How to Make “Me Time” as a Student
Though there will always be just 24 hours in a day, today’s world seems to run at hyper-speed, and things are only getting faster. Career professionals feel like they never have time for fun. Mothers must give constant attention to their little ones. Teenagers have a calendar increasingly filled with extracurricular activities and studying. No matter who you are, you could probably benefit some adding a bit more “me time” to your life.
But college students are in an especially busy phase of life as they juggle a loaded class schedule, work, and endless hours in the library or at home studying. Graduate programs and specialized majors only add to the heavy load.
Students shouldn’t ignore the need for self-care, no matter how much they may have on their plate. Self-care will help any student improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being, and will also improve productivity when they get back to business. Here are some ideas for how to make time for yourself as a student.
The first step in finding time for yourself is to practice good time management skills. Once you have effectively accomplished the must-dos, you’ll feel more at ease taking time for yourself.
Though lists are a simple, age-old method, they really are a great way to get your tasks in order. So start by listing off everything that must be done. For now, leave off anything that is optional or would be nice to accomplish. Once you have a clear idea of what has to be checked off the list, organize it from most to least important. Other tips for tackling your to-do list include:
- Use a free task management system to create a schedule that delineates when you will do everything on your list.
- Be realistic about how long it will take you to do each list item.
- Be flexible with your schedule. If you miss something, find a way to fit it in elsewhere rather than scrapping it altogether.
- Exercise in between mentally taxing tasks to clear your head.
- Avoid procrastination by working in environments conducive to focusing.
- Review your schedule and find ways to improve your efficiency. Move things around if necessary.
Use Your Free Time Wisely
Once you’ve done everything that is absolutely necessary, you can tackle the optional items on your list. And once you’ve done those, it’s time to get some quality time for yourself. But a word of warning: use your free time wisely.
Using this time wisely doesn’t mean doing something responsible or productive necessarily, but rather something that will improve your overall well-being and won’t be something you regret later on. For example, if you have one hour of downtime during the day, would it be better to zone out in front of the TV or enjoy a walk in the sunshine?
There are good, better, and best choices for how to use your personal time as a student; however, those choices will look different for everyone. While one person may spend a lot of time vegging in front of the TV, another person might find it to be a real treat to spend an hour watching a show if they rarely allow themselves to do so.
Make choices that will re-energize your spirit and leave you feeling de-stressed. Some self-care options many students enjoy include:
- Going outside
- Spending a day off of screens, including phones, televisions, and laptops
- Writing in a journal
- Doing something creative
- Trying a new hobby or class
- Dancing with friends
- Spending time alone for introspection
- Calling home to connect with loved ones
- Doing something that scares you
- Starting a conversation with someone new
Beyond these self-care tips are the basic needs that should always be met. Sadly, many college students neglect these areas and quickly spiral into a mess of unhealthy stress. Before you start thinking about “me time” or even tackling your to-do list, be sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy, drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water, exercising, and keeping up on personal hygiene.
Taking these measures will do wonders for keeping your sanity and feeling like your best self during the student years.