Updated: Dec 16, 2022
What is Self-Care?
Self-care refers to activities and practices that can help you to reduce your stress and enhance your overall well-being: essentially, proactively taking care of yourself. Self-care is more than an occasional treat, but a way of living each day that incorporates practices and behaviors that help you feel refreshed, re-energized, and rested.
Self-care helps you deal with the daily stresses in your life—from academic pressures, to interpersonal relationships, to future plans, and others. Practicing self-care can help you manage the ups and downs of life.
Why is Self-Care Important? There are many reasons that self-care is important. Research shows that self-care helps to keep you healthy, helps you recharge and helps to improve your overall well-being.
How do I make time for self-care? When it feels like your to do list is a mile long, it's easy to feel like you don't have time to practice self-care. Oftentimes we view self-care activities as not being productive, but it's important to shift this way of thinking by broadening what we view as productive. Studies show that if we prioritize taking care of our mind, body and spirit, it will actually help us be more productive academically and professionally in the long run.
How Can I Practice Self-Care? There are lots of ways to practice self-care. What works for you may not work for someone else. The important thing is to make self-care a priority in your schedule. This could mean blocking off time to workout or spending some time unplugged from technology once in awhile. Here are some ideas for self-care: 1. Sleep: Sleep is essential to overall health and is closely linked to academic success. (Sleep hygiene https://youtu.be/Fpoa8siZYk0 )
2. Exercise: Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. Try cardiovascular exercise 40 minutes each day. Try yoga. (Benefits of exercise in mental health https://youtu.be/GNWaWJm1A1g )
3. Practice deep breathing: Take five minutes to practice deep breathing. In just those few minutes you can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, thus lowering the physical affects of stress. ( Breath to heal https://youtu.be/4Lb5L-VEm34 )
4. Practice meditation: Taking a few minutes to clear your mind of various stressors can be a great way to practice self-care. Research shows that meditation can improve your focus, immunity, and overall mental well-being. (10min meditation https://youth.be/ZToicYcHIOU )
5. Practice grounding and mindfulness: Being in the present moment can help to reduce stress. Practice mindfulness by noticing your five senses; what do you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell right now? (1,2,3,4,5 Grounding https://youtu.be/30VMIEmA114 )
6. Practice gratitude: One simple way to practice gratitude is by writing down 3 things you're grateful for everyday. Remembering to find things, experiences and people in your life that you're grateful can have powerful effects on your mood. (Greatful people are happier https://youtu.be/43zvL2b1oD4 )
7. Practice self-compassion: Self-compassion is treating yourself like you would treat your best friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you care about; replace self-critical thoughts with compassionate thoughts. (My best self 101 https://youtu.be/iIa-A9mZHAE )
8. Journaling: Journaling can have a lot of benefits. Writing can help you process your feeling nd thought, it helps channel stress and anxiety through creativity, and it helps you be in the present moment. Take a few minutes each day to journal. (The power of journaling https://youtu.be/n0w8mZBgfdg )
9. Spend time in nature: Research shows that spending time in nature can have remarkable benefits to human health. ( Nature and mental health https://youtu.be/LVbn4cwiX5Q )
10. Hang out with friends and family: Research shows that spending time with loved ones is the number one determinant of happiness. Take time to connect with a friend or a family member. (Building social connections https://youtu.be/8az-gfljEbg )
11. Do something you love: Carve out time for your passions and hobbies, whether that's hiking, crafting, dancing, reading for fun, etc. Hobbies can provide you an outlet for managing stress and can increase happiness levels.
12. Unplug from technology:Sometimes the best way to recharge is to take a break from technology. Research shows that downtime replenishes the brain's stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.
Here are some tips to help prioritize self-care: Add it to your calendar or to do list: Block off time in your day to practice self-care.
Add self-care into your day: Find small windows of time to practice self-care. For example, if you arrive to class or a meeting 10 minutes early, how can you use those 10 minutes to practice self-care?
Make it a habit: Create a routine so practicing self-care becomes a habit.
Rhina Lovo, PhD