Why self-care should be at the top of your uni priority list

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As uni students, we are constantly told how important it is to take care of our physical and mental health while studying. However, when you’re juggling uni assignments, social responsibilities and trying to earn money in between, finding the time to catch up on your favourite TV shows can seem impossible, let alone actually looking after yourself.

While you may be scheduling time to do fun things that aren’t related to uni or work, self-care is a whole different ballgame. From keeping you confident and motivated to helping you kick uni and life goals, here’s why practicing self-care should be at the top of your priority list this semester.

Looking after yourself helps you avoid burning out mid-semester

The pressure of being overloaded with work and having five million things to do is so much harder to overcome when you’re feeling tired, stressed and unmotivated. It can easily snowball until you admit defeat and stop putting in effort at uni or in other areas of your life.

Letting yourself do things you genuinely enjoy, like reading books that weren’t prescribed to you in class, can help prevent you from overworking yourself and letting life get too chaotic. The more you push yourself, the more counterproductive it will be, and the harder it becomes to achieve your best. So no matter how busy you are, it’s important to schedule you-time for the stuff that makes you happy.

“Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy!” – Elle Woods

From the ultimate lawyer/role model/sass queen herself, you’re less likely to kill your husband or, in this case, your boss or uni lecturer, when you’re happy and feeling good within yourself. Exercise is one of the easiest ways to do this, as running around the block will not only give you a chemical mood booster, but you’ll also have more energy to tick off your long to-do list throughout the day.

As much as you may dread doing it, exercise is a tried and tested method of clearing your mind, gaining confidence and giving your brain some downtime, which is an important part of truly taking care of yourself. And, as an added bonus, all those endorphins will make it a whole lot harder to have a shit day.

You’ll find it easier to stay focused and work more efficiently

Trying to focus and do work when your body and mind aren’t in a good place is time-consuming and unproductive, and when you’re feeling crappy it’s much easier to procrastinate and avoid the work you don’t really feel like doing.

Instead of staying up all night snacking and staring at a computer in exam prep mode (which we all know only makes exams harder), make sure you’re getting in enough hours of sleep every night and that you’re putting good food into your body. These small acts of self-care will do wonders for your willpower, concentration and energy levels, which will give you more time to enjoy yourself later on.

It helps you remember what’s important

In the grand scheme of things, maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself, your friends and your family is far more important than the 2000 word essay you haven’t written yet, or beating yourself up over ditching uni because you needed a mental health day.

Taking the time to do something that relaxes you or helps you recharge gives you the chance to switch off, de-stress, and be reminded of what really matters to you. Whether it’s getting out in nature or taking long-ass bubble baths, sometimes it takes a little self-care to get some life perspective.

Penny Robinson

Penny is a Philosophy and Media and Communications student at the University of Melbourne. She enjoys travelling, snacking, and not going to the gym.