Self-Care and Mental Health

Practicing Self-Care,



  1. Identify what activities help you feel your best. Self-care for one person will mean something completely different for someone else. One person may need more alone time, for example, while another may nurture herself by spending more time out with friends. 

  2. Put it on your calendar - in ink!Take a close look at your calendar and carve out one or two hours for self-care and stick to it. This may take extra prep, but it's worth it. 

  3. Sneak in self-care where you can. If you don't have huge chunks of time, you can still fit in little moments of relaxation. Don't wait to add self-care to your life until your schedule frees up (you might be waiting a while to forever). Try taking just five minutes to close your eyes and take some deep breaths, or go for a quick 10-minute walk. These small steps can make a big difference. 

  4. Take care of yourself physically. This means getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and exercising. When you take care of yourself physically, you will reap the benefits academically, emotionally, psychologically and interpersonally.

  5. Know when to say no.Your health and well-being come first. If you're feeling stretched thin, prioritize your commitments and cut out what isn't fulfilling and truly important to you. 

  6. Check in with yourself regularly. Ask yourself these critical questions: "Am I working too much?" "Do I feel tapped out?" "What do I need to take away?" "What would I like to add?"

  7. Surround yourself with great people.Make sure that the people in your life are upbeat, positive, and know how to enjoy life! 

  8. Consider the quality of self-care. Go for quality, especially when quantity is lacking. For instance, rather than getting sucked into channel surfing for hours, watch only shows you've recorded that you truly enjoy. 

  9. Remember that self-care is non-negotiable. In order to live a healthy and rewarding life, self-care is a necessity. With this mindset, prioritizing self-care can become very natural and easy to do. 


Managing Stress,


  • A feeling of control and a healthy balance in your schedule is a necessary part of managing stress. Learning how to manage your responsibilities, accomplish your goals and still have time for rest and relaxation requires that you practice time management skills.

  • Try setting a specific goal for yourself that will improve your mood and help you reduce stress. Start by filling out a goal-setting worksheet.

  • Avoid procrastination. Putting off assignments or responsibilities until the last minute can create more mental and physical stress than staying on top of them.  Procrastination can affect many aspects of daily life, such as the quality of your work, the quality of your sleep, and your mood.   To learn more about procrastination, click here.

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you burn off the energy generated by stress.

  • Practice good sleep habits to ensure that you are well-rested. Sleep deprivation can cause many physical and mental problems and can increase stress.

  • Try mindfulness meditation. Attend this workshop to learn a variety of ways to work more skillfully with the stress and anxiety related to college life.

  • Limit (or eliminate) the use of stimulants like caffeine, which can elevate the stress response in your body.

  • Pace yourself throughout the day, taking regular breaks from work or other structured activities. During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.

  • Start a journal. Many people find journaling to be helpful for managing stress, understanding
    emotions, and making decisions and changes in their lives.

  • Realize that we all have limits. Learn to work within your limits and set realistic expectations for yourself and others.

  • Plan leisure activities to break up your schedule. 

  • Recognize the role your own thoughts can play in causing you distress. Challenge beliefs you may hold about yourself and your situation that may not be accurate. For example, do you continuously fall short of what you think you “should” accomplish? When our minds continuously feed us messages about what we “should” achieve, “ought” to be, or “mustn't” do, we are setting ourselves up to fall short of goals that may be unrealistic, and to experience stress along the way. Learn techniques for replacing unrealistic thoughts with more realistic ones.

  • Find humor in your life. Laughter can be a great tension-reducer.

  • Seek the support of friends and family when you need to “vent” about situations that bring on stressful feelings. But make sure that you don’t focus exclusively on negative experiences; try to also think of at least three things that are going well for you, and share those experiences.

  • Try setting a specific goal for yourself that will improve your mood and help you reduce stress. Start by filling out a goal-setting worksheet then help yourself stay on track by using your weekly motivator worksheet.




  • Take a walk outside

  • Write a love letter to yourself

  • Write about something you are grateful for in your life (it can be a person, place, or thing)

  • Create a happy playlist and a coping playlist

  • Treat yourself to a favorite snack

  • Watch your favorite movie

  • Forgive someone

  • Forgive yourself

  • Say thank you to someone who has helped you recently

  • Create a DIY self-care kit of things that make you feel better

  • Take your medication on time

  • Take a new fitness class at the gym (yoga, Zumba, etc.)

  • Plan a lunch date with someone you haven’t seen in a while

  • Pamper yourself with an at-home spa day

  • Take a day off from social media and the Internet

  • Reach out to your support system

  • Cuddle with your pets or a friend’s pet

  • Take the time to stop, stand and stretch for 2 minutes

  • Wake up a little earlier and enjoy your a morning cup of tea or coffee before the morning rush

  • Take a hot shower or bath

  • Take yourself out to dinner

  • Volunteer

  • Start that one project you’ve been contemplating for a while

  • Sit with your emotions, and allow yourself to feel and accept them. It’s okay to laugh, cry, just feel whatever you’re feeling with no apologies!

  • Cook a favorite meal from scratch

  • Take a 5-minute break in your day

  • Compliment someone (and yourself, too!)

  • Give yourself permission to say no

  • De-clutter your mind: write down 5 things that are bothering you, and then literally throw them away

  • Donate 3 pieces of clothing that you no longer wear

  • Take the time to find 5 beautiful things during your daily routine

  • Take a mental health day from school, work, etc.

  • Take a nap

  • Reach out to the Lifeline    

Suicide Prevention

To find support if you or a friend is affected by thoughts of suicide, visit

If you’re in crisis, you can call the Lifeline at any time to speak to someone. For confidential support available 24/7 for everyone in the United States, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can also visit or to chat online. You can download a free app at

Other helpful links:


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.