When you think of prepping for college images of bathroom caddies and pencil cases overflowing with highlighters may come to mind. In order to stay sane, here are some self-care tips to take care of your first priority, yourself. 

1. Make Your Favourite Treat, Then Eat It

bread, cake, dough, pastry, chocolate, cookie, sweet
Emily Coppella

Let's be honest, an all-access meal plan is nothing to complain about. After all, there’s not a dirty dish in sight and the buffet-style portions are not too bad either. The truth is though, missing your mom's cooking can sneak up on you occasionally.

Quick solution: try whipping up your favourite treat from back home. Take a trip to the nearest grocery store and stock up on some ingredients. If you have a suite with a kitchen or a residence kitchen nearby, go for it. Don't fret if you don't have access to a kitchen though, you can make some equally delicious no-bake treats.

2. Take Breaks

So you’ve finally made it here and you're realizing your teachers weren’t lying when they said college is different from high school. With intense syllabi, three-hour lectures and a wonky schedule that has you attending classes as late as 9 p.m., your schedule can get a bit hectic. Although academics are important, your own wellness comes first.

Make sure to take frequent breaks to refresh your attention during long study sessions and snack on some stress-reducing foods, particularly during finals. Also, take longer breaks throughout the school year. Try taking one day off a week from even thinking about schoolwork or fit in self-care rituals throughout the whole week. This could mean taking time to read for an hour before bed, youtube-ing midday when your morning and evenings are crammed with classes or going on a walk with your roommate to explore campus.

Another key tip: stay on top of your reading so that "reading week" can actually be "recharge week" for you. Burnout is real, and you deserve to feel empowered to take on each and every day.  

3. Meditate


crdotx on Flickr

Take the time to practice meditation in your dorm room or even find a quiet space on campus. A corner of the library or a low-key study spot can do perfectly well. Get in a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If any pressing thoughts about exams or an upcoming assignment force their way into your head, simply acknowledge them then let them pass by.

Only engage with thoughts that bring about positive energy or simply try to make your mind go blank. After a few sessions of meditation, you’ll notice a difference in your stress levels (and you may even start eating "healthier.") Meditation is a great foundation to start building a self-care routine for yourself.

4. Move Your Body

You don’t have to pound away on your college gym’s treadmill every day in order to stay active. Simply practicing yoga in your dorm room, doing a few youtube exercises here and there or going on a walk around campus can help clear your head and get your blood pumping. 

Don’t feel pressured to engage in the same type of activity as it seems like everyone else is doing, you won’t be able to stick with a routine you don’t love. Move your body in ways that feel good for you in that moment. Sometimes moving to hit “next episode” on Netflix is the perfect amount of movement for that day.

5. Be Grateful

No matter how overwhelmed you may be with your first year of college, the greatest advice I've ever gotten is to be grateful. Appreciate how fortunate you are to be receiving an education. Try to go to bed thinking of all the positive parts of your day. Tomorrow is a new day! Life is short, make sure to self-care and smile.