It’s an indisputable fact that students, predominantly those currently in high school and college, are more and more stressed out lately. Anxiety levels are through the roof, with millennials being the most anxious generation today. The American Psychological Association reports from a survey taken by students that “the percentage of college students seeking counseling who report anxiety” is 61%, with other concerns evident as well such as “depression (49 percent), stress (45 percent), family issues (31 percent), academic performance (28 percent) and relationship problems (27 percent).”
With increases in standardized testing and more rigorous requirements to be accepted to top universities than ever before, not to mention social and family responsibilities, it can be difficult for students to find the perfect balance between their school requirements, their personal life and self-care.
We don’t always realize that we need to take time off to just care for ourselves, but it’s necessary sometimes, and there’s more than one way to give yourself that TLC that you really need. All outside commitments will still be there but it’s important to know how to step back and occasionally give yourself at least one of the following six types of self-care. Balance is everything.
This consists of activities that deal with your inner feelings, ways to help you process and connect with yourself when the outside world can feel overbearing. Emotional self-care can consist of writing in a journal, playing music, making artwork, or talking to a therapist. Your high school or college campus is equipped with professionals trained to help you in any way possible.
Sometimes, our outside commitments are impossible to turn away from. Whether it be a challenging project or paper, or paying next month’s tuition, starting to plan ahead of time can prevent being stressed in the future. This can range from sitting down early to draft ideas for an essay or creating a budget for the week or month that’s easy to maintain.
In the words of Elle Woods, the ultimate grad school guru, “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” Physical activities help us maintain our mental well-being. If you don’t have access to a gym, this can be done by spending more time walking, as well as partaking in other activities that are overall beneficial to one’s health such as sleeping at least eight hours a night and staying hydrated during the day.
Taking time to stimulate your brain can be relaxing too. High schools and college campuses give many opportunities to go to museums, see plays and go to various cultural events – take advantage of it!
In times of stress, it can be easy to isolate yourself from the world, but don’t forget the people that care for you who will always be there for you. Take the time to nurture your relationships with your family and friends too, so say yes to that date, go out for lunch, and pick up the phone when your mom calls!
This type of self-care consists of activities that enrich your spirit. It does not necessarily have to be religious, although it can be. Some examples of spiritual self-care include yoga and meditation.
As you work on maintaining balance in all aspects of your life, just remember: self-care isn’t selfish! You deserve to take a break once in a while and honestly, it can only help to do just that.