After getting a severe cold during my first week of graduate school it became clear to me that if I fail to take care of myself it would be a long miserable four years. One of my top goals would have to be to engage in self-care. But what exactly is self-care? Self-care is any intentional action that you do to improve your overall health and well being. Self-care can be different for each person and may be harder for some to incorporate in daily life. However it is essential to have a happier and healthier life. Here are some tips to get started on self-care.
Make sure you are eating enough each day. Also, what is equally important is the quality of food that you are consuming. With a busy schedule quick and easy foods that are bad for you often become the main source for meals. Changing what and how much you eat will improve energy levels, mood and overall well being. One way that I make sure I eat enough is by packing a lunch. In that lunch I make sure to have fruits and veggies, enough food to spread through out the day, and a little treat to look forward to through out the day. Another equally important point is to drink lots of water!
This is probably one of the hardest things to add into a busy schedule. But there are so many benefits for getting enough exercise it is essential to self-care. A few easy ways to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule is to take the stairs, walk instead of driving or riding the bus when possible, take a short walk during lunch, and exercising during commercial breaks. The biggest things when trying to add exercise into your schedule is to start slow and small, set reasonable goals, and it’s okay to miss a day or week, just keep trying!
Sleep is so essential to well being and unfortunately is often over looked, especially during the undergraduate and graduate school years. Getting enough sleep doesn’t only improve your overall mood but can also help improve the mood of others. No one wants to be around a cranky person. I make sure that I go to bed at a reasonable time by setting an alarm that reminds me it is late and I need to wrap up what I am doing so I will not be miserable tomorrow.
· Be grateful
At the end of each day write down or think about three things you are grateful about, and reflect on why they were meaningful to you. Think about what made you happy that day and think about the people that contributed to that happiness. This can really help change your outlook on your day.
· Try to do something you really enjoy daily.
It can be something small and may not happen everyday. Some ideas are take a long bath, read a book, watch your favorite tv show, buy yourself flowers or some other small thing that makes you happy.
I hope you found these tips helpful and you are able to find a way to incorporate them into your daily life. Start slow and find what works for you!