By Giselle Pagunuran
Why is it that everything seems to shift into hyperdrive right before Fall break?
When there’s a million things to take care of all at the same time, there’s one important thing you might forget to check up on – yourself. I know you’ve got a busy schedule, so I’m not asking you to take a three-day hiking retreat in the mountains or anything. These are just a couple of easy ways you can take care of yourself every day:
Set small, realistic goals every day
Here’s something you can do at night to chill out before bed, or in the morning to get your day started: Make a list of things you need to do for the day, and if you want, schedule times for you to do them. Then, whenever you check a task off your list, congratulate yourself for being on top of your stuff!
Your goals don’t have to be anything huge. You don’t need to finish a thesis or run a 5k on a daily basis. Something as simple as making your bed or buying your groceries can make you feel good about getting something done. Then, you can use the momentum of these small successes as motivation to take on bigger tasks like writing papers or studying for tests.
Schedule self-care time
You schedule all of your assignments and all of your meetings – so why not schedule your self-care time, too? It can be hard to justify spending some time for yourself when you open up your calendar and see a billion things scheduled one right after the other. But if you put some time for yourself on your calendar, it’ll be a little easier to commit to it. You could have a movie night with a friend. Or take a yoga class at Campus Rec. Or if you’ve got a busy day, you could just schedule ten minutes of laying on the quad or doing a relaxing face mask. Whatever it is, your mind will thank you for the well-deserved break.
Check your social media
Social media shouldn’t be a source of stress. If scrolling through your feed makes you feel some type of way, maybe that’s a sign it’s time to switch things up. That’s the beauty of a personal feed – you have the power to curate it! So, if someone or something isn’t contributing positively to your mental health… cut it out of your feed!
Self-doubt? Get out of here! FOMO? We don’t know her!
And if you think it would be a good move to go further, there’s always the option to take a complete break from social media. Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering methods work great for social media, too: Ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, then let it go.
Ask for help when you need it
During move-in day, there’s always those people who try to lift huge boxes and heavy refrigerators without any help. They clamber around corners and up stairs, struggling all on their own. Wouldn’t it be easier if they had just one person to help them out a little? Why don’t they just ask for help?
You don’t need to prove anything by going through problems on your own. Asking for help is the wise decision, and it’s the strong decision. Maybe you need help understanding a tough concept from the last lecture. Maybe you need help dealing with a stressful situation you’ve been experiencing. Whatever it might be, it’s almost always easier when you talk to someone about it. I guarantee there’s someone in your life who’s willing to listen, even if it might not seem like it at first. There are people like your friends, professors, classmates, and roommates. If you live in an on-campus residential community, then you have RAs, who are a great source of support.
There’s even more people on campus who will be there for you when you need them. For instance, if you need mental health support, you can go to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). And if you’re going for the first time, you don’t need to make an appointment! There’s also a bunch of clubs centered around mental health like Embody Carolina and Active Minds. And if it’s academic support you’re looking for, there’s always the Writing and Learning Centers, where you can get tutoring and a bunch of other resources for free!
I hope you keep these tips in mind, especially during midterm season! Good luck, and don’t forget to take care of yourself!