Student Self Care: How to Unwind and Destress

Student Self Care: How to Unwind and Destress

A few years back, I found my middle school diary. One thing that struck me (other than the generally high level of melodrama in my life) was how stressed I was by schoolwork. In the 8th grade. By college, I definitely had a few breakdowns over the phone with my mom. I clearly needed some self care.

Let’s talk about how to take care of yourself as a student, really of any age. (Believe me, there are a ton of adult college students reading this!) I saw a graphic on Instagram lately by Deena Zandt, where she separates the concept of self care into categories. I found it really helpful and hope you do, too

When many of us think of self care (baths, massages, etc) we are actually thinking of self-soothing activities. These are useful in the short-term and can help you calm down. But more important student self care helps you change your life, so that you have less to stress about.

While I will definitely talk about self-soothing activities, the majority of these are actually self-care items to reduce stress. That means that they take a little while to set up, but will help you more in the long run. Ready to dive into student self care?

Student Self Care: How to Unwind and Destress

student self care

Prioritize Your Time

Have I mentioned lately that you need a planner? (Is my sarcasm level turned up high enough?) I’m a huge fan of student planners because they help you manage your time. That means you know when things are due, when you have to get to work, etc. Which means you can make smart decisions about how to use the rest of your time.

Take this from someone who worked full-time, attended grad school part-time, went to the gym, and still had (some) time for family and friends. I could not have done that without a very well-planned schedule.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”You can’t do everything. Decide which things you want to do well and focus on those.” quote=”You can’t do everything. Decide which things you want to do well and focus on those.”]

To accomplish everything you want to accomplish, though, you will have to pick and choose. There are times that I missed dinners with friends because I had to write a paper or grade. It wasn’t fun, but I knew that work and school were my priorities at that moment. It might mean that you have to drop an activity to focus on one of your priorities. But that priority is a priority for a reason!

Take Care of Your Mind & Body

You cannot do all the things you want to do if your body and brain aren’t in it to win it, too. That means that you need to attend to those needs as well.


Your body needs sleep so that you can function at your best. I know the lure of staying up late to finish an assignment or study, but I’ve learned that it’s not worth it. Scientists believe that your brain learns while you sleep. It goes through all the stuff you head that day and makes connections between new information. If you don’t sleep, that process doesn’t happen. So, sleep = learning.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Doctors recommend that teens get 9-10 hours of sleep a night.” quote=”Doctors recommend that teens get 9-10 hours of sleep a night.”]

Sleep also helps your mental health. Scientists also theorize that the brain processes emotions while you sleep, often getting rid of more negative emotions overnight. More sleep = fewer negative emotions.


I know, I know. It’s so hard to squeeze that extra time for exercise in. But your body needs to move. And physical exercise also improves your mental health and your sleep. Take the long route to class. Go for a quick walk, indoors or outside. (Just search for “walking workout” on Youtube for those indoor walks.) Skip the elevator and take the stairs instead.

Social Media Diet

Nothing seems to produce as much anxiety for many today than social media. Try to cut back on social media apps (oh, the horror!) or limit the amount of time you spend on social media. You won’t know that Sarah went to concert, but you also won’t worry about how you look in that selfie. It’s worth it to just take a break!

Self-Soothing Activities

self care
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Here are those activities that help in the short-term. There are times when you just need to decompress for a few minutes or hours. These self-soothing activities can come in many forms. Find something that brings you peace and helps you to relax. If you’re an introvert, you probably want time alone to recharge. Extroverts might want to find buddies for these activities. You do you.

Here are some possible activities to refresh yourself!

  • A hobby
  • Walk or hike outdoors
  • Baking 🙋🏽
  • Spa time
  • Meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Family time

Hopefully, this list got you thinking about ways to take better care of yourself this school year! 

What is your favorite method for student self care? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: Why Teens Need Way More Sleep, How to Avoid These Common Study Fails, How to Be Productive When You Just Don’t Want To, The Best Academic Advice I Ever Received

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