Self-care is a phrase that is often used in today’s society, but what does it actually mean and how can you ensure that you are getting your daily dose?
Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. It is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
According to the England Mental Health Foundation, mental illness is the largest single source of burden of disease in the UK. Students are particularly at risk due to the stresses that living away from home and studying bring. Many students spent countless hours studying whilst desperately trying to find the right work-life balance. Prioritising self-care can be a struggle, but it is important to create time to unwind and look after yourself.
I have put together some tips to help you to incorporate self-care into even the busiest of routines.
1. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night
It’s important to get the right amount of sleep to ensure your body can function properly. Sleep allows your body to rest and repair. Practice good sleep hygiene by turning off all electronics, reducing your caffeine consumption, and making sure you are comfortable before bed.
2. Catch up on sleep with power naps
If you can’t quite get the 6-8hours of sleep during the night, then a 20minute power nap might be just the trick to revitalise your energy supplies and leave you feeling as fresh as a daisy.
3. Take regular study breaks
Keep studying intervals short and productive, leave yourself plenty of time before deadlines to get the work done, and schedule breaks whereby you take a short walk to a different location.
4. Eat a varied and balanced diet
It’s important that your diet is providing you will all the essential nutrients to thrive both mentally and physically. Spend time pre-preparing meals and snacks for those long days at University and ensure you stay hydrated by drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day.
5. Introduce movement into your day
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and get you moving but it doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Walking is a great way to get moving. Download a good podcast and walk to University rather than getting the bus.
6. Meditate and relax
Taking time out to focus on breathing and forgetting the day-to-day student stresses is a great way to practice self-care. There are many guided meditation apps and YouTube channels that will help you to find your inner zen. I particularly enjoy yoga which incorporates meditation, breathing, stretching, balancing, and strengthening exercises to work both the body and mind.
7. Make time for the things you enjoy
Whether that’s going out with friends, watching a film, or pampering yourself; set time aside to recharge and have fun.
Make sure to use my top tips to make sure that 2020 is a year devoted to self-care and good health.