Self-care is important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, prevent burn out and help prevent illness and stress.
It is a broad concept encompassing:
- Hygiene (general and personal)
- Nutrition (type and quality of food eaten)
- Lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc.)
- Environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.)
- Socioeconomic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.)
Students need to look after their body and welfare while being away from home. Many students are leaving home for the first time and may find it difficult to adapt.
The Student Union recommends you follow a few of these simple tips:
- Sleep. Remember, your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep to function properly. Sleep is a natural healing for your body and it allows your brain to actively work while you’re sleeping. One great tip to increase better sleeping habits is to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
- Eat healthy and balanced meals. By following a nutritious food plan, it will give your body the natural vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive. As a college student, you should incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily intake. Things to do: Eat breakfast daily, take multivitamins, drink 6-8 glasses of water and pack snacks for those long hours in the library and lab. Things to avoid: fried foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
- Exercise. Exercising can really help to decrease stress levels. As a college student, you have unlimited access to the gym on campus. Aside from the gym, you can integrate other fitness activities into your routine.
- Take breaks to refuel. Take period breaks while studying. Don’t cram a 15 page paper in 24 hours before the deadline. Give yourself sufficient time to study so you can schedule breaks to replenish your energy.
- Journal. Journaling is a great way to write out your thoughts and feelings. You can also create a gratitude list in your journal to write out the things you are thankful for. This will help to shift your mind to think positive even during stressful moments in college.
- Meditate and practice relaxation techniques. Meditation is a great way to build self-awareness and develop a strategy to manage stressors in college. You can practice meditation and relaxation techniques by finding a quiet space to take deep breaths in a relaxed position. Always remember to turn off your electronic devices to decrease distractions. Other forms of relaxation are listening to soothing music, religious rituals and reading. You can go on websites like Youtube to find guided meditation exercises.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself. You can write out your goals and place them in an area where you can see it daily to stay motivated. Remember the S.M.A.R.T. goals formula: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Timely and Realistic when creating your goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself when accomplishing your goals.
- Get support. Having supportive relationships tends to be better for your mental health. Aside from spending time with your family and friends, get involved in campus activities of your choice. Although you’re attending college to pursue a college degree, set aside time to have a social life. It will help you recharge!