Nowadays, being a student is really tough. First, you go through an exhausting admission process. If you want to get accepted into a prestigious university, you have to have perfect grades, a spotless record, and a bunch of extracurriculars to add weight to your application. And once you get accepted, it barely gets easier.
But the situation is not as gloomy. You are still living through the best years of your life, making new friends and gaining invaluable knowledge and experience. Yet, because of the sheer amount of pressure the modern education system puts on students, many often struggle mentally. You have a huge workload, lots of homework, and parents who say they want the best for you but are actually pushing you to work even harder.
In this article, we will explore the ways you can lighten the load and learn to practice self-care, even in the toughest situations.
Learn To Ask For & Accept Help
The first thing you need to learn about being an adult is that you can’t do it all yourself. In some situations, it’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to delegate, automate and get help with some tasks. For example, you decide to start a business. You can’t expect yourself to handle everything and also do well at school.
Ask your roomie, “Hey, can you write my essay?” or get an assistant to schedule your business tasks and homework. It’s unreasonable to think you’re able to handle everything yourself. Learning to delegate will teach you leadership and trust. If you succeed in business, you’ll be able to delegate tasks to your employees freely without being scared of them failing.
We all have been in a situation where we forgot about a test or some other important deadline and had to cram the entire semester of classes overnight. But even in a situation like this, you have to remember that your brain has its limits. Pushing yourself will not do you much good. Neither will studying without breaks.
Remember to take breaks when you study. Your brain will continue working in the background, internalizing all the information you’ve absorbed. In the meantime, you can have a snack or stretch your body.
Students often object to this, thinking they have no time. But studying through the whole night will not be efficient since your brain will have reached its capacity. If you take a small break every 30 minutes, you will recharge, process everything, and refresh. Alternatively, you can switch subjects or tasks. Switch to something easier after completing a hard assignment, and make it feel like a reward.
Care For Your Body
Exercise is vital, but we as a generation tend to forget about it. Focusing on your body a few times a week will give you time to reflect, process some events or feelings and simply recharge. Apart from that, regular exercise gives you more energy and a serotonin boost. Once you start to work out regularly, your body will start to adapt to the new schedule, producing more energy than it did before.
But what to do if you have no time? Sure, going to the gym or swimming pool can be demanding in terms of time, and students are known for being busy. If you absolutely can’t squeeze a full workout into your schedule, try finding 15 minutes for it every day. You can switch it up, too. One day, you can ride a bike around your campus. Next, try to do some cardio or bodyweight exercises like squats and pushups before school. After that, do some relaxing yoga before bed to help you unwind and sleep better.
Sports don’t always have to be about lifting weights in the gym. There are a bunch of more exciting ways to be active.
Cooking might not be an option for many students. Some don’t have the facilities for it in their dorms, and others just can’t find enough time. If your dorm doesn’t provide a kitchen, then there must be a cafeteria. When you pick lunch for yourself, try making healthier choices. Look up WHO’s perfect plate:
- ¼ carbs like potato, rice, pasta, etc.;
- ¼ protein, like fish, meat, or tofu;
- ½ non-starchy vegetables.
This doesn’t mean you have to rack your brain over every meal or that you can’t have ramen noodles ever again. Self-care is about kindness, forgiveness, and deliberate choices. Learn to listen to your body and think about the best ways to nourish it at that very moment.
Try to have healthier snacks handy. If you have nuts, fruits, or dark chocolate in your room, you are less likely to drive to the store for a bag of chips. Again, it’s totally fine if you crave something fried or greasy. But make sure it’s not every meal.
Limit Screen Time
Social media is a part of our everyday life. It’s hard to find someone who’s not on Instagram, and if you do, it raises questions. But we tend to get dependent on it, looking for validation and instant dopamine release in every image or short video we view. This affects our nervous system and self-esteem, leads to FOMO, and may even cause body dysmorphia.
By limiting screen time, you rewire your brain to focus for longer. In some cases, it might be useful to delete apps like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok from your phone. It can be a temporary measure to improve your relationship with your appearance and get rid of FOMO. In time, you will notice that you still receive all the most important news, but without the constant clutter and noise that social media comes with.
It’s especially important to put your phone away before bed. Try putting it in sleep mode about 40 minutes before bed. You will stop receiving notifications, and your nervous system will start to relax. Instead, read a book, take a shower, or clean up your room. You will notice how much easier it is to fall asleep if you don’t watch TikToks till 1 AM.
Caring for yourself might sound silly, but it’s vital to listen to your needs and satisfy them. Once you move out of your parents’ house, their involvement in your life becomes less and less, and for many of us, parents are the primary caretakers. But as you grow older, you must learn to satisfy your needs without relying on your parents or anyone else. This article can be your guide on some of the most important self-care practices students tend to forget about.