A Self-Care Checklist for College Students

Not everyday is full, exciting, or packed with interaction that betters the soul and makes you happy. Not everyday will be your best day. Sometimes, social media can make you feel like it needs to be; but that’s just not realistic. During the week, most days consist of class, working out, doing homework, working, making food, and going to bed. I am a full time student, I have a job, and I value my health. For me, doing school, work, and trying to reach my personal goals, WHILE going out 2 nights a week, grabbing lunch with friends, and going to super fun events is just not feasible. I can’t fit it all in and if I tried to, my goals, mind, and sleep (even more than it already does) would suffer. As a junior in college with personal goals, work, school, and working towards my future goals are what I value the most at the moment. But sometimes, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to prioritize those things. As much as college is about having fun and “playing” hard, to me, it’s also about gaining experience, knowledge, and working hard to further my future.

The other night, I was sitting on the couch after a full day of classes and volleyball practice and thought to myself, “Today was fine. I didn’t have incredibly meaningful interactions or do anything memorable, but that’s fine, right? Should I call a friend to come over and hangout? Should I do something fun tonight?” It was 9:30 pm. I had homework and had to wake up early for a workout the next morning, however because my day was just fine, I felt guilty. Because my day was not great and didn’t involve anything “fun,” it wasn’t enough. I took a step back and asked myself, “if today was my last day, would I be okay with that?” I began to unpack this and came to the realization that even though everyday will not be my best day, even though I might not have any plans or as much social interaction as I’d like or an exciting thing happen to me: if I laughed, if I moved my body, if I did the little things that make me happy today, then it’s enough. If I was able to go through a list of little things that I could accomplish daily that make me happy and cross everything off, I would be okay if today was my last.

With that realization, my type-A, to-do list obsessed self made a check list. I told you I like lists. I’m calling this my “Self-Care Checklist.” If I ever find myself feeling lonely, guilty, like I’m losing sight of my values or goals, or just in a crap mood, I’ll turn to this list to remind myself: HEY!! These are the things that make you happy!!! Do these! You’ll feel better!!!! You have so much worth, don’t forget that!!!! That was me giving myself a self-love pep talk if you didn’t understand what was happening there.

Any how, if you can relate to any of the feelings I’ve described in this post, I highly encourage you to get in touch with the things that make you happy, create your own Self-Care Checklist, and try doing these things everyday. As college students with heavy workloads (on top of other obligations we get involved in), socializing and exciting events that make our days great are often put on the back burner. It sucks having so much to do and not being able to see friends or do fun things as much as we want. Working hard can be pretty lonely and sometimes, it’s not even enjoyable. But we should be grateful that we have the ability to get an education or have a job that gives us the opportunity to work hard in the first place.

Again, not everyday will be our best day. But we only live once and life is short, so even on the days where work comes before play, try and make everyday feel like it’s enough by reminding yourself of the little things that make you happy. I promise it will make working hard a little easier. If ya need any checklist inspo, here’s mine:

Did you laugh today? 

Did you move your body? 

Did you write?

Have you communicated with someone you love/loves you?

Did you create anything? (drawing a circle counts)

Did you go outside?

Have you disconnected today? (20 minutes without screens counts, we’re starting small here people)

Did you learn anything new?

PSA: I’m not saying these are the ONLY things that make me happy, the list is definitely longer; but these are the things that I know I can do daily and they are a good start. I plan to put these into practice and, once I have done so consistently, build on the list with more daily self care tasks.