5 key ways to practice self-care in college and beyond

Adam Galliano, Staff Writer

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As students around campus begin to settle in to their schedules and daily routines, from combing through the library and endless web pages locating that elusive tidbit of information to trying to formulate the perfect APA citation, sometimes taking a moment to stop and take a break becomes not only difficult but in some cases altogether non-existent. It is during these times when the stressors of everyday life can creep up on you and cause undue discomfort all around, so this becomes a most important time to start practicing self-care.

• The Difference Between Good and Great is 5 Minutes:
Finding a moment to stop and reflect on the important aspects of self-care can be difficult but not unheard of. Take just a moment before beginning each task, be it making breakfast or a cup of coffee in the morning to reading over that last chapter before your next test one more time. Using this time more slower and more methodically can yield drastic results. Thinking before speaking or acting will allow you to mentally check and recheck your plan, and this can help avoid mistakes and undue stressors.

• The “Power Stance”:
I have always enjoyed this activity, and on a personal level, it has yielded great results. Before walking into a building for a meeting or a class, even just before entering a room to present a project or speech or even to take an exam, stop and stand tall. Stretch out your spine and put your hands on your hips and pose with the most perfect posture that you can. I have heard people mention they thought this was a “Superhero Pose,” and I guess it isn’t that far off.

Having confidence and believing in yourself are important emotions and are the building blocks to success, but displaying that confidence and poise with a physical manifestation can build that confidence and prepare you mentally for the task at hand. Breathe, pose and believe in yourself until you are ready to begin. Super heroes got it right.

• Positive Self-Talk Goes a Long Way:
When I speak with clients during group team building sessions, I constantly hear the words “can’t, never, and always.” In most cases, these words lack weight. There are very few things in this world that you cannot do and just as many that can be considered to “never” or “always” occur. We are our own worst critics, and we tend to put ourselves down or count ourselves out of the equation for many reasons including fear, insecurity and self-doubt. Take the time to just change a few of those words around when contemplating your abilities, and instead of saying “I can’t do this” say, “I have never done this before.” Mentally make the effort to remove this self-doubt and believe in yourself. You will most likely surprise yourself every time.

• Ask for What You Need:
I was raised with the idea that to be successful in this world, you must be self-reliant. This mentality has not always been a negative thing, for certain, but in the grand scheme of things, I have found as I get older that this is not the best way to be successful. While I may feel a sense of completion and pride in my work when I complete it on my own, I wonder how much harder did I have to work to get it done myself? Could it have gone easier if I would have asked for assistance? This answer is usually correct. We have so many outlets to get assistance, from family, friends, school officials, even through social media and the internet, there is oftentimes someone who can help you in whatever way you need. Sometimes this assistance is difficult to locate, but you will find that with a bit of looking and taking that brave step to give up control and ask for help, you will most often find it.

• Time Management is The Key to Life’s Door:
I once had an instructor during my undergraduate studies who shared a quote the first week of class, and this has stuck with me closely thought the years. “To get control of your life, you first have to get control of your time.” I have searched for the author of this quote, and so far, I have not found them, but this does not take away from the importance of this statement. Time management is key to everything. By taking a moment to plan out your week, from your class schedule to your study and work life, making a plan and sticking with it can work wonders to relieve stress and help foster success. Remember to always include a bit of free timer, and it does not hurt to allow for a few minutes extra either way as leeway for the unexpected. Calendars work, and one of the best abilities a person can have is “dependability,” so being punctual and showing up on time (or early for the real go-getter) can help you succeed by leaps and bounds.

While these are just a few ways to help build a successful college career, these are just a few of the many ways that you can make changes in your life to overcome obstacles and live a life of content and satisfaction.

Hard work, dedication and even having a bit of pride in yourself when you accomplish things are not bad elements to a successful life, just more tools for your toolbox. Enjoy and have an amazing semester and remember self-care is the most important care there is, and you must take care of yourself before you can fully give care to the world around you.