How to… take good care of yourself in college

Tuesday, there’s a report due, Wednesday there’s a presentation, and Thursday three lengthy assignments are due — and this isn’t even the busiest week. College is a pattern of one assignment after another, and for many students, keeping up with school isn’t all they have to worry about; jobs, family and other responsibilities all pile upon seemingly endless stacks of homework. With numerous deadlines and schedules that leave no room for free time, it is easy for students to forget what their most important responsibility is — themselves.

College isn’t always easy. There are plenty of stressors, from work to finances to relationships. Just like everything else, self-care needs to be scheduled into your jam-packed planner. Stress does not just go away and if time isn’t set aside to deal with it, it can build up. Studies show that many students who neglect their self-care can suffer from depression and exhaustion. According to Psychology Today, there is a mental health crisis among college students. Sleep deprivation, poor eating, lack of exercise and high levels of stress are listed as causes for depression.

Days are often filled with too many tasks to complete and not enough time to meet them all. That is where managing your precious time becomes important. Time management skills include learning to set priorities, distinguishing what is and what is not important, and making goals in steps that are challenging but achievable. It can be difficult for students to prioritize their own needs, but it is essential that students make time for themselves to keep their physical and mental well-being in check. Students need to take the time to slow down however often it is necessary and avoid possible self-neglect.
Not only is it important to take time to care for yourself, but you need to make sure you are practicing effective self-care. It might sound obvious, but make sure basic needs are met. Too often, students aren’t getting enough sleep, and they wear it as a badge of pride. Rest well, eat well, drink enough water, go on a walk, and make sure you are doing what you can to keep your body healthy. Also, be aware of how you’re feeling mentally and spiritually. Take time to reflect, work on an uplifting hobby, or do anything that helps you destress in a healthy manner. Do what helps you the most, and create an effective plan that you will actively follow.

The UVU Student Life and Wellness Center is a great resource for you to use to meet your goals. There is fitness equipment provided and classes like yoga and zumba. There are opportunities to try new things to help clear your mind such as rock climbing. UVU also provides psychological services if you feel you are becoming too overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed and need the help of a counselor.
Putting yourself first not only helps you mentally and physically, but it helps you maintain focus and do your best in all your tasks. So, don’t feel guilty for taking some much needed rest, because as you feel better, everything else will improve!

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