When we’re overwhelmed from balancing schoolwork, jobs, extracurriculars and a social life, we sometimes forget to take the time to look after our own well-being. Here are seven ways to promote self-care, as prescribed by Dani Smith, director of the campus program Proactive Education Encouraging Responsibility, or P.E.E.R.
1. Stay hydrated
“Drinking water provides long-term results such as improved physical health and a stronger immune system,” Smith said. To add more water into your diet, try buying a reusable water bottle. Companies such as Swell Bottle, Hydroflask, and Camelbak are popular sources of these bottles. There are also free phone apps such as My Water Balance, Drink Water Reminder N Tracker, and Water Reminder, that remind you to drink water and help track how much you drink in a day.
2. Get active
Exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function, according to The American Psychological Association. When you exercise, your body interprets a moment of stress and releases specific proteins and endorphins to minimize the discomfort of working out and make you feel happier — ever heard of the runner’s high? Taking just 20 minutes out of your day to exercise, will help you gain self-confidence and improve your physical health.
Chapman offers several workout classes that provide a fun and easy way to stay in shape. These classes are typically held in Argyros Forum, and more information can be found in Dean Price’s weekly emails. If you can’t find time in your schedule to attend one of these classes, check out this video for some simple exercises you can do right in your dorm room.
3. Ditch technology
Our use of technology in our everyday lives can create a lot of unnecessary stress. Whether it is from comparing our lives to “Instagram influencers,” paying bills online or reading about politics, the internet can create a lot of negative emotions. When we allow these stressors to affect our lives, we risk developing a lack of sleep, depression or anxiety. “I think that if we give ourselves a technology break, not only are we going to be able to relax, we’re also going to maybe learn to communicate better face-to-face with people,“ Smith said. Shut off your computers or leave your phone at home for an hour every day, and instead go do something outdoors to allow your mind to recharge and relax.
4. Enhance your social life
As a college student, it is not uncommon to feel like you have no control over your life. It is important to surround yourself with people who love you and want to see you succeed. When affiliated with like-minded people, this will “improve social and/or spiritual health and increase resistance to the negative effects of life changes,” Smith said. Find people who have similar interests as you and join clubs on campus. Using websites such as meetup.com or just talking to strangers in the line at Starbucks might just lead you to meeting your new best friend.
5. Express how you feel
Going to college can be a rocky transition for many people. It means leaving home, maybe even traveling to a new state or country, and often times you may feel lost and disconnected. When you feel stressed and your mind begins to feel cluttered, take it out on a journal. Write down your thoughts every night before you go to bed. Edward A. Charlesworth and Ronald Nathan share in their book “Stress Management,” that “journaling increases your self-esteem and self-respect.”
6. Sing out loud
What’s better than jamming out to your favorite songs? Nothing. Channel your inner Beyoncè by taking a break from your long day and having a dance party all by yourself. Singing releases endorphins which then increases oxygen flow to your blood, causing your mood to improve. Charlesworth and Nathan state that, “listening or singing to music will cause positive long-term results, such as increased self-esteem and self-confidence.”
7. Get some Zs
Although medical professionals have repeatedly stressed the importance of sleep, college students don’t seem to prioritize it in their daily routines. It is crucial that we let our bodies heal and recharge themselves after a long day. Not getting enough sleep can cause depression, age your skin and cause weight gain, proven in a study by Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of St. Thomas. Charlesworth and Nathan said that when we get enough sleep, “we improve our physical health and our bodies’ resistance to fight against diseases and other illnesses.”
Gifs courtesy of omagif.com and giphy.com. Featured photo courtesy of Shutterstock.