One of the most important life lessons I ever received was as a TA on a study tour. The college students on the trip were not a cohesive group, and I was discussing ideas with the prof on how to mitigate some of the conflicts. I made a suggestion that was self-sacrificing, and the professor said, “Alana, secure your own mask before assisting others.” I immediately withdrew the suggestion, and it’s been a motto for me ever since. It can be hard to say no to a friend who needs a small (but time consuming) favor, or a club that needs someone to organize an event. But as a college student, you must prioritize self care in order to succeed in your classes, stay healthy and have the energy to give to your friends and clubs.
Take a look at these self care strategies for dorm life.
If these strategies sound familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard them plenty of times. They bear repeating! Sometimes it’s easy to convince ourselves that the simplest, most common sense ways to take care of ourselves can’t be the solution—but really, getting back to basics can really be the solution.
1. Get more sleep
Arianna Huffington said that if she could give her college student self advice, it would be, “Arianna, stop worrying and get more sleep! Every aspect of your life will actually improve if you get more sleep—your work, your health, and your happiness.” You’re less effective at studying or writing when you’re sleep deprived. Not sure how to get better sleep? Check out the tips in this CengageBrain post.
2. Eat better
I won’t tell you not to indulge in that late-night ice cream sundae on occasion. This is about self care, right? Sometimes pampering yourself is key. But most of the time, skip the junk and eat healthy. Need advice on that? Check out Claire Moore’s “Healthy Eating Hacks for Students on the Go.”
Not only can exercise improve your grades, it can help you sleep better and stay healthier. If you have no idea where to get started on a workout routine, check out Jeff Jacobs’s “7 Workout tips from a Division I athlete.”
4. Say no
I’m not saying you have to be a jerk and reject every invitation or decline every opportunity to get involved. Instead, decide what your limits are and learn to say no. For some people, that means creating a list of “nos” that they will stick to; for example, no using a credit card unless you pay it off at the end of the month (to reduce financial stress), or no answering your phone during a study session, no matter who’s calling. It’s a universal truth (or so I think) that the more things you take on, the more things people will try to get you to do. When you hit your max load, say no. Practice saying it in the mirror if you have to.
5. Say yes to yourself (and your friends)
This isn’t a contradiction: sometimes “yes” is the right answer. Friday night moviethon with friends to give your brain a break? Yes! Afternoon coffee with your bestie to talk about problems and destress? Yes! It is okay to do the thing—whatever it is—that will make you feel more relaxed and recharged after, as long as you don’t do that thing to excess.