By Janessa Rutiaga
Blog Content Contributor
As college students, we tend to put our grades and GPA before ourselves. We come to class stressed and full of anxiety, and our grades suffer because of this. I fully believe that students need to first take care of themselves and their own well-being, and only then will their grades and everything around them flourish. Self-care is a big yes, and I think everyone should incorporate it into their lives. It helps reduce stress, calm anxiety and lower depression.
In the past, I have been one to binge eat during stressful times. I realized my freshman year that this was such a horrible idea because it made me stress more due to weight gain. That’s when I started seeking out alternatives to relax my mind, and then started to take care of myself regularly.
Meditation is my favorite. I can do it anywhere (even during exams), and it’s usually just 5-10 minutes where I let my mind relax, wonder and reflect. After doing this, I always feel more focused and alert. It gets rid of that tense feeling around my shoulders and lets me work more efficiently (especially on exams).
Reading a book is something I only recently got into. I try to carry a book around with me during stressful times of the semester because it gives me something else to focus on, aside from notes. I recommend something fictional (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc.). I love reading fiction because it lets my mind drift into a different world and actively takes my mind away from stressful times.
Exfoliating is the bomb. I do this at least once a week because it’s wonderful and I think everyone should be doing it (yes, guys included). There’s something about having soft skin that makes everything okay in the world. I know exfoliating scrubs can be expensive, so I resorted to making my own at home. You can find quick recipes to make yourself for as low as $3 and they last forever.
These are just my favorites. I know everyone is different so these might not relax you as much as they do me. In order to relax and destress, you need to experiment and find out what works best for you. I do have a few suggestions on what you can do though.
Bubble baths, I hear, are super relaxing after long days. They never did it for me, but I know it works for a lot of people. You can also incorporate bath salts, scented oils and bath bombs.
Hikes, long walks and other outdoor stuff can also help to reduce stress. This wasn’t for me because I felt like I had to attribute so much of my day to it (that’s just me). It tended to stress me out instead of the opposite because I just worried about how out of shape I was. If it works for you, then more power to you.
Naps are wonderful and I love them, but I wake up stressed and it inhibits my ability to get the rest of my stuff done. I know a lot of people that take a nap every day so they can get through all the things they have to do. It works if you have the right mind set for it.
Whatever you decide works for you, do it. It might take a while to find somethings that both relax you and enable you to work productively after. Self-care is incredibly important for your mental health, and no matter what you have going on in your life, you need to learn to put yourself first.
Featured image by Madison Tyson.