Self care ideas to help you avoid burnout in college
This post is all about college student self care ideas.
If you’re a college student, I know I can safely bet that you’re finding it harder than you thought to avoid burnout and truly take care of yourself amid the busyness. If you’re a freshman or a soon-to-be college student then trust me, you’re about to find out just how hard it can be. Being equipped with college student self care ideas is essential to keeping your well-being in check.
I think everyone already has self-care routines in place to some degree, but with a unique season of life comes the need for a unique set of self care ideas. So, let’s dive into some college student self care ideas that college students LOVE.
This post is all about college student self care ideas.
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COLLEGE STUDENT SELF CARE IDEAS:
1. Be spontaneous
If you’re a naturally spontaneous person, I’m jealous. Many of us feel the need to plan almost EVERYTHING out. If you’re like me and you’re a plan addict, I challenge you to be spontaneous more often. Some of the best friendships and memories are born out of spontaneity. And that’s what college is all about.
Sure, there are times when you’ve got to say no to hangouts to get an assignment done or go to your part-time job. But when someone swings by your dorm and invites you out and you could spare an hour or two, don’t turn them down. Or else, you’ll be left with boring memories (and nobody wants to finish college without a few awesome stories to tell).
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In college, bad sleep schedules and all-nighters are PRAISED for some reason. In my freshman year, I thought I was supposed to pull all-nighters constantly. I thought it was the norm to stay out crazy late the night before an early morning class. But the truth is that this does NOT set you up for success.
Sometimes, you’ll have to pull late nights of studying. And there’s nothing wrong with staying out super late on a Friday night. But the truth is that one of the best college student self care tips you can follow is to maintain as consistent a sleep schedule as possible.
3. Know how much to prioritize your social life
Some people focus more on school and less on their social life. Others prioritize their social life and push school aside. The truth is, you don’t want to be lacking in either of these areas.
It’s important to get out with people, make friends, and experience life as much as you can. Other times, you’ve got to isolate yourself and hit the books. Just try to find a healthy balance.
4. You’re not drinking enough water. Fix that.
I know, it’s annoying to go to the bathroom every hour. But how much water you drink has such a direct impact on your energy levels; especially during a long day of classes.
Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go and make sure you’re staying super hydrated. More frequent bathroom breaks will actually make you feel more energized in the end, because you’ll have to get up for a short walk to the bathroom every once in a while.
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5. Find content you can laugh at
School is serious stuff, and laughter is the best medicine. Whether it’s a funny YouTube channel, sitcom, or even podcast, find some form of media that you can pull out to laugh at once a day. A guilty pleasure of sorts. Laughing really works wonders for your well-being.
6. Counselling is never a bad idea!
Most universities have on-site counsellors/therapists. And if you’ve got an insurance plan with your school, you likely have coverage for off-campus counselling if you prefer going elsewhere.
Let’s get rid of the idea that you shouldn’t go to counselling if you don’t feel like you’re ‘struggling.’ I know people who consider themselves to be very emotionally stable and who haven’t been through trauma or difficult life experiences, but they still go to therapy. Simply because it’s accessible and free for students to do so. As long as your counsellor knows what they’re doing, it never hurts to do some introspection with a professional.
7. Give yourself ‘unwind time’ before you sleep
Ever go to bed right after finishing an assignment? Or, do you have the habit of sleeping immediately after scrolling through social media for 10+ minutes? Maybe you even sleep right after watching some Netflix?
Yeah, don’t do that. You might think that social media or Netflix helps you unwind, or that you feel relieved enough to sleep right after submitting an assignment. But the truth is, our bodies need time to unwind before we can truly rest. It IS possible to still be stressed while you’re sleeping.
Create a nighttime routine (WITHOUT SCREENS OR HOMEWORK) and test it out for a week. I can basically guarantee that you’ll feel a positive difference.
8. Make your dorm or apartment truly YOURS.
You’re going to have a hard time feeling comfortable and well-rested in your dorm room or apartment if it feels like you’re away from home.
So make it your style! Even if you have roommates, there’s nothing stopping you from making YOUR space the way you want it. You have control over how you want to decorate and organize your stuff. So, make it feel like it’s YOURS.
Nobody wants to live somewhere for 8+ months where they don’t feel at home!
9. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for every day
I know people list this a lot as a self care idea, but I believe that’s for a good reason. Gratitude lists truly do work. They change your mindset ever so subtly, yet ever so drastically.
Every day, I challenge myself to list down 3 different things I’m grateful for. It can be as simple as “slept well” or as important as “paid off my credit card.” But slowly, listing what you’re grateful for truly does humble you and give you a more positive outlook on life. It’s done so for me and I know it will do the same for you.
10. Get your nails done
This one is obviously a little expensive, but you need to treat yourself every once in a while. If you love having your nails done, adopt this idea as a great college student self care option.
This is about so much more than just having nice nails. It’s the experience of sitting there for an hour or two, disconnecting from social media and sitting in a room full of women getting their hands dolled up. Even if you can’t afford to get your nails done all the time, doing it every few months is such a fun treat.
