As a post-secondary student, you are in a season of life that is exceptionally demanding. You have many demands and responsibilities. Being a student most often comes with financial demands, so even eating healthy can be challenging sometimes. Plenty of students live on ramen noodles and coffee.
This season in which you’re attending post-secondary is likely not all that short. While it may be doable to get through a couple months letting your self-care practices go, doing that for months or years on end will take a real toll on your well-being.
Plenty of research has been done here in Canada about the declining mental health of post-secondary students. However, you can equip yourself to deal with the stressors of this season of life if you put some work into protecting your mental and physical health.
Because this is a demanding time of life for you, think about what non-negotiable things you need to do to stay well. Consider creating some simple practices. Can you think of some practices that would have the biggest positive impact on your overall mental health and well-being?
Try not to write something down because you think it’s the “right” thing to do. The truth is, you will only integrate a practice into your life if you think it’s important to you. You must be intrinsically motivated.
|My Body: What do I need to do on a regular basis to take care of my physical health?|
(Example: I prefer 8 hours of sleep per night. I can get by on 6 hours, but only twice a week. I will take a bath or a shower before bed to relax. I will turn off screens a ½ hour before bed and read a book.)
(Example: I will get up at 7:00 am on weekdays, and 9:00 am on weekends. I will meditate for 15 minutes. I will have coffee and read a book for 15 minutes before I get ready. I will pack a healthy lunch before I start school.)
(Example: I will eat an egg and toast, a smoothie, or oatmeal for breakfast every day. I will create a meal plan for the week and shop for groceries on Sunday. I will find cost effective ways to get protein and vegetables. I will bring water with me wherever I go.
(Example: I will stretch every morning before I get ready. I will go for a walk with a friend every other afternoon. I will go to the campus gym twice a week for an hour.)
(Example: I will go out with friends Friday evenings, and otherwise I will limit what I drink.)
(Example: I will always have an assortment of teas. I will curl up in my blanket once a day and read or watch a show for a ½ hour. I will reward myself with a bubble bath when I finish an assignment. I will listen to my favourite album while I’m studying.)