Student life can be really challenging. College students juggle multiple classes, extracurricular activities, and internships all while attempting to have a social life.
It can be particularly tough on first-year students who are testing out the collegiate experience away from home for the first time. Having that kind independence can be overwhelming to say the least.
That’s why it is essential to practice acts of self-care from the first day of class through finals week.
Yes, your first semester should be spent trying new things, meeting new people, and working (more like partying) hard. But beware: if you don’t carve out a little time to give yourself some quality care, you will burn out quickly.
Between the lack of sleep, increased stress levels, and having to share a communal bathroom, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get sick during your first semester. Commit to including self-care practices in your routine and you just might stave off that stomach bug everyone on your floor is fighting.
You may think there’s an issue related to your new dormitory living space. How can you enjoy alone time when you share a dorm room? How can you enjoy relaxing scents when open flames are banned on campus? How can you possibly tune out the weird noises coming from the room down the hall?
We’ve got you covered! All of these acts of self-care are college dorm room appropriate. Any products on this list are under $25 so that you won’t have to break your budget in order to indulge.
Note: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.
1. Change the smell of your dorm room
Enjoy a pleasant and long-lasting aroma to your living space by adding a Scentsy wax melt to a trendy warmer, like this Geo Mini Warmer. The wax is flame and smoke free, and there are so many different fragrances to choose from!
2. Have a spa moment on a regular basis
Dedicate a little time to pampering yourself with a spa night, morning, or hour. Take a longer shower than usual and then paint your nails, exfoliate your skin, or exchange massages with your roommate. Stash a pack of Korean face masks in your desk drawer and put one on after a long night of studying.
3. Keep your room clean
Cleaning and other chores may not seem like acts of self-care, but they truly are. The state of your living environment can affect your well-being. Your cluttered desk will give you grief when you’re scrounging around for that damn syllabus your professor gave to you months ago. Avoid the chaos by tidying up regularly. Wipe down counters, have some sort of organizational system for your papers and books, take out the trash, don’t let your laundry pile get too massive, get rid of stuff you really don’t need, and change your sheets more than once a semester. Your folks will be so proud when they visit during parent’s weekend. If you happen to live with a messy roommate, do what you can to keep your side and stuff clean and don’t be afraid to confront them about it if their mess starts to infringe on your well-being.
4. Journal, journal, journal
There’s a good chance you’ll be writing more papers than you ever have before during your first semester. I’m here to tell you that you should take some time to write for yourself too. No seriously, do it. Get a fresh journal and write down your experiences, dreams, fears, or whatever else you want to. Doodle away if that’s your thing. Journaling can be a great way to healthily express your feelings, preserve memories, and learn about yourself. Writing down your thoughts while you’re stressed out can help your clarify them and move forward with a new perspective. Try out this eco-friendly notebook by Lemome if none of the journals in your school’s bookstore excite you.
5. Stay in touch
Home is where the heart is, but it’s the people who make a home as loving as it is. Keep in contact with your family and pre-college friends by calling them on the phone, video-chatting, or even writing a letter as often as you’d like to. Reach out to them and share your struggles and celebratory moments. Of course it’s good to make new friends on campus, but hearing a familiar voice now and then will bring you immense comfort when you need it.
6. Make your new living space feel like home
Related to the above point, try bringing the comfort of home into your dorm room for self-care that will last all year long. Hang up photos featuring fun memories with your friends and family with twine and clothespins – just connect the twine to existing structures (bed frame, desk shelf, etc.) to avoid damaging the walls. Pack a favorite soft item from home, like a childhood blanket or stuffed animal, and snuggle with it if you’re feeling homesick. Cook a famous family recipe in your communal kitchen and share it with your new friends. Introducing elements of your childhood home into your new space will make acclimating to your new circumstances easier.
It is super easy to get dehydrated in college. Maybe you’re drinking coffee for the first time in your life or partying a little harder than you should. Not drinking enough water will get to you and make you feel crappy. Keep yourself hydrated by having a water bottle you can easily refill at the water fountains around campus. This water bottle by Simple Modern comes in a variety of colors and designs to fit your personal style, and it’s built to keep your beverage hot or cold for hours.
8. Soften up
Walking to and from class during the winter has the potential to really dry out your skin. Moisturize and soften your largest organ with a whipped body souffle by Scentsy. It’s thicker and creamier than most lotions and includes sunflower oil, so try it out if your standard body lotion isn’t cutting it. Current scents include Mandarin Grapefruit Amber and Pineapple Coconut Vanilla, so you’ll feel soft and smell lovely after applying.
9. Block it out
College dorm rooms are unpredictable places. Your neighbor could decide to throw an impromptu party at any minute and your roommate may have to keep the lights on to study just when you want to go to sleep. If you’re a sensitive sleeper like I am, invest in an eye mask and ear plugs for those trying times when you just want to catch some zzz’s in peace. You’ll thank me later.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great semester with the help of these self-care practices.
Header image features a photograph by Marco Verch