11. Set an exercise goal
It’s HARD to keep on top of a workout routine in college. At least set a goal for yourself (e.g. work out 3x per week for an hour). Exercising isn’t just for your physical health but also helps your emotional and mental health.
To go along with this, find a form of exercise you love. Maybe you hate hitting the gym but you love swimming. Or, maybe you hate running but rock climbing is a total thrill. Or you’re not a fan of group workout classes but you love dancing. There are so many options when it comes to getting active (which also means there’s no excuse).
12. Get a massage
If you think you can’t afford a massage, check your school’s health plan (if you’re insured through school). Often, it will cover or mostly cover a massage. If it does, you totally need to take advantage of this!
13. Take advantage of on-campus resources
Every college campus has tons of on-campus resources that can be used for college student self care. For example, your campus probably has a gym and exercise classes. There are also often free lunch events or free arts workshops where you can go be creative and just have fun.
Keep an eye out for what’s happening on campus and take advantage of those opportunities as much as you can! You might even make a couple friends in the process.
14. Don’t feel bad about not answering texts right away
If you struggle with this one, I feel you, because I struggle with this SO much.
It’s easy to feel SO guilty about not answering texts. But in college, your energy is spread in so many different directions and sometimes you simply don’t have the time or energy to answer a non-urgent text.
I still always feel so bad for not answering texts right away. But remember, so many different things require your time and attention in college. In college, you simply can’t drop everything every time someone texts you, and people just need to live with that!
15. Splurge on the self care products you enjoy
Something as simple as taking a shower can turn into such a therapeutic self care ritual if you have products you love. I know that funds are tight in college, but I am such a believer in not cheaping out on products you use on your face or body.
Your skin absorbs whatever you use on it. It’s so important to use products that are healthy and satisfying. Often, the healthy products are the expensive ones that you can’t necessarily get at your local Walmart. But in 10 years, when you’re 30 but still look 25, you will seriously thank yourself for putting money into the products you love.
Oh, and it feels great now.
16. Create goals and constantly review them
Creating goals might not necessarily sound ‘relaxing,’ but it is necessary to include in your college student self care. Reviewing your goals consistently is just as important as creating them. Reminding yourself of your goals is what will keep you accountable to them. This is a self care idea that really serves you in the long run.
17. Use a habit tracking app to create healthier habits
In general, I’m not a fan of downloading apps for every little thing, but habit tracking apps have been a game-changer.
If you don’t love tracking everything on your phone, I get that. I’ve never liked budget tracking apps, food/health tracking apps, etc. But I have absolutely fallen IN LOVE with tracking my habits on my phone.
This will just help you be aware of how well your self-care habits are ACTUALLY going. I use this app called Habit, which I highly recommend. I love being able to quickly track things like:
- Whether I woke up on time
- My time spent reading a book before bed
- If I prayed in the morning
- If I worked out
This really keeps you on track with your college student self care habits so that eventually every self care practice becomes a no-brainer!
18. Get to know your city
This one is especially applicable if you’ve moved to a new city for college. Even if you haven’t (like me), I can almost guarantee you that there are things you have yet to explore within your home city.
You don’t even have to spend money to do this. Take a walk, explore a new neighbourhood, have a picnic with friends, see a landmark, take some good photos, go to a store or coffee shop you’ve never visited before… the options are endless!
You can also Google “fun things to do in [city name]” to find a whole bunch of ideas specific to your area!
19. Read for fun
I know, as a college student, the last thing you want to do is to read because it’s all you do all the time for school. But finding a book you enjoy is actually a great way to unwind from a day of heavy reading.
I include reading in my night time routine by reading just 10-30 minutes before bed. It’s a great way to shut off your screen and take your mind off anything that might be stressing you out.
20. Sing when no one’s around
Like working out, singing can actually make you feel a bit happier! So, whether it’s humming to yourself in your dorm room or actually singing out loud, use your own built-in instrument to crank out your favourite tunes.
21. When you’re stressed, do a brain dump
This makes a world of a difference. Doing a brain dump basically just means writing whatever comes to your mind, without filtering it out or dwelling on it for too long. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes, grab your journal, and just write down everything that comes to mind. Nobody will ever see it and you’ll feel so much better when you’re done.
Bonus: You can also do this every morning as a hack to start your day with a clear and stress-free mind.
This post was all about college student self care ideas.
What self care ideas would you add to this list?
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Ramona Joyce says
I would add “Take a Mini Holiday” to the list. That could mean spending a couple of hours in a local park bird watching, a full day biking and hiking on trails, or half a spa day! Students often don’t have the time or money for a lengthy holiday, but a mini holiday can renew the spirit and rest the mind.
Lauren Dempsey says
I totally agree, a mini holiday is a great idea! I love doing those kinds of things on the weekend, but as a student you definitely have to plan for it and make sure you get your stuff done ahead of time ? so worth it tho!