We hear a lot about the importance of practicing good “self-care” in our culture. Oftentimes, self-care is represented as having an indulgent spa day, being lavishly pampered by others.

Unfortunately, many of us do not have the time or resources to make this kind of self-care a reality. Incorporating more self-care into your life does not have to be costly, difficult, or time-consuming, though.

True self-care simply means caring for yourself in a way that creates more balance, harmony, and health in your life. It is a deliberate intention to attend to your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. And it’s important because it can help you manage the responsibilities of school, work, family, and other obligations.

Here are a few simple ways to include more self-care into your daily life:

  • Listen to your body. What is it telling you that it needs?
  • Get outside. Let nature work its magic on you.
  • Get moving. Choose a physical activity that you like to do. 
  • Keep a journal. Take the noise in your head and make sense of it on paper.
  • Make time to connect with friends who support you and make you laugh.
  • Use music to influence your mood. What tunes calm you? Energize you? Make you happy?
  • Practice taking deep, cleansing breaths throughout the day.
  • Take a moment to be grateful for the people and things that are meaningful to you.
  • Do nothing. Spend time just “being” rather than “doing.”

It’s important to know what self-care isn’t as well. Self-care never comes at the expense of others. It isn’t just “me time.” It isn’t rewarding yourself with something that isn’t good for you because you “deserve” it. It doesn’t make you feel bad or guilty later. 

Taking good care of yourself has a trickle-down effect on others, so make time for it! Choose one or two ideas and start them today. Find out what works best for you. Pay attention to how good self-care affects you physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Remember: Treat yourself well, don’t just treat yourself. And realize that you are worth this time and effort.

This Tips & Tricks column was written by Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ Student Success and Retention Office. Want to have a more successful college experience? Contact the office at Indianapolis-RetentionTeam@ivytech.edu.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.