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Self Care Activities

What is Self-Care?

College can be really exciting, but it can also at times be stressful. Practicing self-care can help you manage the ups and downs of college life. Self-care refers to activities and practices that can help you to reduce your stress and enhance your overall well-being: essentially, proactively taking care of yourself. Self-care is essential in order to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.

Self-care is more than an occasional treat, but a way of living each day that incorporates practices and behaviors that help you feel refreshed, re-energized and rested. Self-care helps you deal with the daily stresses in your life—from academic pressures, to interpersonal relationships, to future plans and more. Everyone deals with stress differently, and everyone's preference for practicing self-care is different as well.

Why is Self-Care Important?

There are many reasons that self-care is important. Research shows that self-care helps to keep you healthy, helps you recharge and helps to improve your overall well-being.

How Do I Make Time for Self-Care?

When it feels like your to do list is a mile long, it's easy to feel like you don't have time to practice self-care. Oftentimes we view self-care activities as not being productive, but it's important to shift this way of thinking by broadening what we view as productive. Studies show that if we prioritize taking care of our mind and body, it will actually help us be more productive academically and professionally in the long run.

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How Can I Practice Self-Care?

There are lots of ways to practice self-care. What works for you may not work for someone else. The important thing is to make self-care a priority in your schedule. This could mean blocking off time to work out or spending some time unplugged from technology once in a while. Here are some ideas for self-care:


Sleep: Sleep is an important part of overall health and is closely linked to academic success. Information on how to get optimal sleep


Napping: Napping throughout the day can improve energy levels. Check out UT's Nap Map to identify places on campus that are great for taking naps.


Exercise: Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood and help you sleep better. More information about exercise.


Do something you love: Carve out time for your passions and hobbies, whether that's hiking, crafting, dancing, reading for fun, etc. Hobbies can provide you an outlet for managing stress and can increase happiness levels.


Hang out with friends and family: Research shows that spending time with loved ones is the number one determinant of happiness. Take time to connect with a friend or a family member.

self compassion

Practice self-compassion: Self-compassion is treating yourself like you would treat your best friend. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you care about; replace self-critical thoughts with compassionate thoughts. Learn more about how to be kind to yourself.


Practice mindfulness: Being in the present moment can help to reduce stress. Practice mindfulness by noticing your five senses; what do you see, hear, taste, feel and smell right now? Learn more about mindfulness by visiting the mindful UT web page. Mindful UT is a resource for mindfulness-related opportunities and programs.

practice graditute

Practice gratitude: One simple way to practice gratitude is by writing down 3 things you're grateful for every day. Remembering to find things, experiences and people in your life that you're grateful for can have powerful effects on your mood. Download our gratitude journal here to start a gratitude practice.

unplug from technology

Unplug from technology: Sometimes the best way to recharge is to take a break from technology. Research shows that downtime replenishes the brain's stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.

practice deep breathing

Practice deep breathing: Take five minutes to practice deep breathing. In just those few minutes you can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, thus lowering the physical effects of stress. guided breathing exercise. Try a guided breathing exercise.

practice journaling

Journaling: Journaling can have a lot of benefits. Writing can help you process your feelings, ignite creativity centers in the brain, and help you be in the present moment. Take a few minutes each day to journal. For more information about writing as a method of self-care.

practice meditation

Practice meditation: Taking a few minutes to clear your mind of various stressors can be a great way to practice self-care. Research shows that meditation can improve your focus, immunity, and overall mental well-being. See this seated meditation practice.

practice yoga

Practice yoga: Yoga has pronounced effects on your emotional well-being and can help lower anxiety and stress. UT Rec Sports also offers yoga classes for students.

spend time in nature

Spend time in nature: Research shows that spending time in nature can have remarkable benefits to human health. Visit mindful UT’s Nature Rx map to find nature spots on campus. Students can rent tents and other gear from UT RecSports. RecSports also offers several outdoor adventure trips for students.

Here are some tips to help prioritize self-care:


To explore practices for mindfulness, please stop by one of our MindBody Labs. We have several campus locations.

Considering exploring one of the groups or classes offered by CMHC to practice some of these skills with your fellow peers. Additionally, download the Thrive at UT app to gain some skills to enhance your well-being.

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