Going to school, working, or doing both, takes a toll on your limited time and energy. Self-care has never been more important than at this stage in your life — protecting your health is critical in preventing burnout. Yet, despite knowing how important it is, self-care is somehow the easiest thing to avoid when life gets hectic.
If you’re considering changing careers and going back to school, here are 11 self-care tips that will help you succeed in college and beyond:
- #1 Prioritize Sleep
- #2 Exercise
- #3 Eat Well
- #4 Practice Mindfulness
- #5 Set Boundaries
- #6 Stay Connected
- #7 Take Break
- #8 Manage Your Time
- #9 Get Support
- #10 Practice Self-Compassion
- #11 Take Care of Your Mental Health
Bonus Tip: Get Involved
Getting enough restful sleep is crucial for your overall health and academic success. Sleep has a profound effect on your physical and mental well-being. Not only can lack of sleep impact your mental health and academic capabilities, but insufficient sleep is also associated with an increased risk of medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Sleep is important to your physical and mental health.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Regular physical activity can help reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve your overall health. We know that physical activity is often much more difficult to prioritize in the winter months, but incorporating movement you enjoy doing can make it easier to stick to your routine when the days are short and the freezing temps make it impossible to get outside.
Aim for 30 minutes total a day (can be done in mini sessions of 5-10 minutes each).
It isn’t easy to balance work, school, and your personal life. Typically, a regular eating schedule is one of the first things that goes out the window when we get busy. Prioritizing foods that fuel your body and mind can provide you with the nutrition you need to get through to the finish line. Regular meals also allow you to take much-needed breaks from all the things keeping you busy.
Aim for eating highly nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Mindfulness can be as involved as daily meditation and deep breathing exercises or as simple as listening to your favorite music or writing down a to-do list to get your thoughts out on paper. What mindfulness means to you is personal, but finding ways to slow down in your day and practice a bit of mindfulness can help you gain more focus and reduce stress.
Aim to incorporate small mindfulness exercises into your daily routine.
Boundaries in your personal, professional, and academic life can help you save energy and avoid burnout. A boundary can involve having conversations with the people around you about your study schedule or making sure to close your computer when it’s time to focus on your personal life. Setting limits and boundaries for yourself can help you compartmentalize your school life and your personal life, giving you more space to recharge.
Aim to say “no” to commitments that don’t serve you in your personal, professional, or academic life.
Going to school means you’re going to be busy. Depending on your degree program, you may even be working at an internship or earning hours toward clinical requirements. It’s easy to lose your connections when trying to earn your degree. Building and maintaining your relationships with family, friends, and classmates can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
Aim to set aside time with family and friends on a regular basis to stay connected to those around you.
Taking regular breaks from studying and working is critical to avoiding burnout. Burnout can put you at risk of wanting or needing to stop school or work. Even when things get busy, it’s important to set aside time to take a break and relax. Relaxation is productive when it keeps you from getting overly stressed.
Aim to set aside regular breaks to engage in activities you enjoy like reading, listening to music, or going for a walk.
Manage your Time
Time management is key to academic success and is an important skill you can carry over into your professional life. There are a variety of tools available for helping you manage your time effectively, as well as many time management strategies that might work for you.
Aim to create a study schedule or use a planner to stay organized and on track.
You’re doing a lot. Going to school while working or caring for your family is difficult. If you’re struggling with school or personal issues, don’t be afraid to seek help from our professors, academic advisors, or counselors. At Goodwin, we understand that your life outside of school is just as important as going to college. We’ve got the support services you need to find a better balance and stay healthy while earning your degree.
Don’t go at it alone. Help is out there.
Be kind and understanding toward yourself. As a college student, you’re taking steps toward crushing your career goals. Show yourself empathy — you’re on a career journey — mistakes and setbacks are par for the course.
Aim for a growth mindset: learn from your mistakes and move forward.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Prioritize your mental health by seeking counseling or therapy if you need it. Mental health counseling can help you develop self-care tools and learn healthy coping skills when things get difficult. These are skills you can carry into your future to help you keep that much-needed balance. Counseling services are free of charge to all Goodwin University students.
Seek out mental health care when you need it.
Bonus: Get Involved
According to a study conducted by Penn State University’s Center for Collegiate Mental Health, students are 51% less likely to withdraw from college if they are participating in an extracurricular activity. Getting involved on campus can help you knock out some of these self-care tips, like getting exercise and staying connected with your peers, all while reducing stress and increasing your chances for success.
Look for ways to get involved on campus such as volunteer opportunities, athletics, Federal Work-Study, and more.
You don’t have to do it alone. At Goodwin, we will meet you where you are and provide support all along the way.
To learn more about our career-focused degree and certificate programs, contact us today!