“TREAT YO’ SELF”
By Camara Chea
Peer Educator Camara Chea shares three of her favorite tips for staying de-stressed and discusses the importance of self care. Stay tuned for next week’s update, where Camara shares four more tips to enhance your well-being!
As college students, it seems like we’re bombarded with heaps of information and overloaded with things to do. Maybe you have a job, maybe you’re heavily involved in extracurriculars, maybe you’re trying to do really well in your classes, or maybe even all three…! And on top of that, perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed with emotions. You may very well be feeling emotions like stress, excitement, fear, happiness, gloom, loneliness, hope, and more. However, when you get to that point where everything spills over, both you AND your mental health suffer.
In the shuffle of life, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and forget to practice self-care. Just as you would tend to a puppy with lots of loving support, constructive criticism, and mindful actions, it’s important to do these things for yourself as well. Our well-being, which is defined as our personal state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy, is one of the most integral aspects of ourselves. Sadly, many of us ignore it in our day-to-day lives.
There are various things that you can do to improve your well-being. In Part 1 of this 2-post series, I will give you some tips on how to treat yourself.
One thing you can do is practice mindfulness. With this strategy, it’s more about trying to be more aware of your environment and experiences. This can positively enhance your self-understanding and let you live in the moment more. Be curious of the world around you. Take some time to reflect on your surroundings, your thoughts, and your emotions. By doing so, you can help reduce stress, better focus, and enhance self-insight. Examples include writing in a journal, blog, or vlog; doing some yoga; or drawing whatever you feel like drawing. Harvard Health provides a lot of really cool information on mindfulness.
Another thing you can do is simply take a break. I know it might be challenging to specifically give yourself downtime when you have so many things to do, but carving out a break can actually be good for you. If you push yourself too hard, you may incur feelings of burnout or inattention.Try doing something to clear your mind every once in a while. Let yourself laugh, smile, and just feel. On a daily basis, it’s important to give yourself little breaks so that you can recharge and come back stronger than ever! For example, you could study or do homework for an hour (try to avoid distractions if you can!), take a fifteen minute break, and then work for another hour, and so on. Something I really like to do at the end of a busy week is set aside time to watch a movie or a few episodes of a show. Other suggestions include going to a college program, listening to music, taking a walk, reading a book, take a bubble bath, and exploring Santa Cruz, etc.
The third tip that I have for you today is for you to be good to your body. Your mental health is connected to your physical health, and vice versa. Practicing healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, and being physically active are all ways of being good to your body. Did you know that exercise increases the release of endorphins in our brains, which help us to relax and feel good? Did you also know that most college students don’t get enough sleep? It is true that sleep is often neglected due to the various demands of our daily lives, but, please, treat yourself with enough sleep to perform optimally! Harvard University also has a really neat website that offers a lot of information about sleep and improving one’s sleep. To be good to your body, try to plan your day so that you can finish what you need to do and go to bed on time; eat portions appropriate for your metabolism and activity levels, at regular intervals; and walk to class instead of taking the bus, go for a jog through our beautiful campus, or just do something active that gets your heart racing!
That’s all for now, but come back next week for four more tips on how to improve your well-being! See you then, and for now, TREAT YO’SELF. :-)