The Importance of Self-Care for College Students

by Jess Tate, McNair graduate assistant

As college students we have many responsibilities related to our school work which makes it easy to forget to take care of ourselves. It can be hard to prioritize our personal needs when we are constantly prioritizing the next paper, project, presentation, or final. However, it’s essential to prioritize self-care into our daily regimen so we can be effective and put our best foot forward.

Self-care can be described as a way of living that incorporates any intentional actions you take to care for your physical and mental/emotional health. Building a collection of self-care habits will not only refresh you and replenish your motivation, but may also positively affect your quality of life today and in the future.

Physical self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical health, such as:

  • Eating regular healthy meals rather than fast food
  • Exercising daily. This could include taking a quick walk through the campus or your neighborhood or participating in an intramural sport on campus
  • Getting plenty of sleep—at least seven hours per night. Inadequate sleep can result in impaired memory, trouble focusing, depression, a weakened immune system, and fatigue
  • Going to the doctor when you’re sick

Mental/emotional self-care involves practices that maintain your mental strength and emotional health, such as:

  • Using meditation or relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing techniques
  • Spending quality time with friends or family who can offer support
  • Keeping a journal to jot down thoughts or feelings
  • Seeking counseling or support when you need it

You might be wondering, “How will I have time to incorporate self-care into my daily life?”  Life goal experts suggest scheduling self-care activities similar to the way you put your deadlines on your calendar. Treat self-care or leisure appointments as seriously as you would your school appointments and mark it on your calendar so you feel obligated to do it. Make self-care a priority and you might find life a little more manageable!

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