10   +   2   =  

Crunch time is approaching. The assignments are piling up, tests and exams are looming in the future, and it’s an all-round busy season for basically every student at university. While passing assignments is important, it’s crucial we remember to take time for ourselves. It can be so easy to become swept up in being stressed and trying to balance work, relationships, exercising, uni and assignments, that we tend to forget ‘me time’ is something to be factored into that equation. With this in mind, here are a few self-care tips to help you de-stress at this busy point in the semester.

1. Move Your Body

Go for a walk around the block. Take your dog to the beach. Go to the gym. Run with a friend. Participate in a yoga class. The possibilities really are endless with this one. Exercise has been shown to improve energy levels and boost endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones. It’s a simple and easy way to destress, and you can easily tailor how you incorporate exercise into your life according to your schedule. Even ten minutes of getting your heart rate up going for a walk will calm you down!

2. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Seems easy, right? Yet somehow, it’s something we automatically discard when under the pump. Sleep loss, however subtle, can impact your mood, energy, mental ability and how you cope with stress. Incorporate a bedtime into your night routine and you will feel tremendous changes in yourself and your productivity. If this seems unreasonable with the workload you deal with, take a few nights a week where you get a good seven or eight hours of sleep. Free yourself of distractions like your phone, laptop, etc., and turn off the lights for some good shut-eye. Or even take a nap—I know a good half an hour nap works wonders for me.

3. Embrace Plant Power

Nurturing plants has major therapeutic benefits. House plants have been proven to increase concentration and productivity, as well as reduce stress levels and boost your mood. Add some green energy to your environment by investing in a plant friend. Who knows, you might even develop a green thumb.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say ‘No’

You’ve already got so much on your plate, yet you feel like you have to say yes to every outing or each time someone asks for help. Reclaim time for yourself and find the courage to say ‘no’ more often. You’ll find that a lot of stress is from having too much to do and too little time to do it all. Don’t spread yourself so thin.

5. Do Something Creative

Doodle, draw, start a puzzle, journal—embrace the creative side of your brain to relax and take a break. Doing something creative releases stress and bottled up feelings. Reflect on your day and what is troubling you. Practice gratitude journaling or write about what makes you happy.

Self-care doesn’t always have to be something extravagant or a typical Pinterest post of taking a bubble bath and lighting a candle (don’t get me wrong, they are definitely great ways to relax). There are easy things you can do to take care of yourself that have long-lasting effects. Remember to make sure your mental health is a priority in these coming weeks.