10 Self-care strategies to improve health and well being
1. Get adequate sleep
Getting enough sleep is a vital part of functioning at your best. Most college students need 8-9 hours of sleep/night in order to function optimally. For optimum sleep, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and other substances before bed, and create a quiet, peaceful sleep space.
2. Maintain good nutrition
We all know that having good nutrition keeps us functioning at our best. Poor nutrition can actually make us more vulnerable to stress. If you would like more information about maintaining a proper diet, make an appointment to talk with the nutritionist at the FSU Health Center.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise can be great both physically and mentally. Research shows that 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week can help the body produce endorphins (chemicals in our bodies that neutralize stress hormones) and increase your sense of well-being. Find an activity that you enjoy and you will come to really appreciate the benefits of regular exercise.
4. Develop supportive relationships
Having supportive and caring people in your life can help you feel connected to others and less isolated. Good friends can help when you are sad, provide insight when you need help, or have fun with when you need to blow off steam. Being a good friend to others can also help you feel good too!
5. Accept who you are
Being realistic about what you do well and what you don’t lets you use your energy to make the most of your strengths. When you like who you are and value ourselves (i.e. have good self esteem), this helps you to feel positive about your interactions with others. You can practice this by being kind and compassionate with yourself and learning to listen and trust your instincts and feelings.
6. Practice good communication
Being a good communicator is something that all of us can practice and learn. When you assert yourself effectively, this can help you to let others know you more thoroughly, and can help you set good boundaries and limits.
7. Practice positive thinking
Being mindful of how your thoughts affect your behavior and feelings can be an important aspect of good self-care. Negative thinking can initiate a stress response, such as increased anxiety and worry, or physical problems like headaches and GI problems. By learning to think more positively, you can move through negative experiences more quickly and effectively.
8. Be mindful of substance use
College can be a time of experimentation with substances. Substances, like alcohol, can be used for relaxation and celebration. Alcohol can also be used to try to manage difficult, painful feelings. If substance use is interfering with your functioning or in reaching your goals, seek support to find more healthy ways to manage.
9. Practice setting realistic goals
When you set goals for yourself, it helps you to achieve what you hope to achieve and move forward in a positive way. This includes developing a practice of prioritizing, planning, and approaching tasks strategically so that you can keep life’s demands from becoming overwhelming.
10. Find time for relaxation and play
Children understand the importance of relaxation and play better than adults. Somewhere along the line, we forget about this vital part of life. We need to continue to find ways to nurture ourselves through play and relaxation as adults. This can help balance our lives in positive and fulfilling ways.
FSU Counseling Center 7/15