Self-care is a broad concept that includes promoting health and well-being in all aspects of your life. Self-care should be incorporated into your daily routine to prevent stress and illness and build resilience. Self-care looks different for everyone and it’s important to reflect on what contributes to your well-being. If you are finding it difficult to practice self-care, reach out to a mental health professional. Here are some self-care tips, sourced from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Emotional and Mental Self-Care

  • Start a gratitude journal. Here are some tips for writing your gratitude.
  • Set an intention for the day. An intention can help guide you throughout your day, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or upset. Use the Calm intention cards to help you set an intention.
  • Acknowledge something you’ve done well lately. When it feels like you aren’t doing enough, acknowledging all that you’ve done can bring your focus back to the present. Try the self-compassion meditation under the Calm College Collection to help you become mindful of your negative thoughts.
  • Take a break. Allowing yourself to rest and to take a step back from work and academics will help you feel rejuvenated.
  • Create a self-care plan. It’s important to have many tools available to you since the same self-care technique will not work for every moment in your life. Reflect on your current self-care practices and utilize this plan to help you prepare for any stressor.
  • Breathe, mindfulness meditations, and body scans. Incorporating regular relaxation techniques will help build your resilience to stress and provide you with a tool that you can use almost anywhere.
    • Belly breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which activates your relaxation response, reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.
    • Meditation is the practice of relaxing and focusing on the present moment. It is not necessary to clear your mind or eliminate your thoughts but rather to notice your thoughts without judgment and allow them to flow through your mind without dwelling on them. Use the Calm app to practice meditation.
    • Body Scans are a type of meditation where you focus on each part of your body and notice any sensations that are occurring without labeling them “good” or “bad.”

Physical Self-Care

  • Move your body in a way that you enjoy. Take your favorite cardio class, explore yoga videos on Youtube, go for a walk, explore campus! Finding ways to move your body will help you feel rejuvenated.
  • Prepare your favorite meal. Eating comfort food is a great way to help you feel safe and relaxed. The act of cooking will also provide you space away from work and classes.
  • Strive for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Feeling tired and stressed all the time? You may be feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. If 7-8 hours of sleep seems too challenging to achieve, start with smaller goals such as adding one hour of sleep every two weeks.

Social Self-Care

  • Set boundaries. it can be easy to say “yes” to every opportunity. However, practicing setting boundaries by knowing your capacity and stress levels and saying “no” before you get stressed is a form of self-care and stress reduction.
  • Be intentional with social media. Comparing yourself to others on social media is often a natural habit. Notice your thoughts as you scroll through social media, and if you find you have more negative self-talk, consider unfollowing specific accounts or taking breaks from social media.
  • Communication.  Let friends, family, and loved ones know how you are feeling. Expressing your emotions and feelings is an important step to self-care.

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Volunteer. Volunteer with an organization that aligns with your values. Benefits of volunteering include meeting new people, improved mood, and feeling a sense of community.
  • Spend time alone. With social media and roommates, it may feel like you shouldn’t be spending time alone. However, time alone will help you learn about yourself and provide time for reflection. Time alone may be spent listening to music, journaling, relaxing on your bed, or whatever you are needing. Check out the emotional and mental self-care for more ideas.
  • Practice yoga. Yoga is a great way to help you connect the body and the mind. Often times we separate how we are feeling as physical or emotional/mental. Check out this Yin yoga practice to help you slow down and find intention with your yoga practice.

Practical Self-Care

This area of self-care includes routine tasks that will help you from getting overwhelmed during the week. These tasks may include doing laundry, budgeting, cleaning your space, or anything else you like to incorporate into your week.

Want to learn more about self-care? Check out this Active Minds page.