Autumn Self Care Challenge for College Students
With each new season, it’s fun to think about how you will initiate a self care challenge to ensure that college and life doesn’t get the best of you. With the months turning cooler, the days getting shorter, and COVID threatening more shutdowns, it’s very important to take care of your mental health, perhaps now more than ever.
In the following article, we offer 11 suggestions to get you started. As you read through, think about how you will personalize each one.
1. Set Clear Goals
The goal-setting stage is important because it diagnoses the parts of you that need care. You get to the heart of where stress lies. This aids in developing a game plan for addressing those issues.
However you set those goals, make sure they are clear and specific. Don’t just say, “I want to get in better shape.” Adopt some measurable results. For example, say you want to come in under your daily allotted calories each day of the fall months. Use the seasonal change as a reset button so you can feel like you’re starting from a clean slate.
You should come up with goals for each part of college life: mind, body, emotions, and academic. This will keep you well-rounded and productive.
Are you already pretty active on the exercise front? Great! The fall is when you should be working extra hard to keep it up. It’s too easy to let the change of seasons and the colder weather turn you lazy. Be aware of the threat, and make sure it doesn’t happen.
Have you been wanting to start an exercise routine but found it too hot? Well, now’s the time to start. From late September through February, it’s a lot easier to deal with the elements, especially if you’re in a location with mild winters. If you’re not, start a gym membership at an inexpensive location like Planet Fitness or 10Gym.
3. Get Outside
Getting outside has more benefits than just being conducive to exercise. That’s where the air is fresh, and vitamin D from the sunlight is abundant. Even if you don’t plan on doing any killer workouts, it’s a good idea to get up from your chair and head out there for a few walks around the block.
4. Let Go Of at Least One Grudge
It’s difficult to go through life with no enemies. Usually, either we’re going to rub someone the wrong way, or they’re going to do the same to us. New seasons bring new opportunities to review the relationships that you’ve made in life. Which ones are suffering?
If you have any grudges at all, now is the time to let them go. Remember, forgiveness isn’t for them. It’s for you. No one should have the power to induce negative feelings in you just at the mention of their name or seeing them on the street. Don’t let those old grudges bother you any longer. You don’t have to be buddies again, but you should work to let go of any urge toward revenge or negative wishes for the other person.
5. Learn How to Breathe
Breathing exercises help you control your emotions and deal with stress. They also steer you towards proper meditation techniques. More into prayer? Don’t worry, breathing can help there, too. By counting each breath and slowing their rhythm, you exercise control over body and mind. This puts you in a much better place to connect spiritually. That’s true whether we’re talking about a higher power or just yourself.
6. Secure Nutritional Momentum
Eating right already? Don’t let the coming months of baked goods and candy derail you. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are going to bring with them many nutritional temptations. Don’t let them serve as an excuse to knock your healthy habits to the wayside.
As for those of you who could be doing better in the nutritional department, it’s not going to get any easier once the holidays arrive. Establishing healthy eating practices now will strengthen your resolve when the Hershey’s candies and pumpkin pies start coming out of the woodworks.
7. Have an Adventure
There is an old saying about the true meaning of an “adventure.” The punchline: it’s just a poorly planned vacation. Call it what you will, but plan some time not to have a plan. Get in the car with your besties and go!
Find some time to explore locations you don’t normally go to. Take a road trip with no end destination in mind. The more room you make for the unexpected, the more memorable experiences you and your friends will enjoy together.
8. Do One Thing to Inspire Others
Inspiring others is a two-fold service. It does something good for them, and it feels good to you when you realize what you’ve done. College students get so busy with courses and career plans and figuring out how the heck they’re going to pay for all those student loans, that they don’t realize the personal or societal benefits of tapping into their own strengths.
That is to say, you don’t have to wait until you find a career or graduate to make a difference. Being socially conscious, getting involved in worthy causes now instead of later, and connecting with others so your voice has a better chance of being heard, are all ways you can inspire others. You can also do it by volunteering with charitable organizations, feeding the homeless, or collecting toys for a holiday toy drive.
9. Embrace Your Hobbies
Hobbies help us explore our creative side. They can also illuminate career possibilities that we might not have previously considered. Have you yet to find a hobby that appeals to you? Set aside time for yourself so you can explore the possibilities that are out there. Connect with local meetup groups.
If you’ve got it all figured out, great. Make sure you’re setting aside time for those hobbies so you can ensure they don’t fall by the wayside.
10. Go Out With a Friend
Friends help you make memories. You need that time at the movies, at parties, going cycling or to the gym, and taking road trips together. Without it, you could end up experiencing a pretty lonely existence throughout your college years.
Going out with friends or significant others also teaches you how to cooperate and thrive among different personalities. That will be greatly beneficial as you get out of college, enter the workforce, and think about settling down into family life.
11. Make Time to Be Alone
Being alone and loneliness are not the same things. Eliminate loneliness from your life, but make time to be alone. It’s only by being alone that you can decipher what your core interests are and process your experiences.
What Does Your Self Care Challenge Look Like?
We hope the 11 suggestions we’ve give you above will fuel your own personal self care challenge. Regardless, we would love to hear from you. What are you doing this fall to make sure you take care of you? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]