Self-Care in College

Throughout my past four years at Plymouth State University I have noticed that many of my fellow college classmates struggle with self-care, including myself at times. Between studying, papers, homework, social life, sports, work, and taking care of yourself, it can be overwhelming and difficult to find the right balance. It is obvious that your academics come first, it’s why you’re here! However, don’t forget to set aside time to take
care of you. Here are some tips and practices that I do in order to be successful and avoid illnesses, stress, and meltdowns.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep to function properly (#SCIENCE). I know many of my friends do not get nearly enough sleep as they should. Being a student athlete, I need it. I tend to go to bed no later than 10:30PM on school nights and wake up around 8AM. When I know I am going to have a busy night before a game I will then take advantage of any down time I have and take a 15- to 30- minute nap to reenergize myself.

Eat Healthy Meals

I cannot stress this one enough! It is so important to eat healthy in college because it can be so easy to eat whatever you want. Your body needs certain nutrients and vitamins to thrive. I make sure I have AT LEAST 1-2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. For me it’s easy because I could live off of them, but I know many people despise them. I always find myself looking up new recipes to make that can incorporate some healthy options. If you’re always on the go like me pack snacks the night before, or meal prep! Also, drinking water consistently throughout the day is key. If you don’t have one, invest in a reusable water bottle to make it that much easier. I know I always feel so much better all-around when I eat clean. THINGS TO AVOID: eating out (it will save you so much money if you just go to the grocery store and cook), caffeine, sugar, fried food.

Exercise and Get Active

Exercising is always a good option for self-care. I know it helps decrease my stress a lot! Being a college student, you pay to have unlimited access to the gym located in the HUB. So why not take advantage of it?! Many workout classes get held in the HUB gym as well, for anyone who is unsure of what to do or where to start. Grab a group of friends and go! You don’t even just have to go to the gym to get in some physical activity. You can walk/run around campus, throw the Frisbee, play catch, ride a bike, hike, and many other options. We live in the mountains. There are endless possibilities of outdoor activities. One thing that I really enjoy that happens in the HUB gym is ladies power hour. The weight room is closed off to all guys and it gives females the opportunity to take advantage of the weight room without feeling judged or uncomfortable. I enjoy going to the gym with some of my teammates and working out together. That way you get a sweat in and get to hang-out with your friends at the same time!

Find Healthy Relationships

Having supportive relationships in general is typically better for your mental health. When you come to college as a first-year student it can be terrifying. You’re in a new place with new people. But, you have to realize everyone else is in the exact same situation. You have to put yourself out there and be willing to meet new people. You will always have your family and friends from home, but now you get to make a whole bunch of new relationships with new people. I have created so many friendships from being on the Women’s Soccer Team alone. Also, get involved! I currently work in the Plymouth State Communications & Marketing Office and have created so many wonderful relationships. I have even gotten some real-life work experience, which is great to put on your resume. All you have to do is put yourself out there. What are you waiting for? GO!

Set Realistic Goals

Setting short-term and long-term goals for yourself is important. It
doesn’t matter how big or how small, just write them down. I tend to write my goals in my daily planner. Sometimes it’s just a list of things I need to get done for the week. I think it is so satisfying when I get to cross something off the list. It shows you that you really are getting stuff done. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you accomplish your goals!

Keegan Burch ‘20, from Nashua, NH, is a Plymouth State BFA Graphic Design Major. Outside the class, Burch plays for the Women’s Soccer team and works as a Graphic Design Fellow for the Communications & Marketing Office. Her hobbies include going to the gym, cooking, and spending time at the beach!