such as sugars and carbohydrates which can cause our energy levels to spike at first, but then crash afterwards. The whole point of having balanced meals is to ensure that our energy levels are stable throughout the day.
Of course, good self-care also means having a nice, indulgent treat for ourselves every once in awhile!
Have serious fun
Having healthy amounts of sleep, nutritious food and plenty of hydration means that you’ve covered all the basics. Now comes the fun part!
Life as a college student can be stressful and challenging, which is why you must balance it out equally with fun. Take your fun as seriously as you do your studies. Whatever your idea of fun is, be it sports, entertainment, or even nightlife, be sure to plan and schedule it in advance. This could be on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, for example.
When you schedule activities this way, especially fun activities, you’ll always have something positive and fun to look forward to. This helps you to manage your stress just a little because you know that you’ve already planned a session to release all that stress and reward yourself for working hard at your studies! And when you’re having fun, be serious about it! This means you shouldn’t be thinking about your challenges or your stresses; finish of all your tasks before your scheduled ‘fun time’ so that you can enjoy it without weighing down your mind!
Whether you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert, you need to socialize with people from time to time. This is because we as human beings are social creatures, and if we go for too long without interacting with our friends, this can affect our mood and in cases of extreme isolation, it could also affect our health.
This does not necessarily mean that you have to go out for a crazy night of partying every week. On the contrary, introverts and extroverts have different preferences when it comes to fulfilling their social needs. An extrovert might feel rejuvenated and recharged after spending time with their group of close friends. For an introvert, however, this could just mean something as simple as having coffee or a drink with their one or two close friends.
All of the tips above are easy to remember and practise during times when things are easy. The true challenge is when things are tough, such as when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or perhaps you’re close to your deadlines or final exams. It is during these tough times that we must remember to take care of ourselves, because this is when we need it the most!