College feels like it was both yesterday and a million years ago for me. It was a magical time of independence + self-discovery. It is when you start to become you… or at least make the mistakes that help you become you. One thing that I wish I had been taught is self-care tips for my college life.
I cannot believe that this time ten years ago I was packing up to move into my freshman dorm. I 100% concede that the world is a totally different place for college students today. Social media + the internet as multiplied exponentially. I didn’t even go to college with an iPhone (R.I.P. my Palm Pixi). Self-care wasn’t even in the vernacular in 2011. While I am so glad it is today, I can still see how it falls through the cracks in the whirlwind of college. Everything seems so urgent + important. But intentionality is the name of the game + that is tip #1.
Self-Care Tips for College
- Be intentional – It can be so easy to get wrapped up in social activities + studying that you forget to take time to refocus + recharge. Schedule time for yourself or leave reminders to take time for self-care so it doesn’t slip through the cracks.
- Adapt – The self-care you were able to do in high school may not be available to you anymore. Hot baths or long drives may not be something you have access to. Maybe it means painting your nails while binging Netflix or taking a walk with a friend through campus.
- Experiment – College is nothing if not a time to try new things + that applies to your self-care as well. You have so many options at your disposal from clubs + intramurals to the freedom of time on your own without the watchful eyes of your family. Expand your horizons + you might discover a lifelong passion.
- Set boundaries – One of the most overlooked ways of self-care is boundary setting. I may seem contradictory compared to tip #3 but learning early to set limits for yourself + others will do you a world of good + keep you from getting overwhelmed or in uncomfortable situations.
- Take a beat – I know that everything seems so serious + important. Every choice seems like a life-altering consequence. I promise you it isn’t. Sure, the major you choose may lead you down a certain path but going to one party over another or gaining 5lbs is not going to make the lasting impact you think it will.
- Control your environment – As much as you can, make your dorm or apartment your safe space. I know that isn’t always possible with roommates, but having a safe place to land is so grounding in a world that is all new. Bring things that comfort you + keep it clean since clutter can cloud your mind.
- Try to be healthy – I am the first to admit I ate like garbage in college, I didn’t work out, and adopted an insane sleep schedule. Don’t be like me. If there is anything I’ve learned in the years since it’s that eating better + getting sleep can change how you feel dramatically. Also, your body needs water, especially on party days.
- Take a break – You do not have to go to every party. You do not have to go to every on-campus event. Sometimes you are going to need to spend a night solo watching Bridget Jones (do the youths even know about Bridget?!). Allow yourself time to chill and recharge. This can also include unplugging from social media for a bit. It may seem like a lifeline, but a break can do you a world of good.
- Practice gratitude – One of my biggest self-care tips for college is to practice gratitude. It is such an easy time to be self-centered + practicing gratitude reconnects you into the larger world + gives you perspective on the big picture, not just the day-to-day.
- Seek help when you need it – College is when I first started to deal with anxiety. I suspect it was a combination of bad habits, being a small fish in a big pond for the first time in my life, and a bad relationship. If your school is like mine, they likely have cheap or free counselors available on campus. Take advantage of this resource if/when you need it!
As you are embarking on this new + exciting journey, I hope you try out some of these self-care tips for college. These next few years are going to make a huge impact on who you become. You’ll be so glad to have a head start at taking care of yourself!