My freshman year of college wasn’t healthy for me, to say the least. On Monday’s I started my day at 6:30am and fell into bed by midnight if I was lucky. I went all day. I had class from 8am-7:45pm (the joys of being a freshman), had an organization meeting squeezed in there from 2-3:30pm, ran to study hours from 8-10pm, and often got home, showered, then finished with my studying for the day. I did this routine with different classes and organization meetings every day of the week and on weekends often sat at a table in the library for 5-8 hours straight just to get ahead for the next week. Yes, I’m just a marketing major, but I like to have everything hand written and put a lot of pressure on myself to do so. While my school work was in-line, my self-care was not. In fact, one of my biggest ways to relax is by watching YouTube videos and I distinctly remember bragging to my mom on the phone about how it had been over three months since I had watched one. My self-care had been pushed to the back burner.
After burning out my freshman year, something had to change. I had to make time for myself and prioritize myself. Yes, college is busy. Yes, there are a million other things you could be doing. But setting aside time for yourself is just as important, I promise.
Schedule it in
Sunday nights are my nights. You will typically find me cuddled in bed reading a book with a cup of hot chocolate or tea or even with my laptop watching a movie on Netflix. Sunday evenings are my night to unwind and recoup before the new week begins. I always try to avoid having anything scheduled on Sunday evenings since that time is already scheduled for me. And if anything does get scheduled for Sunday evening, I always reschedule my me time.
Give yourself a mental break
Surely we’ve all reached that point in our studying where our brain turns to mush and you simply can’t cram any more facts or information into your head. In high school, I was known to keep pushing myself through that feeling and honestly I was proud of the fact that I did that. Now, I realize that wasn’t the smartest decision and I was only hindering myself instead of bettering myself. If I hit that wall now, I put my study materials aside and do something for myself. Sometimes it’s watching a video or two on YouTube, a show on Netflix, taking a shower, or even taking a quick cat nap. Nine times out of ten I return to my study materials feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work. Plus, I even have noticed better retention because of this.
As a college student, we know things can go from 0-100 really quick. One week you can basically do nothing and the next you have three tests, a paper, and a huge project due. We have all had those “hell” weeks. Personally, I strive off of knowing that there is a reward waiting for me at the end. So if I know I have a crazy busy week coming up, I make sure to make plans in advance for afterwards. Sometimes it’s going for ice cream with a friend and other times it’s a manicure at my favorite local salon. Whatever it is that gives you a bit of motivation to make it through is what works.
Do what you enjoy
My sophomore year of college I got into phase of always wanting to have “productive breaks”. I would clean, work on the blog, catch up on e-mails, and more during these breaks. While I still support taking productive breaks and getting things done, it definitely isn’t something you should do for every break. Take breaks and do something you enjoy. During finals week a friend and I always go for a walk at the trails by our apartment complex. It’s something we both enjoy and it allows us to get out of study mode if even for a short time. It’s not always about crossing things off the to-do list if you are taking a break.
Splurge a little
This year I think I found my favorite way to splurge on my self-care time: Lush bath bombs. Yes, they aren’t exactly in a college student’s budget, but I absolutely love them. It’s my favorite little splurge to treat myself after an especially long week. My favorite splurge treat of all? A facial. I get one twice a year, once after spring finals and once after fall finals. My stress acne is real at that time of year and it’s the perfect way for me to have something to look forward to after finals and treat myself.
How do you prioritize self-care? Is making time for it something you are working on as well? How do you set aside time for self-care? And what are some of your favorite ways to treat yourself? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!