Self-care is essential. College students are a demographic likely to forget to take time for themselves, even when they are in desperate need of it.
Students are constantly taking part in different tasks and activities. Classes, clubs, sports and personal responsibilities all take time and effort. As we approach finals, now more than ever, students should take time out of their day to practice self-care.
Today’s society emphasizes mental health in discussions of self-care. Mental health issues that go untreated can have dire effects on a student’s ability to be productive. It is easy to identify all the ways not practicing self-care can cause harm, but explaining how students can rectify these issues is much trickier.
Self-care can be defined in several ways and can definitely have a meaningful impact on students, especially with final exams, papers and projects looming in the near future. To me, self-care is all about prioritizing my own health and well-being. One thing I make sure to do at least five days a week is exercise.
For some people, exercising can be very difficult, but nothing is impossible. When I exercise, I like to mix it up with cardio and strength training. Doing this helps my heart rate go up and allows me to release the stress I accumulated throughout the day, making my mind feel free afterwards. College students may not have much free time to dedicate to the same amount of exercise that I do. However, something as simple as going for a walk can be very beneficial for students who are looking to incorporate some sort of physical activity throughout their day.
Another way to practice self-care is by getting enough sleep. This is extremely important as it can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Generally, eight hours of sleep is the ideal amount of time you should get. This amount of sleep is often difficult to achieve because of the unhealthy habit of using your phone before bed, a vice I can understand.
I eliminate this unhealthy habit by replacing my phone with a book to read before I go to bed, allowing me to fall asleep much easier. I physically and mentally feel better when I wake up the next morning — especially if I am waking up for an 8:00 a.m. class. It is scientifically proven that enough sleep can truly benefit a person's mental health and strengthen their heart.
One final way you can practice self-care during finals is by making time to connect with friends and family. Being social seems easy, though it can really be a challenge for certain introverted students. Whether it be a phone call to a parent, a text to a close friend you have not seen in a while or a movie night with your roommates, I guarantee it will really help you cope with some of your stress. This is a great way to relax and feel connected to the ones you care about.
Although as college students our busy schedules might get to us at times, especially with finals, I hope to see students take time for themselves and practice self-care. You won’t regret it.