Self-Care Ideas for Students

22 Sept 2019

A Mindful Journal and Self-Care apps to improve your wellbeing and mental health

I shared recently why self-care is productive and how you shouldn't feel guilty for taking time for yourself, to help you destress and put yourself first. For students, life can quickly become stressful. You're thrown into a new environment where you have to adjust, navigate your way around a new environment and new friendships as well as managing the workload. Even maybe you have a part-time job on top of that. Things can feel overwhelming.

I for sure neglected self-care in the first year or so of uni, but by the end, I feel I really found a balance between enjoying student life while making sure I was comfortable with the stress levels I faced and found time for self-care that worked for me. With a new set of students heading off to uni and others returning for another year, I felt now was the perfect time to share some ways to practice self-care as a student as well as a few things to keep in mind. So, here are some tips and ideas for students to practice self-care. 

Self Care Tip #1 Find something you love

Whether it's joining a society, a gym, volunteering or making sure you take some time each week to do something you enjoy, it's a great way to take your mind off things for an hour. I remember in the third year I joined the aerobics society; having that once a week, no matter if I'd had a bad day, I'd go and always came out of it feeling so much happier and more energised. I also realised that I loved to draw and doodle and how much of a destresser it was for me. This was something I did less often but still, when I did find time for this, I found it very therapeutic. I feel if you find something separate from uni work to focus on, it can really help.

Self Care Tip #2"There's an app for that" 

Something I wish I'd had at uni was the abundance of apps that can actually really help your wellbeing and also act as self-care. Something I spoke out in my happy habits post was the app daylio - this is an app to track your mood, what you've been doing and can help you see when you're happiest and when you're not your best. 

Another app I used at the end of uni after it's release was Sayana. This was such an interesting app and it was kind of a journalling app in the layout of texts - you would answer questions and their responses differ depending on your answers. Sayana also gave you advice of mindful tips based on how you're feeling and you could look back on these methods after. If you're struggling to find someone to talk to, maybe try this to help speak through your problems. 

There is also an abundance of daily journalling apps out there right now. I prefer a prompted journal format but there are so many different app options to explore to help you find the right one. 

While this recommendation may be old news to you, Headspace is so relaxing - I tried it in some sessions run during my internship and I wish I'd used it back in uni so, here's me telling you to give it a go! Also, if you have Spotify, with unidays it is no extra cost to have Headspace as well as Spotify - which is great. I would definitely recommend checking that out. 

Self Care Tip #3 Cut the screen time 

Slight contradiction to my last recommendations of self-care apps, but this is more aimed at unproductive, endless scrolling of social media. I found the days I had the highest screen time were those that I also tended to feel run down and a little low. Since cutting my screen time and doing something different that I enjoy, like reading, I have felt a lot better. As a student, I know it's hard to step away from everything going on on social media but taking some time away did me the world of good. 

Self Care Tip #4 Stay Healthy 

You may have moved to uni with only a small (if any) repertoire of recipes you can cook and so you're stuck in the same constant spaghetti bolognese and beans on toast cycle. I found cooking different and healthy meals was a really good way to boost my mood. Not just from taking some time to cook but also enjoying meals that were a little different every so often and also a little better for me - it helped me sleep better, feel more energised and just overall happier.

Self Care Tip #5 Speak Out

At my uni, we were constantly reminded about the services on offer for students who are struggling so, if you're starting university soon, I would definitely find out where you can get information about what services they offer for people struggling with stress, mental health and anything else. Knowing where to access this information will help you out a lot later on. 

While they may be new to you, you're all in the same boat so if you're struggling, speak to one of your housemates. If not them, maybe a friend from home? Try and check in on your family as well - it can be quite relaxing to hear from your close ones if you're stressed or down. 

Did you take time for self-care as a student? If did, what did you do? If didn't, what do you wish you did? 

Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x

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