College is one the most important times of your life. Not only are you earning yourself a degree that will shape the rest of your life, but you’re also gaining new experiences and learning more about yourself each and every day.
There’s a lot going on in the midst of keeping up with all your classes and making new friends. It’s important, then, to do everything you can to treat yourself with a little kindness in the form of self care when the opportunity presents itself.
Spa days are the epitome of self care, but they aren’t always affordable as a college student. So do one of your own in your dorm room!
Treat yourself to a mini at-home spa day
College can be incredibly draining. When you’re stressed about upcoming exams and looming deadlines of papers, your gut reaction might be to just keep plowing through until you’ve finished everything. If you want to be able to produce your best work, however, it’s important that you’re not constantly running on empty. Rejuvenation is key to any self care regimen, and what’s the best way to rejuvenate? An at-home spa day!
Whether you want to quietly go about your spa day by yourself or you want to invite a bunch of friends over to practice some self care of their own, a spa day is the perfect way for you to put aside all of your worries for a day and just focus on you. Put on a face mask, moisturize your skin, and give yourself a pedicure over the course of an entire day that’s just dedicated to you. It’s a simple way to practice self care, and you can do it within the comfort of your dorm room!
Call someone you love and miss
When you’re really focused on the tasks you have before you - finishing that paper in time to have a second pair of eyes look it over before you turn it in, studying for that important midterm, or researching for the argument you’ll give in the upcoming debate in your communications class - it’s really easy to fall into the habit of shutting out the outside world until you finish everything. Doing so can have a negative impact on your mental health, though, so it’s important to reach out to people as a form of self care.
Whether you’re Facetiming a friend on campus who’s in a similar boat, one or both of your parents, a sibling, a cousin, or even an ex-coworker you haven’t talked to in a while, taking an hour or two out of your never-ending schoolwork to talk to another person. Talk about anything but the work that’s looming over your shoulder. The point of calling someone as a form of self care is to take a step away from the assignments that are stressing you out so that you don’t have to think about them for a little bit.
Have a dance party
You know you’ve been in one place for too long when you go to stand up and realize your foot has fallen asleep. Whether you’re experiencing that, a dull ache in your lower back, or some tension at the base of your neck, it’s probably a sign that you need to take a break and practice some self care. While we usually think of self care as something you do to relax, sometimes it’s less about going completely lax for a day and more about letting loose all of your pent-up energy.
It’s true that keeping up with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and maybe even a part-time job while you’re in college can be quite draining, but that isn’t always the case. Especially when you’re cooped up for long periods of time (like you might find yourself during finals week), it’s actually quite easy to grow restless. You can certainly exercise to burn off all that excess energy, if you want, but why not have fun with it? Have a dance party in your dorm room as a form of self care - by yourself, with some pals, or even with the whole floor!
Spend some time by yourself
Not all of your stress at college is going to come from the never-ending deadlines and club meetings, and sleep deprivation. Some of your stress is going to come from other people, and there’s not much you can do to avoid that. Whether you’re just having the kind of day that makes you sensitive to the way anyone looks at you or you’re an introvert who’s reached your socialization limit for the day, your ideal self care might look a lot like some alone time.
That might mean staying in even though all of your friends are going out, taking advantage of your roommate going home for the weekend, or just simply asking the people around you if they wouldn’t mind letting you have some alone time for a little bit. Once you’re alone, you can do whatever you want! Read a book (for fun!), catch up on your favorite Netflix series, or just listen to some music at a low volume while you tidy up your space.
Let a shower wash away your worries
It might seem a little silly for us to recommend showering as a self care tip. After all, isn’t that just one of the bare basics of hygiene? Yes, but hear us out. Sometimes you have a long day or you get back a bad grade on an assignment you were really proud of or you have a fight with your best friend or you and your partner break up, and you just feel awful by the end of the day. And when that happens, you might just have to break your self care routine down to the bare basics.
The good thing about incorporating a shower into your dorm self care routine, though, is that it’s super easy. You’ll definitely have access to one (which is half the battle), and once you hop in, it’ll be kind of hard to think about whatever is troubling you anyway. Make the water as hot as you can stand it so the steam from the shower can help clear your lungs, and you might just feel like a whole new person by the time you step out (at least for a little while).
Drink water like you mean it
Some self care tips probably seem like common sense when you first hear them, but there’s a big difference between nodding along and saying “of course you should do that,” and actually following through to do what’s been suggested. Drinking water, oddly enough, is one of those tips that everyone is already very cognizant of but few people ever actually carry out in their daily lives.
In fact, drinking water tends to slip most of our minds from day to day. We get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to do seemingly obvious things, like staying hydrated. For today’s dorm self care, then, make it your mission to drink nothing but water all day long - and drink lots of it. Aim for somewhere around 15 cups a day if you really want to treat yourself to the best self care (that’s your water bottle filled 4-5 times, for reference).
Spend a day without your phone
Technology has come quite some way in the past twenty years or so. We have Ttwitter to keep up with our queen, AOC, we can reach our friends both domestically and internationally in seconds via iMessage and Whatsapp, and we can post photos of ourselves that look like they’ve been taken by professionals to Instagram. There’s a lot of good that modern technology has accomplished. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all good, all the time.
With everything being available to us instantaneously these days, social media can sometimes do more harm than good. Sometimes your Instagram post won’t get as many likes as you last one did. Sometimes your friends will take more time to respond to your messages than you thought they would. Sometimes your non-AOC faves will disappoint you in the blink of an eye. When those things happen, it’s time to put your phone away for a little bit. The internet will be waiting for you when you pick it up again.
Get in touch with your creativity
Who ever said that self care can’t be fun? We may just need to have a chat with them. In the simplest of terms, self care is made up of actions you can take to make yourself feel better - whether they’re things that will help you feel better in the moment or on a more long-term basis. In some cases, that may mean doing something practical like clipping your fingernails or remembering to eat at least one well-balanced meal in a day, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
The next time you plan on practicing some dorm room self care, why don’t you try out something a little more fun? Tap into your creative side to start a new project. Are you a skilled knitter, or is that a skill that you’ve always wanted to learn? Do you have some coloring books in your dorm room? Do you like to write? There are so many creative projects that you could take up within the comfort of your dorm room to practice some self care, and they’re a great way to exercise a different part of your brain!
Soak up some fresh air in the great outdoors
Finals week is rough - there’s no getting around that. When you’re not in your regular classrooms suffering through exams, you’re usually holed up either in the library or your dorm room, cramming for said exams and kicking out your final papers for whatever classes don’t require end-of-term exams. It’s exhausting and it’s stuffy, but it’s also necessary if you have any hopes of passing your semester.
That being said, if you want to make sure that you’re putting out the best possible work you can during finals week, it’s pertinent that you also practice a little bit of self care in between each study sesh. Our suggestion? Go outside! There’s nothing quite like some fresh air to help you clear your head - which is exactly what you need when you feel yourself starting to get stuck. Go for a short walk around your campus, or even head to the nearest coffee shop to grab yourself a latte and people watch from a bench for a half hour or so.
With a new life at college comes a ton of new stressors that might have you wanting to pull your hair out. It’s important for you to take some time to nurture yourself, as well as doing your best in school. Practice some self care, whether you want to make a daily routine of it or just devote some days to it periodically. You won’t regret how much better you’ll feel because of it.