As a college student, stress is inevitable, so it is essential to find time for self-care.
Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
It can help students recharge, relax and destress, allowing more focus on school work and healthier mental health.
“I think that, you know, taking control of your own self-care can really help support us in times of stress,” said Allison Banbury, a licensed counselor and counselor at St.Paul’s School for Girls.
Junior economics major Julia Hallivell notices her assignments prevent her from having a well-rested eight to nine hours of sleep because she is constantly thinking about her schoolwork.
“I honestly have not tried any sort of like self-care hacks, you know…or anything like that. I feel like implementing a new habit, especially during school, is just not going to work for me,” said Hallivel.
A good self-care routine can help destress and aid in better sleep. Experimenting with different practices is excellent because not one activity is made for everyone. Depending on the area of self-care, one practice could be more beneficial than another.
“I really do encourage students to experiment because what works for one person and what feels like self-care to one person is not the same for someone else,” said Banbury.
The Rocky Vista Health Center lists 8 areas of self-care. Commonly mentioned areas are physical self-care and mental self-care. Each area has different focuses and solutions. For example, physical deals with getting the proper nutrients and rest, and mental deals with psychological and cognitive thinking. Knowing and understanding all the areas could lead to a better self-care solution.
On top of prioritizing a good amount of sleep, staying active and healthy, freshman civil engineering major Melissa Guillen finds comfort in rowing and talking.
“I row…it’s kind of a way for me to just stop thinking. [I] don’t think about homework, don’t think about assignments and all that stuff,” said Guillen. “I also do talk to my roommate and friends. It’s like my…therapy session to voice whatever needs to be voiced,”
Hallivell concentrates on social, physical, and mental self-care.
“I think self-care for me means taking time to spend with family and friends, making sure I get enough sleep and making sure I’m not overthinking it too much,” said Hallivell.
“It’s a lot about…knowing my limits of what I can handle and making sure that I can…take the time that I need when I need it … to relax,” she said.
Along with exercise, Banbury finds time management a critical part of her self-care..
“It helps me get things done for the family, and it makes sure that I carve out time for the things that feel like self-care to me, and that’s different for everyone,” said Banbury.
The saying ‘there is a time and place for everything’ reigns true here. Time management can help students balance and set boundaries in their academic and personal lives.
Freshman mechanical engineering Ezra Martin balances their self-care between classes or whenever they get a break.
“I just sit down sometimes [for] only a 10-minute nap, or I’ll go to the gym just whenever I can between classes because that helps me get through the whole day just breaking it up,” said Martin.
The National Institute of Mental Health recommends getting started with a few techniques such as trying a relaxing activity; set goals and priorities; practice gratitude; focus on positivity; stay connected, etc.
The University of Maryland Counseling Center can assist in finding the best technique to fit your needs. They provide support services to UMD students, such as counseling services, Accessibility and Disability Services, and the Testing Office. Consultation and referral services are provided to UMD faculty, staff, parents and guardians.
To schedule an intake appointment, call the center at 301 314 - 7651.
They offer wellness workshops on coping skills, Mondays at 4:00 p.m., academic success, Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m., relationships and communication, Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. and resilience and adaptability, Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
When people do not take the time to concentrate on themselves, it can lead to burnout. Someone cannot be at their best or work at their full potential in that state. So take the time to find an activity or technique that helps calm your mind and rejuvenate your body.