There's Only One You
Use the tips & tools below for inspiration to step up your self-care.
Self-Care Is Essential (for Everyone & Everything)
Self-care is the ongoing care of yourself and your wellbeing, and it affects every part of your life. There's no "right" way to practice self-care, but whatever you do, remember what self-care is not: selfish, self-indulgent, silly, frivolous, a waste of time, or any of the other things our inner critic can tell us.
Practice Purposeful Self-Care
Build a foundation for your self-care around your priorities, how you want to feel, and your personal signs that you need a break.
Here are some easy ways to start:
Helpful self-care strategy tool: Pathways to Wellness Personal Wellness Plan
Make It Meaningful
Stay true to what's most essential to you. Here are some questions to get you started:
- what is non-negotiable to you?
- what helps you feel your best?
- what brings you the most meaning or purpose?
- what is the best possible outcome for this phase of your life?
Set a Self-Care Goal
Here are some ways to think about goals. How do you set your goals?
Put It On Paper
Studies show that writing down our goals and intentions sets us up for greater success.
Tips to make it work for you:
- keep your goals simple, concrete, and clear
- build systems to support your goals (think routines, pockets of time, reminders, processes, and baby steps)
- give yourself options
- put your list in plain sight
- celebrate your progress
Pathways to Self-Care
From self-soothing to getting practical, taking time for yourself and connecting with others, there are lots of ways to practice self-care. Choose the approach(es) that fit you best.
What would you like to explore?
Soothe Your Body & Mind
Self-soothing and grounding strategies help us release overthinking and feel safer during times of intense emotion. You can also use these skills in everyday life to feel clear and focused.
How it works:
- Under stress, our brain and body go into fight-flight-freeze mode, where you don't have access to the rational thoughts that can help with problem solving and coping.
- Grounding strategies activate your body's relaxation response, which feels better, gives you access to different thoughts, and helps you solve problems more effectively.
How to calm yourself in stressful situations:
During stressful times or intense emotion, engage your senses or give your mind something to do to feel calmer. This might include moving your body, creating something, feel/smell/taste/listen/look-ing at something, drawing a picture, visualizing a familiar place, and listing things that you feel certain about.
Everyday strategies for a calm body and mind:
Find small moments of the day to do something that feels calming, even if you're not stressed. It could be a favorite breakfast ritual, the playlist that puts you in a good mood, a good book at the end of the day, time laughing with friends, or simply taking time to do nothing but breathe or anything else that helps you feel present and let go of the stress of the day. Practicing before you're stressed can help you feel more resilient when times get tough.
Try one of these activities today:
Journaling & Expressive Writing
Journaling and expressive writing help us get our thoughts out of our heads and turn them into insights. This is especially helpful when we're overthinking or seeking clarity about what we think and how we feel.
How it Works:
What the science says:
- A few minutes writing about your thoughts, feelings, and goals or making a gratitude list is good for our wellbeing.
- Improved mood and anxiety, reduced stress, optimism, gratitude, improved cognitive skills, and even better health are all linked with journaling.
Journaling tips you can try today:
Give Yourself Alone Time
All of us can benefit from quality time alone, wherever we fall on the introvert-extravert spectrum. Here are just a few of the benefits of solitude:
- Clear your mind
- Boost your empathy and compassion
- Enhance creative
- Work more productively
- Increase life satisfaction
- Build independence and meaningful life skills
- Gain self-awareness
- Find inner validation
- Nurture your relationship with yourself
Alone Doesn't Need to Feel Lonely
Sometimes being alone can be uncomfortable. It's in our quietest times that we're alone wit our thoughts and feelings. This can be unfamiliar and downright scary when we're used to being busy and distracted.With practice and openness to getting to know your true self, solitude becomes more comfortable and you begin to experience the benefits of alone time.
4 healthy ways to be alone:
Be your own best host.
Realize we're all connected.
Sit with the things you normally distract yourself from experiencing.
Chase your dreams.
Things to do during your alone time:
Explore your community on campus and beyond. Find your favorite spots for studying, eating, or resting and spend some alone time there.
Whether it's solving an equation, writing a song, or building a computer, solitary time is a great way to get our creative wheels turning.
Solitary time is perfect for personal reflection. Pull our your journal, pop in the earbuds, and reflect on who you are, what you want, and where you want to go in life.
Spend time alone learning a new skill, exploring topics that interest you, and discovering something new about yourself or the world.
Build & Nurture Your Social Support System
Social support helps us feel connected, motivated, and resilient. When you have a social support network and healthy connections, you feel less alone through the ups and downs of life. Keep in mind that social support comes in many forms and in many places. To build and nurture your social support system, focus on the people and communities where you feel most comfortable and understood.
How it works:
- Social support benefits our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.
- Just a few healthy and supportive connections are all we need.
- Social media can help us feel connected when used in moderation.
- We benefit from giving and getting support.
Map out your support system:
- We get support in many ways.
- Writing down our supporters helps us see our connections better.
- If you feel isolated when you're down, a support system page can help you see who to call for help.
- If there's a gap in your support system, try to name 3 ways you could try to fill it. Remember that support can come from teachers, neighbors, clubs, work, online communities like Togetherall, or anywhere else we feel comfortable.
Build your network:
Practice Talking to People
If you feel uncomfortable or anxious about socializing, you're not alone. Many people struggle with this. Practice talking to people and accept the awkward moments as part of the process.
Here are some skills that can help:
Create Opportunities to Meet People
- Spend time in places people naturally gather
- Say yes to invitations
- Attend social events hosted by your program, job, or club
- Join a club or organization
- Look for opportunities to strike up a conversation
- Invite someone to do something
Get Closer to the People You Know
Not everyone will be your best friend, but you can still get closer to the people you know. Try these tips:
- Ask questions
- Practice active listening
- Share something about yourself
- Show your authentic self
- Bond over a new experience or shared interest
- Let others know what you appreciate about them
- Show support during good times and bad
Problem-solving is incredibly helpful to our wellbeing. Knowing how to identify problems and find workable solutions helps us learn, grow, and feel more capable.
Here's how it works:
Turn problems into solutions with IDEA:
- Identify: Name the problem
- Develop: Make a list of possible solutions and set a goal
- Execute: Take action on your goal
- Assess: Monitor your progress and the outcome of the action you took
Your mindset matters.
Are you focused on the problem or the solution? Are you finding meaning in the journey or only frustration? Do you see yourself as cabable of change or stuck where you are? Shifting to mindset that focuses on solutions, meaning, and growth can improve your overall outlook and help you persevere through challenges.
Mental Health Support On Demand
We believe no one should have to wait for mental health support. Try our on-demand tools that fit with your schedule.
Free wellness courses, online communities, tools for daily life, and more.
Pathways to Wellness
Set wellness goals that matter to you with a Personal Wellness Plan.
Togetherall Online Community
A safe, anonymous mental health community for mental health support and learning.