You can pretty much always assume the same thing about what the average college student is feeling on any given day: stressed out. Either exams are coming up, an essay is due in the next few hours, or an academic adviser is putting on the pressure to answer existential questions about the future (big, scary life questions).

Unfortunately, one of the first things to get lost in the midst of all these stressors is self-care, which is an important part of our wellbeing that we tend to throw out the window as soon as our plate starts to get filled with other commitments. The worst part of it is that the more stressed we get, the less successful we tend to be, which can start a pretty vicious cycle.

Fortunately, if you’ve ever fantasized about taking a spa day, but, being a typical college student had neither the funds nor the time to do so, fear not! With a little planning and a touch of craftiness, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to transform your dorm into a DIY day spa that will leave you looking and feeling as fresh as you did when the semester had just started.

Set The Mood

cake, pizza, tea, beer, wine
Isabella Alessandrini

After you’ve decided on a day, evening, or even just an hour to dedicate completely to yourself, it’s time to give your room the spa treatment. For a super stress-free environment, make sure to clear any clutter from your surfaces and hide all textbooks and papers from view. Schoolwork should be out of sight and out of mind.

Next, find or make a playlist with relaxing mood music to have in the background. For a cozy atmosphere without getting a fire hazard fine, swap candles for fairy lights and maybe a Himalayan salt lamp for some calming vibes.

Finally, break out the fluffy robe and bunny slippers. To add some extra luxury, run a small face towel under hot water and place it on your face for a minute or two before applying any of the masks. Or, you can place it on the back of your neck to relieve any tension you may have stored in your upper back. You can also put a few drops of essential oils on it, such as lavender, to get the full aromatherapeutic experience.

Food for Your Face

cucumber, yogurt, vegetable, dairy, salad, cream, milk
Isabella Alessandrini

These next recipes are made entirely from ingredients swiped from the nearest dining hall, except for the cocoa powder (which should really be a dorm pantry staple anyway for making hot chocolate).

No mystery chemicals or animal testing here (except for a bit of roommate testing). Before slathering any of these on your face, as with all new products, test it out for a few minutes first on a small patch of skin to avoid any sort of unsavory reaction.

Cucumber Slices

Cucumber slices are renowned for their under-eye bag busting capabilities, especially when they’ve been chilled in a mini fridge for a few hours. These are easily found at the salad bar and they are a must. Plus, this will make your spa day feel super authentic, like the sleepover scene of a good chick flick. You can also place a few slices in a water pitcher for a detox drink to sip as you relax.

"Yogorgeous" Cocoa Mask for Sensitive Skin

milk, coffee, cappuccino, cream, espresso, chocolate, sweet, mocha
Aakanksha Joshi

The yogurt in this mask contains lactic acid to gently exfoliate skin, the honey works as a humectant to moisturize, and the cocoa powder contains flavonols which are known to improve blood circulation. Plus, the cocoa lends an extra decadent, happiness-inducing chocolate scent to this mask.

What you will need:

•1 tbsp plain yogurt

•1 tsp cocoa powder

•1 tsp honey

Mix the honey and cocoa powder into the yogurt so it reaches a smooth, even consistency. Spread a thick layer on your face and leave it for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off.

Strawberry Fields Mask

strawberry, berry, cake
Isabella Alessandrini

It may be hard to resist snacking on these strawberries before using them for this mask, but I promise, you will be doing your skin a favor. Strawberries are basically a dermatologist’s dream and contain plenty of vitamin C to fight off acne, alpha hydroxyl acids to lighten blemishes, and ellagic acid to heal damaged skin. Combined with the yogurt and honey, they make for an energizing, scrub-like mask that smells like a dessert.

What you will need:

•3-4 ripe strawberries

•1 tbsp plain yogurt

•1 tsp honey

Mash up the strawberries with a fork, then, mix them in to the yogurt before pouring in the honey. As you apply the mask, gently rub your face with small circular movements to exfoliate any dead skin cells with the strawberry seeds. Be careful to avoid getting it on your eyebrows, as strawberries have been known to have lightening effects (especially on your teeth).

To get the full effects of this mask, leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing (or just licking it off your face). Be prepared to be berry refreshed!

Warming Honey Facial

Raw honey has an absolute arsenal of beauty benefits in its repertoire, and is especially known for its moisturizing and antibacterial effects. For those with dry or oily skin, rejoice! Although the honey from the dining halls most likely isn’t exactly from the comb, it still definitely retains lots of its sweet– and sticky– benefits.

What you will need:

•1 tbsp honey

Put the honey into a small microwaveable bowl and heat it in the microwave until it’s comfortably warm, about 10-20 seconds. Then, after spreading it on your face, feel free to leave it on for 20-30 minutes to absorb its benefits and get baby soft skin.

Garlic the Zit Zapper

garlic, vegetable, condiment, relish, onion, pasture
Isabella Alessandrini

Fresh, raw garlic has long been utilized across the world in a smorgasbord of remedies ranging from helping aid in digestion to clearing colds. Recent studies have shown that it also contains various compounds such as allicin which, other than giving garlic its distinctive aroma, can have anti-oxidative effects on the body. The best part is that you don’t have to eat raw garlic to get rid of that pimple.

Just cut one clove in half, rub it on the site of the inflammation and be amazed by how hard it will be to find the next morning. Your school cafeteria likely does not have raw garlic cloves at its buffet–unless maybe you make friends with one of the chefs–but the nearest grocery store or farmer’s market definitely will.

Plus, a head of garlic is hardly a splurge compared to the cost of whatever drugstore acne treatment you would have spent the money on.

Turn "Me Time" into "We Time"

pizza, cake, spaghetti
Isabella Alessandrini

If you know some people who could also use some de-stressing, why not share the self-care? Make a night of it with your roommates, floor mates, or best mates for some beauty bonding time together.

Laughter is one of the best natural therapies there is and is definitely the easiest. You could put on that new show on Netflix you have all been too swamped to check out and order in dinner for some comfort food therapy, too.

Self-care is about much more than vanity, luxury, or even beauty. It’s in no way reserved only for those who can afford spa retreats, and it's an essential part of emotional health. If you take the time to love your body, your body will love you back.