College can be an incredibly fun but also incredibly busy and chaotic time of life. Between trying to keep up with schoolwork and studying, fitting in and socializing, and keeping up with personal obligations, things can get very stressful. It can be difficult to make time for yourself, and you may find yourself rushing from one thing to the next without ever really taking the time to relax and recharge.
When this goes on for an extended period of time, you run the risk of what is known as burnout. Your mental health and physical health can also suffer as a result. This is why college women should be sure to make self-care a serious priority.
Why Is Self-Care for College Women So Important?
In college, you are often surrounded by other people most of the time. This could be roommates, fellow classmates, and probably even a lot of strangers while making your way around campus. While this can be exciting, it can also become very draining, especially for those who are more introverted and aren’t used to constantly being around others. For others, this could be their first time ever sharing a room before and navigating life with a roommate. The lack of privacy alone can begin to take a toll.
Another aspect of college that can take a toll on your mental health is the stress of schoolwork. For many people, college courses are at a difficulty level that they’ve never experienced before. They may find they have to work a lot harder and spend a lot more time studying. Their grades might not look how they want them to look. Working so hard and still not getting the same result can lead to burnout.
Burnout occurs after a period of chronic stress. It is a sense of mental and emotional exhaustion. Many people who experience burnout develop a sense of irritability and lack of motivation. They may feel the need to isolate. Some may even feel the need to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This is why practicing self-care is so important. It promotes balance and prevents burnout and mental exhaustion.
How Do I Practice Self-Care in College?
When you first get to college, and you are in a new environment, you might not know how to practice self-care in the same way you did back home. However, it is very much possible to incorporate self-care into your new lifestyle and to do so effectively. Consider the following methods.
Start With the Basics
In college, it is particularly easy to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle. With dining halls, lots of food options, and nobody looking over your shoulder, you can pretty much eat whatever you would like. Late-night snacking is often very popular in college. The only problem is that the endless food options can be pretty unhealthy. You may find yourself reaching for things like pizza and macaroni and cheese instead of healthier options. While this is fine from time to time, eating junk food too often can actually zap your energy and play a negative role in your mental health.
To prevent this, try to work on fitting more nutritious foods into your diet. These types of foods will fill you up and keep you going instead of draining your energy. You also want to fit some exercise into your schedule. While it can be difficult with late-night studying sessions, try your best to get good quality sleep as well, which can have a dramatic impact on your mood and overall mental well-being.
Give Yourself Breaks
No matter how busy you are, it is important to always be sure to give yourself breaks. This break could be an opportunity for you to just sit back, relax, and read a book or watch your favorite show. Or it could be a break from other people. Maybe you don’t have your own living space (due to roommates), but you could still find a nice quiet spot on campus where you can relax and unwind.
Practice Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress
Stress is a normal part of the college experience, but it is up to you in terms of how you choose to deal with it. When stress builds up over time, and you don’t do anything to productively remedy it, it can become overwhelming and affect your overall mental health.
Some things that you may want to consider to reduce stress in a productive way include practicing mindfulness, yoga, breathing exercises, or some other form of meditation. You may also want to consider journaling, listening to calming music, or spending some quality time talking to a friend. If you still find your stress levels high, know that help is available. Reach out and see what sort of resources your college offers.
College can be a fun but overwhelming time of life. Between all the socialization, new people, and keeping up with all your different classes, it is normal to feel stressed from time to time. The important thing is to handle that stress in an appropriate way before it reaches the point of burnout or takes a toll on your overall mental health. Self-care is an important part of this. Remember to start with the basics by taking care of your physical needs. You’ll also want to be sure to take breaks and reach out for help when you need it. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.