It’s 2 a.m., your head’s buried in a book. You’ve had nothing but junk food to eat, and you have no idea how you’re going to get up and make it through your class in the morning. You’ve reached the point where being tired or feeling lethargic is just a part of who you are, and your weeks are constantly consisting of short spurs of happiness and long days of feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Choosing to make healthy choices for your physical, mental and emotional health is self-care, and these choices can help minimize stress. As college students, we can easily make the decision to sacrifice social activities, working out, or just doing what makes us happy to get other things done. Self-care is managing your schedule to make sure there’s room for these things too.
Some of my favorite ways to take care of myself are doable in 30 minutes or less but can have a positive impact on my entire day.
- Go for a run or have a short workout
If you don’t like running or lifting weights, the UC staff hosts workout classes Monday through Thursday evenings, and there’s something for almost everyone: step-aerobics, pop and jazz dance, Zumba, Latin dance, and yoga. A schedule can be found online or in the UC. Make sure you’re eating three meals a day and making healthy food decisions as well.
- Sit outside and soak up some sun (while it’s still warm)
The tables surrounding Cruz Plaza are perfect for journaling, listening to music, meditating, relaxing and people watching. Mercer’s campus is full of outdoor lounge areas to just clear your mind from your to-do list and separate yourself from everyone else. Turning off your phone can allow this time to be even more refreshing for you.
- Do something positive
Compliment a stranger, put a smile on someone’s face, give a helping hand to someone who may have really needed it, call a loved one or send a letter to a family member. Uplifting others is one of the easiest ways to uplift yourself.
- Have some fun or do something that’s new to you
In moderation, add a leisure activity to your schedule. Whether it’s hanging out with some friends, doing something that makes you happy like playing a game of pickup basketball, some arts and crafts or simply watching TV. QuadWorks hosts a number of different kinds of events and activities throughout the week. These could be unfamiliar to you or something that you saw and was immediately interested in. Don’t hesitate to take a break from a busy schedule to have some fun.
The 2015 National College Health Assessment reported that 30 percent of students said stress had a negative effect on their academic performance, and over 85 percent of students said they felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point in the school year.
Not feeling your absolute best can keep you from performing up to your true potential. Make it a goal along with succeeding in classes to make sure you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy this school year. You control how you feel, make it good.