Self-care needs to be added to this semester’s To-Do list for all Titans! Taking care of yourself needs to be a priority so you can be successful in the classroom, in relationships, and in life. We know that college students are BUSY with so many things – our hope is for you to remember to Take 5 every day. Little things can make a big difference in our mental health and overall wellness. Take 5 for You will highlight positive practices that you can incorporate into your busy days. Be sure to follow us on social media for more ideas on how to Take 5. Remember – you can Flourish, we can help.
- Gratitude: being thankful and appreciative for the good in life
- Mindfulness: being aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment – practicing awareness of these experiences without judgment.
- Self-Compassion: the practice of treating ourselves with kindness and care.
- Kindness: doing something for the benefit of another, without benefit to us.
- Social Connection: building and utilizing our support system and being a support for others.
- Forgiveness: choosing to let go of resentment or bitterness to allow yourself to find greater happiness and peace.
- Optimism: having hope or confidence regarding the future and believing that challenges and obstacles can be overcome.
Ways to Practice
Gratitude can be practiced out loud by sharing your appreciation with others or quietly reflected in a journal. Get into a habit of noticing the good in life every day – maybe when you wake up or maybe as part of winding down your day. A regular gratitude practice can improve mood, enhance your physical health and immune system, and strengthen relationships. Take 5 for You and practice gratitude by thinking about any of the following:
5 things I appreciate about myself
4 things that went well today
3 favorite memories
2 best things about being a Titan
1 exciting future plan
There are times that you may notice feeling like you’re on autopilot and not fully connected with what you’re doing or where you are. Research has shown that we tend to be the most unhappy when our minds are wandering in this way. Practicing mindfulness is a way to re-connect with yourself, your thoughts and feelings, and your surroundings. Mindfulness has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels, improve memory and concentration, and increase happiness. Take 5 for You and practice a grounding technique to reconnect with yourself:
5 slow, deep breaths
4 things you can see
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can feel
We can be really hard on ourselves! It’s important to remember that we are all in this together – we all have times of suffering and everyone deserves kindness and care. Self-compassion can look like validating your thoughts or feelings, acknowledging when things are painful, and asking yourself What do I need? It can also take the shape of setting healthy boundaries and saying no to something in order to best care for you. Take 5 for You and practice self-compassion today:
- Notice the thoughts you have about yourself
- How can you advocate for yourself?
- What can you say ‘no’ to?
- How can you say ‘yes’ to yourself?
- Talk to yourself like you would a friend
Has anyone in your life done something nice for you? How did that act of kindness make you feel? Imagine if we had the power to share this experience with others. Kindness can be defined as ‘Doing something for the benefit of another, without a direct benefit for ourselves’. Research shows that individuals who practice kindness experience higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness, have stronger immune systems and get sick less often, have stronger interpersonal relationships, experience lower rates of depression, anxiety and stress, and have longer lifespans. Take 5 for You and practice Kindness today:
- Hold the door for others
- Smile at someone you see today
- Be patient and give grace
- Offer to help someone
- Tell a friend you’re thinking of them
Connection can be defined as a sense of closeness and intimacy with the people who matter the most to us. While there are numerous ways to connect today, not all connections are created equal. Quality, not quantity, is what is most important to our happiness. Research shows that close social support leads to significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Socially connected individuals have substantially higher rates of happiness and well-being and are better equipped to bounce back from stress. Take 5 for You and practice Social Connection today:
- Connect with an old friend or family member
- Attend a campus event
- Say hi to someone new
- Join a student organization or intramural sport
- Consider a campus job or volunteer opportunity
Forgiveness is often viewed as something one does for others. However, the key aspect to forgiveness is remembering that it is for you, and you alone. Forgiveness means letting go of resentment or bitterness in order to allow yourself to find happiness and peace. It also means taking back the power we have given away by holding on to resentment and prioritizing our own healing and well-being. Practicing forgiveness is shown to lead to improved rates of happiness; lower stress, depression and anxiety; improved physical health; and stronger interpersonal relationships. Take 5 for You and practice Forgiveness today:
- Practice saying “I’m sorry”
- Consider someone you want to forgive
- Acknowledge hurt
- Extend forgiveness to yourself
- Embrace new understanding
Do you nervously glace ahead to the future with worry, believing that storm clouds are approaching? Or do you look forward to the future with excitement and anticipation? Optimism does not mean that life is without challenge or pain but can help us see things in a more realistic light. Optimism can be defined as having hope/confidence regarding the future and believing that challenges and obstacles can be overcome. Research shows that benefits of optimism include lower levels of depression and anxiety, a greater sense of happiness and life satisfaction, stronger interpersonal connection and stronger immune systems. Take 5 for You and practice Optimism today:
- Imagine your best possible self
- Find the good that’s happening
- Look at what you’ve already accomplished
- Expect things to work out for the best
- List your strengths