5 ways to practice self-care on a student budget
How to survive the stresses of uni without *totally* draining your bank balance.
I’m a big believer in the positive effect that self-care has on our physical and mental well-being. However, it does quite often take a back-seat to the demands of uni. Through the stresses of deadlines and piles of reading to be completed, it is common to forget to look after yourself. It's easy to say "I'll take a break from work today", but how often does it actually happen without you feeling guilty for doing so? With my dissertation deadline looming I find myself subconsciously working until I go to bed. However, I have come to the realisation that I'm more productive when I actually give myself time to relax.
Money is often a contributing factor to overlooking self-care. When you think of self-care often things such as spa days and restaurant trips pop into your head. On a student budget that often seems impossible. Nevertheless, there are simple (and cheap) but effective things that you can try to help you face deadlines with a healthier mindset.
Simple things to try:
1. Have a pamper night
Take a night off specifically so you can pamper yourself. Put on a face mask, do your skin care routine or have a bath (or shower) and allow yourself a selected period of time to dissociate from any stresses you may be feeling. Utilise this time to clear your mind through reading or watching your favourite film. When you feel happier with your appearance on the outside, more often than not this translates to how you feel on the inside.
Communication is SO important to maintaining a happier and healthier outlook. Whenever you feel like the stresses of uni are overtaking, take time out to speak to someone. Call your family or friends from home or even just talk to one of your flatmates. This works to take your mind off of uni by allowing you to talk about something different. I find that I'm usually in a much happier mood after taking the time to call my family (and after seeing my dog).
3. Actually take time to relax
The main rule of relaxing: don't feel guilty for doing so!
This is quite a personalised one in the sense that in order to relax you must do what YOU actually want to do (that doesn't involve work). Read your favourite book or catch up on your favourite TV show. It's surprising how quickly relaxing in front of your TV or in bed makes you feel better, but it does!
Alternatively, if reading isn't your thing try listening to a podcast. This allows you to listen to something without having to focus on writing or looking at a screen for any longer than you already will have done when working. There are millions of different podcasts out there to suit everyone. However, if you are looking to laugh (a lot) try listening to My Dad Wrote a Porno.
4. Cut down on screen time
As students, it can often seem that our lives revolve around social media. This can be so mentally and physically damaging in the sense that quite often you find yourself comparing your life to others around you. Taking time away from social media is important in order to focus on your personal well-being. However, if taking time away seems impossible try cleansing your social media accounts. If someone makes you feel unworthy or reflect on yourself in a negative way then delete, delete, delete!
I know this sounds like more work adding to the already growing list of things to do. However, organisation is vital in creating a fresh and happier place to work in. Even if you start with something small like making your bed. I tend to feel much more motivated to actually start working when my bedroom is tidy. Decluttering and cleaning your house may seem like a lot of effort, but working within a clean space focuses your mindset (also we all know how dirty student houses can get).
Write lists! It took me until second year to properly plan out my working week. However, this is vital so you don't overwhelm yourself with everything you have to do. My number one tip is to start small. Don't plan to complete 20 different tasks in one day if you know that you can only physically complete five. Also, this is a great place to plan out when you will take breaks to relax and practice self-care.