This guide is designed to provide students with resources for self-care and wellness practices. It is organized into the following categories:
Source: Headspace on iOS and Android.
Slow, deep breathing is a powerful tool for relaxation and stress management. By practicing belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, you can elicit a relaxation response that calms the mind and grounds the body.
Below, you will find some recommended meditation apps, accompanied by a sample meditation or breathing exercise. All of these apps are available for free at some level, with a premium subscription option.
Poor sleep quality is prevalent among college students, affecting their academic performance and daytime functioning. It's important to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night, and practice good sleep hygiene.
Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for getting better sleep:
Source: Calm App on iOS and Android.
Here are some helpful tips for mindful eating from Harvard University Health:
1. Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
2. Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to nine inches or less.
3. Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you're enjoying it with.
4. Bring all your senses to the meal. When you're cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
5. Take small bites. It's easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn't full. Put down your utensil between bites.
6. Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. (You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.) You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
7. Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won't bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.
Movement is not only crucial for your cardiovascular health, but it can also be a powerful, natural sleep aid, and produce the same relaxation response as breathing. Here are some of the American Heart Association's recommendations for physical activity for adults:
Working out from home? Here are some free online workouts you can use to get yourself started:
Time management is a critical tool for success and self-care in college. When you manage your time effectively, you gain a sense of control, and you're better able to manage your stress levels.
The Harvard Business Review identifies three critical skills at the core of effective time management:
Time management looks different for everyone, but here are some common hacks to help you organize your time more effectively:
1) Plan Ahead: Review your syllabi and course schedule at the beginning of the semester, and record due dates for tasks and appointments in a planner or calendar app. Label or color-code entries (e.g., work, school, life, etc.).
2) Don't multitask: Scientifically, humans can't actually multitask as well as they think they can. Do one thing at a time to avoid dividing your attention and decreasing your productivity. It can help to create to-do lists on a sheet of paper or on an app like Todoist.
3) Get a good night's sleep: See the section on sleep!
4) Reward yourself: It's important to reward yourself after completing your to-do list to avoid burnout, and achieve a good work-life balance. Whether it's visiting a friend, watching your favorite TV show, or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, make sure you're celebrating a job well-done!
The transition to university life can be stressful but there is lots of support available. The counselling center is only open during regular work hours, M-F, 9:00am to 5:00pm, but Public Safety is always available.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):