Your No-Nonsense Guide to “Self Care”

fourth-year kevin schoenblum

photo by Kieren Holmquist

photo by Kieren Holmquist

I have beef with ‘self-care.’ Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for investing in your future self, but it seems like the youth of today have bastardized the term to justify quick fixes to non-complex issues. I’m no expert, but here's my big-brother take on the no-nonsense basics to ‘self-care.’

Hydrate

Cliché, I know. But staying hydrated can improve your health today and for years to come. Hydration isn’t just about water consumption (but you should be drinking plenty of glugs a day), it's also about your body's natural mineral reserves. Taking mineral supplements is nice, but actual food is better. (Pro-tip: Mixing a pinch of Himalayan salt into your water is a great way to replenish the mineral reserves your body uses throughout the day.) Also moisturize your skin daily, preferably in the morning, at night and after hot showers (pure SPF doesn’t count).

Diet & Exercise

You’ve heard all of this before, but for a good reason! 30 minutes of anaerobic exercise daily is all you need to help regulate cortisol, emotions, and sleep patterns. You should also reduce the amount of salt, sugar, and processed foods in your diet. If you’re sitting at a desk during the day, get up once an hour and move around. Bonus if you can eat 3 meals a day. 

Prioritize

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was that 5-page essay. It’s okay to take breaks to regulate stress, but binging Stranger Things in-between drafts isn’t the most sustainable solution. Prolonging the inevitable stress spike when it’s the night before a deadline and you haven’t done squat is, at its best, silly. Take a walk, make some tea, finish your assignment.

Hygiene

Yes, face masks ARE OKAY. No need to panic. But they don’t actually do much to alleviate stress pimples. Exfoliating and using a gentle facial cleanser daily is a good place to start your skincare journey. Keep your nails and teeth clean. Shower daily, but try to shampoo less often, it’s not good for your hair. However, condition as often as you can. 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner is a lie. Wash your legs.

Budget

Don’t let the trope of the broke college student fool you. Financial health is obtainable at any stage of your life with a little bit of effort. If you have the time, get a part-time job. Track your spending month to month and try to live frugally. Never go shopping hungry and always make a list. Meal prep. Find cheaper alternatives to social activities, I like cooking dinner with friends rather than going out to eat. Don’t let weekends pull you into spending money. 

But most importantly remember that nobody is perfect. I know I’m doing well if I’m achieving 75% of these at least 75% of the time. So if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. College is one of the busiest and most unpredictable times for most people. Some of these things might need to come before the other, but in due time you will master each of these in your own way!



Happy Monday