Beware, this is not a ~self care routine~ but a self care routine. A practical one. Where you need to put in a little more work than a quick facemask. Nothing wrong with a facemask but, we all know there’s more to a practical self care routine than the picture perfect Instagram version.
Taking care of yourself, managing college and self care as a college student is all about making decisions and cultivating habits your future self will thank you for.
Balancing college and self care can be a tough fight but one worth fighting for. One way college students can balance college and have a practical self care routine is by calendar blocking.
This way you get chunks of time to practice self care all while exceling at college.
Hopefully this post will help you with taking care of your mind, body and spirit; things that make up a practical self care routine and directly impact your life.
Practical Self-Care Routine For 20 Year Olds
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Mental Self Care for Busy College Students
Your mental health should be your top priority. Without it, you cannot focus on school, excel at work, internships, etc.
And as you might’ve guessed, it is an ongoing chore. To prioritize and care for your mental health. You won’t wake up one day and never face problems ever again! You need to actively work towards caring for your mental health as a college student.
Best ways to take care of yourself as a college student is to ensure you get proper sleep (6-7 hours minimum). I am very well aware of the fact that sleep and good grades never come together in a Venn diagram but… you need to sleep. For your own wellbeing.
Things I did to ensure I got at least 7 hours of sleep on most days of the week (5-6) was by:
- Not pushing assignments to the last minute. This way, all-nighters were never needed.
- Calendar blocking to ensure I finished the task I started and not move on to the next one until I was completely done with the previous one.
- Reducing night-outs, college clubs and screen-time. Keyword: reduce.
Express your Thoughts
Express your thoughts in some way. Journal, poems, talking it out, video diaries. anything.
If journaling everyday is the bane of your existence, try doing it once a week or once every two weeks. Can’t bring yourself to write? Talk to someone. Be vague if you’re not comfortable sharing every single detail.
You don’t even have to verbalize. Though it helps a lot. Go for a walk or play your favorite sport. Mind you, the feelings find ways to come back one way or another.
So, if something’s bothering you, write it down or deal with it NOW instead of pushing it away. This has helped me so much.
Especially when I’d suppress my feelings thinking I’ll deal with it later on but forget to, and days later I’d feel bogged down by the smallest of inconveniences in life. It changed when I took a piece of paper and wrote down things that were bothering me.
Go Zombie Mode
By zombie mode I mean, taking your mind off of things for a while. For example, let’s say you’re worried about getting accepted into your dream company or waiting to hear back from the internship you applied for.
Getting anxious is pretty normal. During this time you could do the following mental self care activities:
Meditate: Hearing your breathing while inhaling and exhaling is super calming for your mind and spirit. Sit for 10 minutes in silence and do this. It’ll change your life.
Read a book: Delving into a world that is completely fictional and being invested in it for sometime is a great way to get out of your head for once.
Try new recipes: you don’t have to cook a 7 course meal. Try new ways to cook oats or protein powder recipes other than smoothies!
Reprogram your Brain
We all know that on a surface level, eating healthy, sleeping, practicing mindfulness and exercising is beneficial to us. But how many of us actually prioritize it?
Obviously life happens and things can go south but, trying to actively check these boxes should be a part of your mental self care routine.
As simple as it may sound, I became a lot happier ever since I decided to make happiness a priority. As a college student/ someone in their 20s, there’s so much going on that having a practical self care routine grounds me.
One of the things that helped me reprogram my brain was reducing self-deprecating humor! I’d scroll through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, find memes about bad sleep schedule, work ethic, mental health, etc. laugh and think: well haha me too! funny isn’t it?
No its not. Making jokes about the horrible sleep schedule, skipping assignments, procrastination and doing nothing about it ruined me! Actively working towards reducing self-deprecating humor made me work on myself and life has treated me a lot better since.
Side note: Reading The Power of your Subconscious Mind helped me in so many ways. You definitely need to give it a read.
Physical Self Care for Busy College Students
I’m no fitness guru but, I think you can agree with me when I say that doing some form of exercise (walking, gym workouts, dance, etc.) always makes you feel better. Same goes with eating healthy.
One of the best ways to manage and care for yourself as a college student is by moving your body everyday.
It doesn’t have to be these out-of-the-world workouts seven days a week. A simple 20 minute walk, a dance workout or basic stretching exercises will do. As long as you feel better.
Consistency is the most important part of cultivating self care habits and making it a routine. By being consistent you are already doing 90% better than your peers.
Remember, starting is always the hardest part! It gets easier each day! And your future self will be grateful!
Spatial Self Care for Busy College Students
Funny how as your life gets chaotic so does your room? And before you know, you have 2 weeks worth of laundry piled up, dirty dishes and an overflowing desk. You wonder how you got here. I’ve been there way too many times.
Spatial self care or taking car of managing your space is super important to focus on your college. A cleaner room may or may not motivate you to get work done but a messy one certainly does not.
Cleaning your room, space should be a part of your practical self care routine. As a busy college student I know how hard it is to manage college with literally anything else.
One hack that I found particularly helpful when it comes to reducing room clutter is doing things then and there instead of pushing it to tomorrow. Clearing out my desk the night before, doing dishes immediately after eating, etc.
Adding color to your space with led lights or candles helps create a more Zen like space. A scented candle, incense sticks or essential oils diffuser helps to make you feel different even though you are in the same 4 walls.
These essentials to make your room more Zen and calming are super affordable adding up to $40 only!
Looking for essentials to make your self care routine more practical? Check out this Practical Self Care Essentials for Busy College Students that are super affordable!
Social Self Care for Busy College Students
Social self care is also a super important part of any practical self care routine for busy college students. College can be so overwhelming that we forget to socialize!
Setting up a date with yourself, friends and family once in a while is necessary. You don’t have to book a vacation to Hawaii or Maldives.
Staying home and spending time with your family or going on a picnic with your friends in your city can helps tremendously in making you feel better.
Low intensity social interactions like texting your friends, facetiming your family, playing games online should be fine too. Because lets be honest nobody’s got the time to meet people in person on the daily.
As much as social self care is about making plans with your friends and family, it is also about cutting out toxic people that weigh you down.
People that thrust their opinions on you, lowkey hateful & jealous friends, not-so-amazing partner. Whoever is getting in the way of your mental health needs to be dealt with.
College and your 20s in general is a learning curve. Here are some tips to Work on Yourself in your Twenties! I highly recommend you give it a read!
Indulgent Self Care for Busy College Students
Indulgent self care: a made up category where you basically indulge in “guilty pleasures”.
Be it putting on a face mask, binge watching a show, movie marathons, staying up all night to read, going out, buying clothes, makeup, etc. indulge in something materialistic or not just because it makes you happy.
If that $15 eye mask is what makes you happy, then you should go for it. We all know that eye mask isn’t going to solve all of our life problems but screw that!
Check out this post about the Self Care Essentials for Busy College Students! to have the best indulgent yet practical self care routine as a busy college student!
There you have it; a practical self care routine for busy college students. I know balancing it all can be hard and most of what you just read might seem cliché.
But truth be told, 90% of the time, at least from what I’ve realized over the years, the cliches are always true. Live. Love. Laugh. Isn’t that what we all need at the end of the day? Happy self care to all of us!