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Two friends sit and chat. Learn more about self care for college students at Regent University.

Self-Care for College Students

Managing classes, assignments, clubs, sports, work, and whatever else you’re involved in can feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to learn about self-care for college students!

If you feel you don’t have enough time to spend on your mental and physical well-being, try these tips to build better self-care practices in your daily life.

Keep Your Priorities in Mind

Taking on too many responsibilities at one time not only takes a toll on you mentally but also affects the quality of your performance in each area. It’s better to focus on the things that are the most important to you.

This can be hard—you might have to cut back on things you enjoy (like streaming movies)—but in the end, you will be left with a more focused mind and time to do things that feel more impactful.

This act of self-care for college students will help you be more present and productive in the activities that matter most to you.

Create a Routine

While class and work schedules provide some structure to your day, creating a complete routine will lessen chaos and increase productivity. This doesn’t have to be an hour-by-hour, rigid schedule, but try setting aside a specific time for everything you need to get done that day.

“Chunking” your day by activities (as in, before breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, etc.) can be a helpful way to create a routine that allows more flexibility.

A large workload feels less stressful when broken down into small periods of time. This is a great way to establish self-care for college students without adding anything extra to your busy day.

Make Room for Fun

A heavy workload often means that fun gets put on the back burner. However, making time for short stress-relieving activities can not only reduce your overall anxiety but also allow for a reset when you get overwhelmed with assignments.

It may seem contradictory, but allowing yourself time to enjoy yourself can actually increase your overall productivity! A 2021 study found that when learning a new skill, breaks are actively used by the brain to process and absorb new information.1

Some activities that won’t take up a lot of your time but can provide excellent self-care for college students include

  • Taking a walk
  • Cooking or baking
  • Reading a book
  • Calling friends or family
  • Taking a bath
  • Playing a game

Regent has hundreds of activities to choose from if you are looking for something to ease your stress. Check out what event Regent’s Student Activity Board is hosting, and try out the ones that interest you! You can also enjoy our intramural teams to join a fun community where you can compete and grow friendships.

Prioritize Your Physical Health

It’s no secret that a healthy body leads to a healthier mind. It’s easy to forget to exercise due to an overload of commitments. This is an essential part of self-care for college students, yet it’s perhaps the most overlooked.

Students that move more and spend less time sitting have higher levels of alertness, concentration, and enjoyment in classes, according to one study.2

There are countless online resources to help you find the best exercise routine for you—whether you prefer working out at the gym, a quick workout at home, or just having fun dancing around your room!

If you really can’t spare any time, try exercising during your daily activities. Walk to your classes instead of driving or take a five-minute break every hour to do some stretches. You can also invite friends to play a quick game of frisbee, basketball, or some other sport.

Have a study break, a catch-up time, and a workout all in one!

Eat Well

Healthy eating is equally important to make sure your body and mind are receiving all the proper nutrients they need.

Cooking for yourself may be unfamiliar to you right now, and that’s ok! You can find easy, healthy, and quick meals in a few minutes and be well on your way to cooking whatever your heart desires.

Cooking can even be a form of self-care for college students, as many people find it to be very therapeutic. Give it a try and see if this is something for you!

Take Time to Read

College involves a lot of reading. You might be burnt out from reading your textbooks, but reading for pleasure can be a great break from everyday work.

Start with a book on a topic that really interests you, whether that is fiction or nonfiction. This can help you get into the habit of reading, and later you can broaden your collection.

If sitting still and reading a physical book is unappealing to you, try an audiobook where you can listen to it while performing other tasks like cooking or cleaning.

Evaluate Your Circle

The people you interact with have an incredible influence on your mood and outlook on life. It’s important that you surround yourself with people that will support you and who you can trust.

If you are finding that you do not have these people in your life, branch out and look for them in other areas of your life. Perhaps a Bible study, church group, or other organization will allow you to find people who share your beliefs and values and can love and support you.

This practice of self-care for college students will not only improve your well-being, but by showing that love to others, you are also improving the well-being of those around you.

Take Time for Christ

Making room to spend time with God will never be a bad idea. While self-care for college students is important, creating a personal relationship with God is infinitely more important.

While private time with Him is important, spending time with Him in fellowship can also be a wonderful way to draw closer to Him. Regent’s Connect Groups, Chapel, and UnChapel offer students the opportunity to come together and worship God.

Utilize Campus Resources

Professional counseling is often a necessary yet expensive resource for self-care for college students. Fortunately, Regent offers professional counseling at no charge to our students.

Other psychological services by clinical psychologists include various types of therapy, clinical assessments, and psychological evaluations. These services come with free therapy sessions for students as well as 50% off assessment services, making professional help for all your mental health needs attainable.

Prioritizing your mental health can be difficult at first. You may even enjoy your busy schedule and not realize the effects it is having on you. Perhaps you feel completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. By utilizing these tips, you can get on track to a less anxious and more fulfilling college experience.

Written by Amy Dykhuizen, student writer.