Life

7 Summer Self-Care Tips for the Stressed-Out College Student

With college on hold for the next few months, you have opportunities aplenty to wind down from your educational responsibilities.

Transitioning from a work-study-cram state of mind to a relax-chill-enjoy attitude is necessary for a summer that will leave you refreshed and ready to begin the next school year anew. Once you get the hang of relishing your new freedom, you can make the most of fun in the sun — or just your free time!

Not sure how to celebrate your summer and recalibrate your mind and body? Take some cues from these seven summer self-care tips below.

1. Reset Your Body Clock

College students stay up all hours of the night — and many students are still up late even without assignments to complete. Your body needs sleep to function properly — so you should try to get an adequate amount to keep yourself energized and ready for the day. Fix your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Put your phone away an hour before bed to avoid distracting your mind.

Eventually, your body will adapt to this pattern — and it won’t be long before you’re feeling energetic and well-rested again.

2. Create a Leisure Schedule

It might seem odd to make another schedule when summer is supposed to be your vacation, but this isn’t your standard class timetable. Devise a list of things you want to accomplish over the summer, and you’ll avoid feeling like you’re aimlessly floating after months of having a set routine. If you need more guidance, narrow this list down into day-to-day tasks so you’ll have an idea of what to accomplish step-by-step. When you create a plan, you’ll reach your personal goals more quickly.

Goal-setting can save you the experience of wishing you’d spent your summer differently. But you don’t have to finish every single task on your list — save some ambition for next year.

3. Head Outside

Leave the house and get some fresh air and sunlight whenever you can. The sun provides many benefits to your health and well-being — like clearing your mind and energizing your body. You don’t have to stay out for hours to reap these benefits, either. A few minutes a day will have you feeling less stressed within no time. Explore a park during daylight hours and see nature at its best.

If you’re a night owl, step out when the sky gets dark and stargaze.

4. Go On a Trip!

If you go to college in the same town you live in, leaving school can feel like walking off campus and onto your front porch. This doesn’t let you separate your personal life and school life enough, and you may feel the need to create boundaries or escape entirely. Even if you’ve come far from school, your home town might not be a great getaway.

Instead of idly dreaming about skipping town, just do it — everyone needs a break now and then. Grab some friends for company and go on a trip to switch things up.

It doesn’t matter if you leave the country or only visit the next town over — sometimes a change in scenery is exactly what your mental health is craving.

5. Be Kind to Your Body

Oppressive heat puts you at risk for dehydration and heatstroke, so don’t forget to hydrate whenever you go outside. Everyone’s familiar with the recommendation of six to eight glasses of water a day — stick to it. If you begin feeling weak or dizzy, head inside to cool off.

During the school year, you may barely be able to prepare full meals, let alone healthy ones. Now’s the time to sharpen your cooking skills and reinvigorate your body. Research healthy recipes you can make for yourself at home. If you’re a stranger to the kitchen, you can always opt for beginner recipes that won’t take you hours.

6. Get Creative

Summer is the ideal season for finding a hobby you might not have time for during the semester. Have you always wanted to play the guitar? Start learning those chords! Maybe you’ve thought about painting, crafting, or refinishing old furniture, but had to put the project idea on the back burner. Now that you have a summer to indulge your interests, dive in.

Feeding your creativity doesn’t have to be a big undertaking — you can enjoy small, artistic tasks here and there. Adult coloring books are excellent for reducing stress and encouraging relaxation — buy a few and see how it works for you. Collect pictures or ticket stubs from sports games and put them into a scrapbook to remember your school days.

7. Don’t Let FOMO Rule You

If you’re staying at home for the summer, seeing friends and classmates on Instagram hit the beach or go to amusement parks can make you feel like you’re not doing enough.

Remember, their situations and yours are different — so stop comparing yourself, your experiences and your image. Do what makes you happy and focus on being your best.

If spending your days at the local pool is adventure enough for you, enjoy it. If you’re grinding down on a summer job to save up for the school year, know you’re doing your best. This summer, be confident and take care of yourself the way you need to.

Make This a Self-Loving Summer

The start of summer marks a new opportunity. Let go of the stress this season and start focusing on yourself — so you’ll be refreshed and reinvented when school comes back around.

Alyssa Abel is a freelance blogger who loves sharing insights into student lifestyle, studying and surviving college. For more tips on staying sane as a student, visit her blog, Syllabusy, or connect with her on Twitter @alyssaabelblog.

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