The Importance of Self-Care (Even In The Dorms!)
Unfortunately, I’m about to hit you with a hard truth: you’re not the only invincible super hero on campus: you’re not the only one who “doesn’t get hang overs,” (unless maybe if you’re using Second Wind) and you’re not the only one “able to function best with no sleep.” You’re just young—and being young is an amazing thing! Your mind, body, even arguably your soul, has so much elasticity to bounce back! But it won’t be that way forever, so rather than pushing yourself to your full limits now and crashing before you even apply for a graduate program, start making time to take care of your body. Still think this article is bullshit, and that you’ve always had such youth that this couldn’t possibly happen to you? I thought the same thing, and now I’m sitting on the floor of my bedroom writing this using a suitcase as a desk and have bags on both my top and bottom lids after getting 4 hours of sleep. I’m 25 and sober, the lesson: DON’T FORGET SELF-CARE.
Mental health has often been over looked, but thanks to celebrity advocates and social media, more and more people are thinking an hour with a shrink could actually help them, let alone be a lot of fun. Even if you feel like there’s not big traumas you need to work through, or that you’re not an emotional person, talking out your anxieties and stressors with a third party who has no real involvement in your personal life can be very helpful to keep you from snapping randomly if the pressure builds to be too high. Also—therapy in the real world can be expensive, and most college campuses include their therapists in your tuition that covers your health plan. So it’s not necessarily free, free—but if you’re already paying for it, go cash in on it! If you’re unsure if it will be able to help, it’s definitely recommended to give at least one session a try so that you get an idea of what to expect if you ever need to go back.
SCRUB IT AWAY
Hygiene is so important to mental and physical health. Sure, there will be nights when hooking up on a frat bathroom floor seemed like the only option (it wasn’t—but you did it anyway) and all you’ll want to do is drunkenly crawl home to your bed and put the shower off ‘til the next day. If you’re someone who lives this grimy life style, power to you, but definitely opt for some loofas or body and face scrubs that can really exfoliate away the acrylic paint and particles of smoke that have now nestled into your pores. Unless you’re trying to be seen by Dr. Pimple Popper, then by all means, clog away!
You don’t have to be a college athlete to reap the benefits of exercise. As little as 30 minutes a day of some form of cardio to raise your heart rate can do wonders for the body, and for your mental health. Don’t feel obligated to hit a gym – spend the time with friends at an intramural, run a few laps around the campus tracks, or maybe even spice it up with some ‘hardcore parkour’ around your university campus. By all means, if you’re at a party get on with dancing – it’s a great way to get the workout in without all the ‘work’. While physical exercise is key to a strong mind, you can start looking into mental exercise as well – in the form of meditation or yoga. Many apps today can help you if you’re a beginner looking for a way to start meditating.
DON’T DENY THAT YOU LOVE SLEEP
You know how great you feel when your alarm goes off and you get to hit snooze or better yet, realize it was accidentally set and turn it off completely? We all want more sleep, once we’re asleep and letting our heavy lids affect our pre-planned daily schedule. Imagine if the solution was as easy as going to bed earlier? Sometimes routine makes this hard, so setting alarms to remind yourself can help. One trick to getting to bed earlier could be to get up earlier – you’ll find yourself being tired sooner. Maybe it means taking a night off from partying? Falling asleep sober is a big one overlooked by college students as well. Lots of good, routine sleep makes you a sharper person the next day. I know it feels like the building blocks of your social life are created through late night adventures or staying at the bar til last call—and don’t get me wrong, some memories are! But there are also nights where your body is begging you to take a break, and trust me—if he hasn’t texted back by 11 PM to have you come over, he’s not waking up at 3 AM to change his mind. Go to bed! Your body will benefit in the long term.