As I reflect on my third year experience, I realize how vital self-care has become throughout my university experience. Every year, more and more studies come out about the alarming and increasingly high rates of anxiety and depression among college students. I think these disheartening statistics reflect how easy it is to neglect your wellbeing while facing the stressful demands of university.
Personally, I am no stranger to forgetting self-care. However, as I’ve developed more of an interest in my wellbeing, I’ve discovered some indispensable methods and strategies that have furthered my wellness journey. Here are just a few ways to practice self-care consistently:
Taking Regular Breaks From Social Media (and Engaging In Other Forms of Entertainment)
Social media is great, but it is also exhausting and time-consuming. Every month, I set a goal to read four to five novels, yet I find myself spending all my time scrolling through Instagram, instead of getting through the books I’ve been planning to read. Not only can social media take time away from self-care activities like reading, television and more, but it can also drain your energy and leave you feeling depleted after too much social media use.
With the pandemic, I’ve found myself using social media to stay connected with friends. However, I think the most important way to increase connection is to actually call your friends, rather than just liking their Facebook posts and watching their Tik Toks.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Physical Wellness
Self-care isn’t just bubble baths and soothing tea. It also includes mundane tasks like booking doctors appointments, taking any necessary medication, upping your vitamin intake and eating healthy, home-cooked meals.
At the start of every month, I’ve started scheduling any important dentist, optometry or doctor appointments and make sure to remind myself of them during the month. Not only does this help me stay organized, but it feels good to stay on top of my health and regularly check-in with health professionals.
Scheduling Time For Social Connection
Friends make all the difference. Although I don’t live in the same area (or even country) as all of my friends, I make sure to schedule time to chat with them and catch up with their lives. In this pandemic, it can be so easy to forget to maintain social connection and spend your days busy with school or binging on Netflix. However, human interaction is so vital––even if it’s only through FaceTime.
According to MyHealth Alberta, frequent social connection helps to build mental fortitude and serves as protection against the challenges of daily life. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates the power of friendship and building healthy, lasting relationships. Friendship and relationship are the core of life, and they are ultimately the most significant survival tool of this pandemic.