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What is self-care and how to practice it

Coffee, notebook, and glasses

You might have heard the term self-care before but you might be unsure of what it means. Self-care activities are things you can do to help yourself achieve a better life balance. Achieving this balance can help you when times get stressful because your system is in a more optimal state before the high-stress time starts.

Here are four tips for how to practice self-care:

  1. Regular meals. Eating regularly helps fuel your body and brain to help you get through your day-to-day commitments and gives you focus. Make sure you get three nutritious meals a day and pack yourself healthy snacks when you aren’t at home. Read more in Nutrition Services’ article about the links between Nutrition and Stress.
  2. Exercise. Giving your body a break from sitting while you are studying is important. Exercise has been linked to stress reduction by several sources. Try to stay connected with the activities you enjoyed before coming to university or take the opportunity to try something new! The Athletics department offers many different opportunities on campus for you to get active.
  3. Sleep. Give your mind and body a time to rest each day. Studies have shown a correlation between getting good sleep and grades. Getting a regular seven to nine hours of sleep per day is an essential part of self-care. For more information about sleep health and tips for sleeping well, see our online Sleeping Well seminar.
  4. Deep breathing and meditation. Meditation and guided relaxation exercises are easy activities you can do to promote stress reduction and fit self-care into your daily routine. Recent studies have shown that just 10 minutes of meditation a day can lower anxiety. For guided meditations and relaxation exercises, see our online workshops and seminars page.

With all of the above practices, consistent practice is key, so that your body and mind are already in the practice of calming themselves down before you go into stressful situations. For a quick exercise, check out The big list of self-care and distraction activities (PDF).

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