With responsibilities seeming to pile up like a never ending wave, remembering to take care of yourself and practice healthy habits is more important than ever.
For students, many are in a complex and overwhelming environment (pandemic or not). Whether you’re online or in-person, the stress is real.
Although these realities of the present can seem anxiety inducing and just plain scary, your wellbeing should not be forgotten. Keeping yourself charged will allow you to put more positive and productive energy out into a world bigger than yourself. On top of that, it just feels good for YOU.
At BeSababa we believe that self-care should be a priority in your own life so that you can turn attention back to making the world a better place.
So, here are 5 “simple” steps to keeping yourself a little happier and a little healthier.
Note: Yes, “simple” in quotes because what’s simple to one person may not be that simple to another. This is always relative and should be treated as such. Do not blame yourself for not being able to fulfill these “simple” steps – just do what works for you. We won’t ever know. Have I said “simple” enough?
1. Practicing Gratitude
Gratitude, a word that can do wonders for anyone; even though it’s a basic concept, practicing it is easy to forget (or plain difficult sometimes).
Research done at UC Berkeley gives particular insight into the benefits of practicing gratitude.
In the study, three groups of participants (who were receiving mental health counseling) were separated and given instructions. One group was told to write letters of gratitude each week for three weeks, the second group was instructed to write about their deep thoughts regarding negative feelings, and the third group did not do any writing activity.
Maybe unsurprisingly, the brief practice of gratitude showed positive psychological results and better mental health 4 and 12 weeks after the writing activities were done.
This is just one of many studies that shows the tried and true results of practicing mindfulness on a consistent and continuous basis. To read more about the study, click here.
Something as easy as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day can do wonders.
You can also try taking 30 seconds before bed every night to think about what you’re grateful for. This is a good way to stay positive and motivated even when the stress piles up.
We’d be lying if we claimed that it was possible to stay happy and positive every minute of every day, because life is just not that easy. It’s full of hardships and moments where nothing seems right.
But just like not everything can be positive, not everything can be negative – you’ve gotta have a little bit of everything.
Finding a way to see the positive even when it’s not immediately present can be a productive way to stay on top of your mental health and keep good energy alive.
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2. Get Moving
Plain and easy: move.
Well… maybe not that easy, but hear us out.
Physical activity is a HUGE part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Why? Because it feels good. The likelihood that you spend most of your day sitting isn’t a very far fetched idea. Whether you’re working, in class, eating a meal, or relaxing after a long day, sitting takes up a surprisingly large portion of your time.
Getting your body moving feels good because it works muscles, joints, and parts of your body that are usually stagnant.
On top of that, research shows that sitting for more than 4 hours a day leads to increased insulin and blood pressure levels, disrupted blood sugar levels, and a number of other issues that can be easier to avoid with physical activity (we’re looking at you, Zoom)
That may not be so scary for college students, but it’s a slippery slope that can lead to a life of problems. Creating good habits today will definitely lighten the load of future problems.
On top of reducing risk for physical issues, exercise is also shown to have positive effects on the brain and mental health. It has been shown to release endorphins that improve mood and wellbeing. To read more about this, here is the study we referenced.
We’re not saying you have to start training for an ultra-marathon, but taking a thirty-minute walk around the block could serve anyone well.
Finding a physical activity that suits your needs, interests, and range of capabilities is possible for anyone who’s willing to do a little research and exploring.
3. Set Goals - Even If It’s Just Making Your Bed Everyday
Setting straightforward goals for yourself is an amazing and productive way to take care of yourself and make sure that your personal growth is not stagnant.
By setting goals, you are creating and manifesting expectations for yourself that give consistent and underlying drive to your daily routine and habits.
One way to set goals is by using the SMART method. By using this method you’ve created an easy and customizable template for achieving something in life.
By staying committed to small, attainable goals, you increase your self-confidence and your belief that you can fulfill the tasks you set out to accomplish. Even though that’s a small task, it is one thing done and another goal achieved. That little achievement will feel good and motivate you to conquer the larger tasks of the day.
You will be fueling your own fire everyday so that when it comes to the scarier and larger goals, they don’t seem all that bad. You’ll know what you have to do. And even if you don’t, you’ll be prepared to start chipping away because you know what consistency and commitment bring.
To read more about the SMART method, here is the article we’ve referenced to explain it. We also love the streaks app.
4. Find A Mantra
Sometimes the thoughts and words of others can do wonders for your mental state and headspace. Mantras that are fitting to the moment can be a good way to stay grounded, centered and focused.
If you’re starting something new (cough cough …. freshmen) and you’re having a difficult time settling in, a mantra that is memorable, relatable, and meaningful to a particular aspect of your life will always bring you back to a strong and motivated mental state.
By writing that mantra down and keeping it in your pocket, phone, or just committed to memory, you have a tangible concept and idea keeping you centered.
We believe in the power of words and what they can do for a person. Whether you like cheesy quotes or you’ve created your own, words can do wonders for anyone.
Personally, my mantra right now is:
“Start With Why”
Start With Why is a book that I’ve been reading that I fell in love with, it’s focused on businesses that start with Why they exist. The author (Simon Sinek) uses this philosophy to prove that asking yourself “why?” in any situation will help you feel more fulfilled in the long term. It also helps me filter out things that are worth doing and not worth doing.
It’s just one of many, though.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find some mantras, we’ve attached a list of some sites that are the most basic and quick resources we love.
5. Eat Clean
We WILL NOT be advocating for a particular diet. And we’ll try and keep this type of shit short. But, the importance of what you put in your body is non-negotiable and has real and lasting effects on physical and mental well being.
Our belief when it comes to diet is uncomplicated: food is fuel, so remember to always fuel your body with the best you can. Feed yourself to feel good and stay feeling good. Don’t forget to drink water.
Expecting there to be a diet that fits everyone is unrealistic and unfair. Trust yourself and what your body tells you. Do your best to create habits that make you feel good and allow you to function with respect to many other parts of your life, but don’t beat yourself up over it either. Most importantly, eat what’s accessible to you and what makes you feel the best.
Life is no easy task for anyone. It’s full of confusion, mystery, and challenges that are unavoidable for anyone. We’re here to share our two cents on what we think are attainable habits to make it easier to navigate the complexities of life.
BeSababa cares to share what we’re all about and stay focused on what can help you continue to improve your health and wellness.