Student Guide to Self-Care

Self-care is such an important part of caring for ourselves, and sometimes it’s a basic need. It’s about identifying what you need and giving it to yourself; it’s about taking time to nurture and love yourself. Self-care, however, means different things to different individuals, and sometimes it’s hard to find self-care methods just right for you. Just remember that self-care does not mean you’re choosing between looking after yourself and others. Self-care does not make you selfish. What self-care does is make you more energetic and mentally healthy. So, to help all those struggling with self-care, or simply forgetting to, here is a list of self-care ideas.

  •       Have you brushed your teeth today? Showered? Moisturised? If not, then do so, and try to create a routine with all of these incorporated to maintain good personal hygiene.
  •       Get enough sleep. This may seem really basic, but your brain really needs it. Try getting into a routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  •       Take a break. You’re allowed to do this. Engage your brain in something completely unrelated to your studies.
  •       Have a spa night. Take a long, hot shower. Take time to massage shampoo into your hair and wash yourself thoroughly. Moisturise your body, put on a face mask, and paint your nails while watching your favourite movie in your dressing gown.
  •       Watch funny YouTube videos. Seeing people falling over always cheers me up.
  •       If you’re feeling self-conscious about your body then remember that you do not exist to please others, and that you are worth so much more than what is on the outside. Unfollow all unrealistic models on Instagram and stop comparing yourself to photo-shopped standards. When I feel like this I find pampering myself gives me back some confidence. If I feel am feeling especially self-conscious I find going for a long walk, run or cycle, or just stretching, helps me overcome these feelings.
  •       Have you eaten in the last five hours? If not, please do so. Try to avoid pushing back meals, but also try to avoid thinking of food as a reward. You can always eat; your body needs food to function. Be kind to yourself.
  •       Do you always leave your blinds shut in your bedroom? Open them up and let in the sunshine to boost your mood and stop you from feeling sleepy. Having the blinds open will also help you wake up naturally and keep your sleep schedule on track.
  •       Make lists. If you’re not artistic enough to keep a bullet journal or not organised enough to maintain a personal diary, simply make a list for each day or week. Organising your thoughts into a simple list helps you keep track of what is due and can remind you to perform some self-care.
  •       Drink water. This is so important! H20 is vital for your body, and being hydrated helps you focus.
  •       Have a good long cry. This might sound like a funny self-care tip, but sometimes all you need is a good cry. If you need some stimulus then try watching a sad romance movie or a YouTube video about a cat finding its lost babies.
  •       Breathe. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Count to 10.
  •       Make a cup of tea or hot chocolate and cuddle up on the couch.
  •       Have you gone outside today? No? Even if it’s just outside of your building, step into the sunshine for five minutes and take a deep, long breath.
  •       Re-read one of your favourite books. And do it while wearing your comfiest pyjamas.
  •       Do a little cleaning. Whether it’s cleaning to procrastinate or to get your thoughts in order, your external environment will feel fresh and organised in the end and that is a good thing.
  •       Work out. I personally think working out sucks, but thanks to endorphins you will feel better afterwards, even if you only do it once a week.
  •       Sing. Put on your favourite playlist or Disney songs and just belt out the lyrics, dance around your room and enjoy yourself.
  •       Buy some incense or candles. Aromatherapy is amazing and just surrounding yourself with the light of candles and the smell of incense can be ritualistic and relaxing.
  •       Go for a walk. Even if it’s just around the block or around campus. Put in some earphones, take in the scenery and enjoy the fresh air.
  •       Treat yo’self! Do some online shopping. Buy that video game or high-end makeup you’ve been thinking about.
  •       Trying to keep a ‘happiness journal’. Buy a notebook and spend 10 minutes at the end of your day writing about all the good things that happened that day, and any acts of kindness you did.
  •       Meditate. Concentrate on your breathing, try to relax your body and mind, and focus yourself.
  •       Have a bath. Surround yourself with candles and use bath salts too.
  •       Write out a list of the reasons why everything is going to be okay to calm your anxiety.
  •       Write a list of all the things you like about yourself.
  •       Call your friends and family. Tell them you need some positive vibes sent your way.
  •       Colour in. They make adult colouring-in books. This can feel very therapeutic and finishing a design is very satisfying.
  •       Educate yourself on what you are going through, what you’re feeling, and how you can support yourself.

Remember, if your feelings are too much, seek out expert help from a spiritual leader, therapist, physiologist or psychiatrist. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Finally, know that you are important, and that taking the time to care for your physical, emotional and mental health is crucial. Remember that you are stronger than you think, and with every breath you take, you help plants and flowers live!