6 Self-Care Tips for University Students

University life is a time of self-discovery. And, while your academics are really important, don’t forget to take the time to work on your well-being. It’s equally important to find a balance in both areas.

Here are some self-care tips you should incorporate into your routine:

1. Sleep

The science of sleep: It’s not just for sloths. You’ve probably heard a million times that sleep is important. But what exactly is sleep?

It’s the natural, biological process of resting and recovering. It’s a time when the brain is left to sort out the day’s events and recharge. Sleep heals your body by allowing your muscles to rest and your brain to stop working actively.

The first thing you need to do is find out how much sleep you need. Most people need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Experiment with different sleep windows to see what makes you feel most rested. Once you know how much sleep you need, you’ll need to figure out when you should go to sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping, try different habits to induce better sleep. For example, you could put your phone away half an hour before hitting the sack. Turning off the lights, TV, and sounds and using comfortable bedding also will also promote restful slumber.

2. A Balanced Diet

Eating healthy is perhaps one of the best ways to practice self-care. A well-balanced diet will provide your body with all the essential nutrients and vitamins that it needs to thrive. It’s a good idea to eat more fruits, veggies, and protein.

Also, be sure to minimize sugar, caffeine, trans fat, and processed food consumption and make a conscious effort to eat more lean meats and high fiber foods. If needed, consider adding dietary supplements (and if approved by a medical professional) and drink lots of water daily to ensure that your body is well hydrated.

3. Exercise

It’s no secret that the university experience is becoming more and more sedentary. We spend our days sitting at a desk, listening to lectures, and then we go home and plop in front of the TV or scroll through the internet for a few hours. But this is not the way we are supposed to live.

Students must make time for physical activity like going to the gym, running, doing cardio, or walking. Or you could do lunges, pushups, and squats at home or in your off-campus residence. Many simple bodyweight exercises can be done right from a 1-bedroom apartment in Ottawa.

There are thousands of free exercise resources available online. It’s also a good idea to monitor your day-to-day exercises with the help of tracking apps so you can stay motivated by your progress.

4. Take Breaks Frequently

Breaks are critical because constant work can be very stressful both physically and mentally. Instead of trying to complete all of your assignments in one night, figure out a schedule and space your tasks to avoid cramming.

Be sure to take small breaks between tasks and get enough sleep to re-energize yourself. This idea that students should take a break after completing a task is based on the fact that breaks liberate the brain from the strain of concentrating.

Of course, you could also take an entire day off to unwind and work on your mental health.

5. Journal

Journaling is important for two reasons: one, it allows us to record our thoughts in a written form so that we can look back on them later and reflect; and two, it’s a way to release emotions that we may not want to show in person.

Writing your thoughts on paper always helps organize your thoughts and feelings. It enables you to become more aware of your emotions and allows you to vent. So, take out ten minutes from your day to write down your thoughts and feelings with honesty. Consider this practice as a meeting or conversation with your inner self.

6. Meditate

Meditation helps relax the mind and body and gives you time to pause and clear your thoughts. The purpose of meditation is to take you away from worldly distractions to calm your mind, body, and soul.

Consider breathing exercises, yoga, reading, religious rituals, and more. If nothing, just listen to some soothing music. Look up YouTube meditation guides, and use them any time you’re feeling stressed.

Self-care is not as hard as it sounds. In the end, it all comes down to prioritizing yourself so that you have the mental and physical energy to excel in your endeavors.

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