Sleep, wake, study, socialize, repeat. The fast-paced environment and daily grind of college life can quickly burn out college students. As you try to adjust to your new journey in adulthood, the demands of college life make it challenging to take care of yourself. That’s why many college students give up necessities like sleeping and eating right to try to compensate for their new busy schedule. If this is you, you’re not alone!
The problem with today’s society is that life has become so hectic that self-care gets put on the back burner. Even the most seasoned adults struggle with adequately taking care of themselves at one point or another. Between prioritizing responsibilities and trying to balance work and social life, taking care of yourself might seem like the least important item on your endless to-do list. Unfortunately, this is a colossal mistake for college students and adults alike!
There is more to life than struggle! With a few adjustments to your daily routine, you can significantly improve your mental, physical, and emotional health. Let’s take a closer look at the effects of neglecting self-care and easy tips to take care of yourself.
The Problem with Neglecting Self-Care
Think about your daily routine. It seems like there isn’t a moment in the day to sit back and relax. Assignments, studying, social events, school clubs, part-time jobs, and juggling relationships are a lot to squeeze in a 24-hour day. Once you graduate, life isn’t much different. Transitioning into your career, managing a household, getting married, and becoming parents are just a few adult responsibilities you might have to handle.
While the independence of adulthood is exciting, failing to care for yourself can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. Since most of us are crazy busy, overworked, overthinkers, and consumed with technology, taking care of yourself might not be a priority. Many people even feel guilty about doing so. But neglecting self-care will eventually take away your energy and happiness, leaving you feeling exhausted, uninspired, and even physically sick. Other effects include:
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty with your relationships
- Extreme fatigue
- Problems with personal hygiene
- Addiction to drugs, alcohol, caffeine, or eating
- Weight gain
- Minor aches and pains
- Stomach issues
- Tense muscles
- Major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure
Signs You’ve Neglected Self-Care
There are several sure signs that you haven’t been taking care of yourself the way you should. If any of these sound familiar, it’s probably time to take a step back and change your daily routine.
- Your brain is in a fog. Feeling spacey and forgetful are common for people who make self-care their last priority. Overextending yourself can make it difficult to focus, drastically diminishing your work or school productivity. If you feel like your mind is in the clouds, it might be a good idea to set aside time for yourself.
- You’re always stressed. The less you care for yourself, the higher your levels of stress will be. When we feel stressed, our bodies have difficulty regulating cortisol hormone levels. Excess body fat, reduced energy, and physical effects like a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, and heart disease may be signs that your daily stress levels are taking a toll on your body.
- Tired is your middle name. Do you feel exhausted even after you know you’ve gotten sufficient, quality sleep? If you can’t kick that tired feeling, you’ve neglected self-care too long.
- Your muscles twitch. If you don’t notice the mental effects of not taking care of yourself, the physical effects will be hard to ignore. Vitamin deficiencies, too much stress, and being overtired can lead to physical effects such as muscle twitching.
- You’re suddenly getting sick all the time. When you don’t take care of yourself, your immune system can take a beating. If you’re frequently catching a cold or sick with another virus every couple of weeks, it’s time to focus on you.
- You rely heavily on caffeine or alcohol to get you through the day. The more and more you go through the daily grind without taking some time for yourself, the easier it is to turn to crutches like caffeine or alcohol to help get through the day.
- You are anxious, irritable, or on edge. The less you take care of yourself, the more it affects your psyche. If you are anxious, quick to snap at your friends or family, and always on edge, it’s time to take a break.
7 Real Tips for Self-Care
Don’t let the busyness of life keep you from taking care of yourself. Incorporating these simple changes into your daily routine can significantly improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s time to put yourself on the schedule and make self-care a priority. Add these one at a time or all at once, but make them a habit. Be patient. Remember, it’s better to aim for progress than perfection.
Create a Morning Routine
Studies show that individuals who wake up earlier and have a set morning routine are more successful in life. Start your day with meditation. Spend 5-10 minutes in deep thought or doing a deep breathing exercise. Starting your day off on the right foot will increase your energy, help manage stress, improve focus, and minimize negativity. A better morning leads to a better day. Soothe your mind and body first thing in the morning, and you’ll love the positive energy you have throughout the day.
Catch Up on Your ZZZ’s
Getting enough sleep is a problem for many Americans today. It can be particularly challenging for college students with FOMO! But the scientific benefits of getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night are immense. Set a consistent sleep schedule and give your body time to recharge your batteries. Create a relaxing nighttime routine. Avoid exercise and screen time 30-minutes before bed for better quality sleep. Plug your phone into an electrical outlet across the room, so you’re not tempted to check it during the night. Sufficient sleep helps detox the brain. The more rested you are, the happier, healthier, and more focused you will be throughout life.
It’s no secret that exercise has significant health benefits. Not only does it help with maintaining a healthy weight, but it is also is effective in reducing stress, mental fatigue, and improving your emotional well-being. Those who exercise regularly are more productive, alert, and creative. Staying active also helps to lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, and improve sleep. Commit to moving your body every day. If you don’t like to go to the gym, take a walk around campus. Fresh air can significantly lower stress hormones and boost serotonin levels in the brain. And who knows, you might make some social connections along the way.
Find Your Tribe
Supportive relationships are essential to a good life. Surrounding yourself with positive people who share your values, ambitions, and hobbies will help keep you happy. They’ll also keep you grounded when you need some support. Humans are social creatures by nature. Don’t neglect the power of human interaction. Surround yourself with people who make you feel happy, energized, and loved.
Know When to Stop
Two of the most significant issues people have when it comes to taking care of themselves is stepping away from responsibilities and saying no. Balancing school or work life and home life can be a difficult task. But lack of balance leads to stress, exhaustion, lowered productivity, emotional depletion, anxiety, and depression. Take breaks throughout the day. Set a schedule and stick to it. Choose a specific time each day when you’ll stop working or studying. Boundaries are crucial to your overall well-being. Give yourself time to replenish your mind and body by knowing when to stop.
The more organized you are, the more productive you will be. This change can significantly reduce your levels of stress and free up time for yourself. Set practical work or school goals and create a schedule. Organize your living or working space. Set yourself up for success by eliminating the potential for mindless tasks throughout your day.
Find Your Passion
Life can’t be all work and no play. You need to find ways to live, not just exist. Find a hobby or something you genuinely enjoy and allow yourself time to participate each week. Having a passion doesn’t only lead to a meaningful existence, but it also gives you time to disconnect, relax, and get away from the everyday stresses of life. You need to give yourself time to have fun and recharge so you can show up to work and school life ready to succeed.
University Urgent Care Is Here to Help
Stress management and self-care are crucial to your overall well-being. While the tips listed above are great ways to take care of yourself daily, there might be times when you need a little extra help. It’s ok to have a list of resources to help you take care of yourself a bit better. Your school might have agencies, clubs, counselors, or peer mentoring services that serve as educational resources when you need a hand. You should also keep physical, mental, and emotional resources in your toolbelt for when you need them.
University Urgent Care is conveniently located near the TCU campus in Fort Worth, Texas. Whether you’re a university student or a local resident, we’re here to address the medical concerns of patients of all ages. Our team of board-certified nurse practitioners is available from 10 AM- 8 PM daily. Add us to your resource list, and let us help you take better care of yourself. Give us a call at (817) 697-0700 or book an appointment today!