College life is hectic. Between studying, social events, and classes, finding time for self-care can present quite a challenge. And a tight budget and cramped dorm room don’t help.
The restrictions of college life make it hard to establish a good self-care routine, but this doesn’t make doing so any less important. Luckily, there are many ways to practice self-care without splurging on luxuries that you can’t afford and don’t have space for. By just taking time for yourself to reset and re-charge from the hustle and bustle of student life, you’re indulging in the best form of self-care there is.
Here are five dorm and budget-friendly ways to practice self-care.
Organize and Optimize Your Space
When life gets crazy, our rooms usually follow suit. You don’t want to be that roommate with piles of dirty clothes and textbooks strewn all over your bed, desk, and floor. Tidy up for everyone’s sake.
Cleaning can reset your frame of mind and help you feel calmer. Taking care of your personal space and organizing your things is an act of self-care and a favor you can do for your future self. Organize supplies you need for school such as folders and textbooks so that they are readily available and find a place to store everything else. Get rid of anything you don’t use and rotate your closet to fit the current season. And don’t forget to throw away old food in your mini-fridge.
Make the cleaning even more relaxing by practicing mindfulness as you complete your tasks. Instead of rushing through each chore, take the time to consider what you are doing and how it will positively impact your life.
Eat Healthy Foods
Practicing self-care also includes eating healthy and nutritious foods, but many healthy foods are expensive. If you cook for yourself, great way to eat well on a shoestring budget is by eating foods that are nutrient powerhouses—these are going to give you the best bang for your buck. Frozen vegetables like steamable broccoli, whole grains like brown rice, and lean proteins like chicken breast all have significant health benefits and are inexpensive.
Even if you mostly eat in a cafeteria and don’t do the cooking, there are plenty of ways to improve your health. For example, many college cafeterias have salad bars that you should get into a habit of visiting. Likewise, limit your consumption of simple carbohydrates and processed foods and opt for whole foods instead. Fruit and veggies are always an excellent choice, and choosing wheat over white is easy to do.
Unplug & Unwind
We all need an occasional break from screens and social media for the sake of our mental health and clarity. If you can afford to do so, pull the cords on your devices for an entire day and do a technology detox. If you can’t do it for a whole day (because of school or work), a few hours on the weekend will do.
Once you’re screen-free, head outside for some fresh air. Check out any free events that may be happening on campus or in the community. Call up some friends for a picnic or hammocking session. Participate in your favorite physical activity or try something new to get the blood pumping as well, which improves brain function and mood.
Try Guided Meditation
Meditation is an excellent form of stress management, but it’s not easy to do. If you’ve ever tried meditating, you know how difficult it can be to slow down your thoughts.
Fortunately, there are apps for that. Headspace and Calm are great apps that make meditation accessible even to newbies. YouTube videos can also help you get into a mindset for meditating and learn new techniques. With a little practice, you’ll grow better at focusing your thoughts and steadying your breathing when the stress piles on. This free self-care will soon be your favorite way to unwind after a long day.
Laugh Out Loud (For Real)
Laughing is good for you. A good laugh can reduce your stress, release endorphins, and even lower your blood pressure. If you ever need a quick pick-me-up, turn to your favorite TV shows or books for a crack-up session. Better yet, grab a coffee with your funniest friend.
Schedule Self-care Regularly
The stress that comes with college can’t be avoided, but you can find ways to manage it. Establishing and regularly partaking in a self-care routine is a great way to stay motivated, energized, and healthy inside and out.
Make time and space for a self-care routine just as you would set aside time to study or write an essay. Even five minutes of caring for yourself, which doesn’t have to cost a dime, can make a positive impact on your overall wellbeing.