Self-Care & College Success


            Self-care is topic that receives increased attention with each passing day. Most people understand that it can be beneficial to engage in self-care practices; however, this is easier said than done. Often times, the people who might benefit most from this care are those who have the least time to devote to themselves. College students are one group that gets a bad rep for self-care.




            There are standard self-care practices, which people should strive to practice in their daily lives. For college students specifically, these include:

  • Getting enough sleep—college students should shoot for over eight hours, if possible; caffeine only goes so far, and too much of it can increase anxiety and make you jittery

  • Eating a well-balanced diet—the salad bar in the cafeteria is a great place to get all of your fruit and veggie servings for the day; skim milk, cottage cheese, whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas, grilled chicken, and other meats (that are not fried) are great, healthy options for college students; multi-vitamins are not a bad idea, either, to ensure you are getting all of the necessary vitamins and minerals

  • Drinking water—men need about 13 cups of water a day, women need 9 cups; I would advise college students to carry water bottles with them throughout the day, filling them between classes

  • Exercising—about 2.5 hours each week, not including strength training, is recommended; college students can get their workouts in by hitting the gym, going for walks, doing exercising while watching TV, etc.

            However, self-care goes beyond just these standard practices that keep a person healthy. Comprehensive self-care should promote good mental health, as well as physical health. Each person is different, and therefore, must find a method of self-care that work for them. College students, despite their busy schedules, should engage in self-care practices that are sources of joy, and give them a sense of rejuvenation.

            For example: you studied all week for you Anatomy test, and received an A. You and your friends go out for ice cream to celebrate. After working hard, applauding your efforts and celebrating your successes can give you a huge sense of accomplishment. You should reward yourself for achieving your goals—it doesn't have to be a huge treat, just something that makes you smile.

            Another part of self-care is finding an outlet. Maybe you need to get a coffee with friends one morning a week, to give yourself time to sit, vent, and catch up. Or maybe, going for a run or playing a round of Super Smash Bros. may help you to work through your emotions. If praying, planting flowers, or journaling helps you to relax, you should allow yourself time to do that. It doesn’t matter so much how you “treat yourself”, as long as you do make time to care for yourself.

            You only get one you. Treat him or her right.

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