Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's health. It involves taking action to develop, protect, and improve mental and physical well-being. There is no right or wrong way to care for ourselves. Self-care is unique to each individual but there are some key areas to focus on for everyone.
You can use this information to talk about self-care and self-management about in your unit through in person conversations, emails, newsletters, and events.
Key self-care areas
Self-care activities are things people can do to help themselves achieve a better life balance. Achieving this balance can help when times get stressful because a person's system is in a more optimal state before the high-stress time starts.
Eat regular healthy 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. Learn more about Nutrition and Stress.
Incorporate some movement in your day
Giving your body a break from sitting while you are studying or working is important. This doesn't have to mean running a marathon or spending all your time at the gym. It can be as simple as taking a walk at lunch. Or doing some stretches every hour. Schedule this time into your day to make sure you do it.
Sleep well for success
Give your mind and body a time to rest each day. Getting a regular seven to nine hours of sleep per day is an essential part of self-care. Make sure to set yourself up for success by not studying or working in your bed, developing sleep rituals, limiting naps, and setting up your room for optimal sleep including lighting, noise, and comfort considerations. For more information about sleep health and tips for sleeping well, see our online Sleeping Well seminar.
Practice stress management
Deep breathing, stretching, yoga, guided imagery, and meditation are some ways to reduce the physical symptoms of stress and induce relaxation. There are lots of free apps available to help you with these practices, including Headspace, the Calm app, and Down Dog Yoga app.
Examining and being aware of your thoughts and feelings can help deal with emotional symptoms of stress and point your mind to more constructive ways of thinking.
For guided meditations and relaxation exercises, see our online workshops and seminars page.
Set aside time to connect with friends, family, or other communities that are important to you. Whether this is calling your parents to catch up, getting a quick coffee with a friend, volunteering, or engaging with your religious community; creating social connections help us feel engaged, valued, and connected to the world.
Do things that give you joy
Find whatever that things is that gives you joy and make sure you prioritize time to do it in your week. Whether it is sewing, painting figurines, playing a musical instrument, playing a board game with friends or family, or biking. Whatever that thing is, find time to do it consistently and often.
Take care of your spiritual health
Spirituality is an integral part of life for many individuals. What is less known is how spirituality can be a coping mechanism to manage stress and the strong positive impact it can have on one’s health and well-being. Spirituality is most often associated with religion or meditation. It can also mean connecting with what is meaningful to you in a way that enriches your spirit. For many, spirituality is about finding a higher purpose in life and helping humanity. Read the article on Spirituality and Your Health as a starting point.