These days, student mental health has been coming to the forefront of conversation, and for good reason. Most students have dealt with long periods of stress from midterms, exams, job applications and interviews, or general workload. During these times, it’s easy to let taking care of yourself move to the back burner, but self-care is an incredibly important part of not only your long-term health but also of avoiding burnout and succeeding as a student. How to fit self-care into your already packed schedule? Here are 4 simple habits you can easily integrate into your daily life without sacrificing much time:

Plan and prioritize time for self-care

As a student, you’re always juggling tests, due dates, events and your social life. Even with the best intentions, it is hard to make time for self-care throughout the day when there is so much to do! Making time for self-care in your schedule (by setting an alarm on your phone or scheduling it into your agenda if you have to) is often necessary when you’re a student. Whether it is 10 minutes of meditation or an hour at the gym, if you plan for self-care it is much more likely you’ll actually do it. Making the time for self-care makes it a priority, and taking care of yourself should always be a priority.

Write down what your gratitude

Write down at least one thing you’re grateful for every day. Whether this is in your journal, planner, phone, or just a piece of scrap paper, make a list of things you are grateful for throughout the week or month. This is a great habit to build into your schedule because it can take less than a minute and it will give you a moment to breath and put your day into perspective. Writing these daily on a single list also lets you look back on when you’re feeling down.

Learn something for yourself

Why would you, a student who spends most of your time either on school work or stressing out about school work, want more to learn? When you finally have time off, it is easy to “relax” by doing something that doesn’t really help you feel better like scrolling through social media. Spending a few minutes on learning something cool for yourself can be a good way to spend downtime and make you feel more productive and inspired at the same time! Whether it is a longterm project learning a new language or learning something new every day, being able to learn a small amount of something outside of school every day gives you a feeling a accomplishment and lifts your mood. There are lots of places where learning is made enjoyable such as in books, audiobooks, apps like the TED app, and YouTube channels like SciShow, Thug Notes, and Numberphile. I personally like to listen to audiobooks or podcasts while I’m walking, commuting, and doing chores.

Taste the rainbow

Taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your mental health. While building habits like regular exercise and meal prepping can be hard, one useful habit is to try eating all the colors of the rainbow. The idea is that the more colours you can pack into one meal, the more balanced it is (unless your dinner is a bowl of Skittles). Besides being a fun challenge and making your meals Instagram worthy, focusing on adding healthier foods rather than eliminating junk food is an easy way to improve your eating habits.

Try adding these small habits to your daily life to decrease stress and make it through midterms!

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