How to Prioritise Your Self-Care as a University Student

As a university student, much of your time and energy goes into your studies. But while it is important to focus on your university career, it is even more important to focus on taking care of yourself.

But with so many responsibilities, leading a balanced life is oftentimes much easier said than done. Luckily for you as an Abodus resident, we have teamed up with our partners at Student Minds to help provide you with more information and support in making your self-care a priority!

Student Minds has recently launched Student Space, a platform full of expert information and advice to help you through the challenges of coronavirus, and we are on a mission to help them spread the word through content like this blog, in which we focus on the most important topics affecting young people’s mental health.

Read on below to learn more about the importance of self-care as a university student, and to learn how to implement self-care practices most easily into your daily routine.

  1. Put yourself first. While this seems an obvious tip, and you likely hear it all the time, oftentimes we find ourselves at the bottom of the pile when it comes to our priorities. Before you focus on self-care, you must first focus on yourself, so be sure to set aside some time each day to do something you enjoy. This might look like reading, journaling or even binge-watching your favourite Netflix It does not matter what you do, so long as you are consistent in taking the time daily to “fill your cup” through activities which allow you to unwind and recharge. None of the below steps will work if you are not making time for yourself and your wellbeing, so ensure that you are physically putting the time aside each day by blocking out a set time in your diary. (We suggest a diary like this from The Positive Planner, which Abodus residents get a great discount on through our VIP Programme!)
  2. Prioritize time management. Further to our first point, it is important to physically block out the time for your daily responsibilities. Many times, the most effective way to care for yourself is through preventative measures, so honing your time management skills early on in your university career will make for lower stress levels and a reduced risk of burnout. If you stay aware of what’s on your plate, you can prepare accordingly. If you need a little help getting started, read more on staying organised in our blog post here, where we fill you in on how best to manage your time.
  3. Focus on stress management and relaxation. While we can do things such as focus on prioritizing our time management to reduce stress, we will never be able to block stress out from our lives completely. In fact, some stress in our lives can actually be a good thing, according to Psychology Today. However, the key is to ensure that our stress levels do not get too high and that we are able to effectively manage them through our preferred relaxation methods. Whether you are choosing relaxation methods such as those mentioned in our first point above, or through an activity such as listening to your favourite playlist, taking a bubble bath or even diffusing your favourite essential oils, you can be sure there is at least one thing that will help you to unwind when you are feeling stressed. Check out this article from Healthline if you are looking for more ideas on how to manage your stress.
  4. Eat well, stay hydrated and exercise regularly. When it comes to self-care, your health and nutrition is incredibly important. Whether you go for a daily run or dance around your flat to your favourite tunes, regular exercise is vital to your overall wellbeing. Whatever you choose, make it a priority to move your body for at least 30 minutes each day. Believe it or not, what you eat can largely affect how you feel, so be sure also to drink plenty of water each day and to fill your body with foods that will give you lots of energy and help you to feel your best. Guest blogger, nutritionist and recipe developer Hannah Trueman goes into great detail on how your nutrition can affect your mood and overall wellbeing in this article on “food and mood” on our website.
  5. Implement a good bedtime routine. While your physical health and nutrition are both vital factors in your self-care, they won’t do you much good if you aren’t also focusing on your sleep habits. While ensuring you don’t get too little or too much sleep is important, the quality of your sleep is just as important. To ensure you are getting the best sleep for you, make it a priority to implement a good bedtime routine. You can do things like reduce caffeine and remove screen time before bed, or even meditating. It might take some trial and error, but be patient and persistent in finding what relaxes you most and helps you to sleep best, then use it to build your nightly bedtime routine. The NHS has some great suggestions on methods and techniques which you might find useful in getting started.
  6. Stay connected. We understand that being a university student is already busy enough with your studies, extracurriculars and holding down a part or full-time job, but do not let this deter you from maintaining your social life. This does not mean you need to make an appearance at every social event you are invited to, but you should make it a point to spend quality time with your support circle regularly. Just a quick phone call from a family member or close friend can provide you with a great sense of happiness and help you to get through the more difficult days when you feel particularly stressed from course deadlines or exams. Staying connected with those most important to you plays a major role in your overall wellbeing, and it should absolutely be implemented into your self-care routine.
  7. Keep your mental health top of mind. Your mental health plays a huge part in the structure of your self-care routine, and while each of the previous points made in this article will contribute positively to it, keeping your mental well-being in check does not have to be done all on your own. While your support circle plays a huge role in your mental wellbeing, sometimes it is nice to speak with someone not directly connected to your personal life. In fact, many students often rely on outside help to ensure they are feeling their best mentally, and there are fortunately many resources available to you if you feel you need some extra support. Many universities have counselling and other mental health services available to students, but if you don’t feel comfortable using your school’s resources, there are also other options such as virtual counselling or mental health apps such as i am me. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of researching your choices, Student Minds is a great option for finding all of these resources and more in one place. You can find a full list of resources available to you as an Abodus resident on their website here.

At first glance, the above list might seem a bit exhaustive in terms of getting started with prioritising your self-care. But take your time in implementing each of these steps into your daily routine, and over time you will find that each step flows right into the next, and that overall, they fit together perfectly to create the puzzle that is your self-care routine.

Here at Abodus, our top priority is the mental health and wellbeing of our residents, and this is exactly why we have chosen to partner with Student Minds in providing as many resources and as much support to each and every one of our residents as possible, ranging from putting on bespoke events to directing them to Student Minds’ newest support platform, Student Space. Please continue to check our website and social channels regularly for more great content like this blog in line with our Gold Partnership with Student Minds