It’s the little things that count. And when it comes to self-care, this saying couldn’t be any more true.
Despite what Instagram would have us believe, it’s not all about lavish trips to the day spa or lying on a beach in Queensland.
It can be as simple as catching up with a friend for coffee, getting enough sleep, staying on top of your household chores, exercising regularly and eating well, or taking a moment to enjoy the outdoors. It’s about nourishing your mental, physical and emotional health.
1. Be realistic with your study schedule
How do you know what’s realistic?
Scheduling realistic working patterns is more efficient than trying to cram a lot into a short period. La Trobe has a free online tool for all students that’ll help you map out your schedule.
Head to the Assessment Planner online and enter your assessment start date, due date and subject code. Click ‘Calculate’ and it’ll do the rest. Your study plan will be tailored to your individual subject, take into account how much time you have left and break up your assessment into smaller, manageable tasks.
“I schedule my study, but I also schedule free time for things like watching a movie. So when I do get free time I know what I want to do and don’t waste time because that’s what I planned to do.”Lyla, La Trobe Albury-Wodonga student
2. Take breaks
Schedule in a little ‘me time’ between study times. Create boundaries for your breaks to keep you on track. Make yourself a cup of tea, watch your favourite TV show, read a book, have a bath, have a nap! Almost nobody can study for hours on end – recharge your batteries with a study break and then get ready to go again.
3. Don’t sacrifice your social life
Catching up with friends can boost your mood and reduce the feeling of pressure. You don’t have to write off a whole day (or totally do if you want). Taking a study break and grabbing a coffee will do the trick, or going for a walk together, or if you don’t feel like heading out, calling up a friend for a chat and a laugh is a great way to lift the spirits.
If you’re feeling isolated or just need to speak with someone about how to get the balance right, chat to a La Trobe counsellor – it’s free for all students.
4. Keep up the work outs
Exercise doesn’t have to mean an intense hour long weights class. It can be as simple as going for a walk.
Exercise reduces stress, builds the immune system, releases endorphins and, ultimately, is a great way to improve our physical and mental health. If you’re exercise-adverse, think of a form of physical activity you’ll actually enjoy: online dance classes; hiking; going for a wander through the park, or walking the neighbour’s dog. Organise to go with a friend, which will help motivate you to actually rock up.
La Trobe Sport has plenty of options to help you get active with online classes available.
5. Prioritise sleep
Some may be able to get by on a few hours sleep, but in the end the recommendation is around eight. Sleep helps the brain function properly – without it, you may have trouble making decisions and solving problems. To get a better night sleep, it’ll help if you go easy on the caffeine and alcohol.
“I think one thing that’s really important that a lot of us students tend to forget is actually sleep. If you’re really fatigued, it will catch up with you. It’s so important to get all the sleep that you can.”Emily, Peer Learning Adviser
Keep prioritising your wellbeing and planning your time well, and you’ll crush it.