Students, start prioritizing self-care

By Catherine Van Weele

As college students, our schedules are always jammed pack with classes, homework, part-time jobs, clubs, social lives and extracurriculars. We constantly worry about getting good grades, paying the bills and making sure we do everything on time. We are so wrapped up in our to-do lists and meeting the goals that we often forget to take time for ourselves and practice self-care. Self-care is so often and easily overlooked and yet is extremely valuable for us both physically and mentally.

Taking the time for self-care may seem unproductive or gluttonous in the moment, but it actually helps better us in the long run. There are so many benefits that come from self-care. It can reduce stress and anxiety, boost your immune system and increase positive thoughts that can then lead to the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression. You become more productive by better focusing on the task at hand rather than worrying about all the things you have to do. It also makes you more self-compassionate.

Self-care can boost your confidence and overall happiness.

The way you think about yourself reflects who you are and the way you carry yourself. By thinking positively and correcting critical thoughts about yourself, you build up self-esteem. Self-care should become a part of your lifestyle. It should not be something you do from time to time when you are feeling down or stressed. Continuing to integrate practices of self-care into your routine serves as a preventative measure from stress and negativity.

Here are a few ways you can practice self-care.

One of the easiest things you can do is take care of your body.

Run yourself a bubble bath, take a little nap, do a face mask and moisturize or cook up a healthy meal from scratch.  

Exercising is also a great way to clear your mind.

Try taking a yoga class, going for a hike, swim some laps at a local pool, take a jog around your neighborhood or join a sports team and meet new people.  

Writing can be a great outlet for bottled up feelings.

Let out your emotions by writing in a diary or writing a letter to your past or future self. Or delve into your creative side by writing a poem or short story. Engaging in any of the art forms as a means of self-expression can be a very relaxing and rewarding experience.

Try drawing and painting, playing an instrument or dancing.  

Along those lines, crafting and DIY projects can be a fun hobby that allows you to create cool, useful products.

This could include something like scrapbooking or knitting a scarf.

Every once in a while, you should splurge on yourself by pampering yourself for a day.

Get your nails painted, go to the spa for a professional massage or go on a shopping spree.

Self-care is a mindset.

There are times when you need to put yourself first.

It is so important to take the time for yourself and to care for your mind and body, especially when you have a busy schedule.

Self-care allows you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude toward yourself.

Originally published in The Daily Aztec.

Catherine Van Weele is a freshman studying political science at San Diego State University.