50 Self-Care Ideas For When The S#%T Hits the Fan

A big part of undergraduate study that no one really mentions, is maintaining mental health. A lot of changes. You’re suddenly an adult, but don’t yet really feel like one. Mental health to me is a bit like a seesaw. There is good mental health (which we need to maintain) and poor mental health with many variances in-between. The thing is: everyone has mental health. When we think of mental health we think of the poor examples, but no one ever tells us how to maintain the equilibrium so we don’t slide down the seesaw to the poor end of the scale.

Undergraduate studies are killer. We must adjust to a whole new way of learning. Finding things. The massive reading lists and the fact that we may have gone from being ‘A’ students to barely clinging in there. The fact we are suddenly poor, dirt poor and we know precisely how long between each pay check and/or Austudy instalment. We juggle crummy jobs in lowly positions, filled with emotional labour such as, “would you like to up-size?” said with a big smile whilst thinking, “Just kill me”.

And there’s the “why, why, why, why, why am I doing this to myself??? I have no idea what I want to do” factor.

Considering this, and the fact we’re celebrating 50 years at La Trobe here’s a list of 50 things to do when the s#%t hits the fan:

  1. Talk to someone. A friend, a teacher, or contact the La Trobe counselling service: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/students/wellbeing/counselling/contacts
  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself. C’s get degrees. Sure, it’s great to do well, but it’s probably better to be a happy person passing than a freaking-out mess excelling. Sometimes we must be kind to ourselves and let our standards for ourselves lower just a bit.
  3. Soak in a bath.
  4. Go for a walk.
  5. Go for a run.
  6. Walk around the beautiful campuses at La Trobe, walk through some of the gardens or check out the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary http://www.latrobe.edu.au/wildlife
  7. Keep in contact with your tutors and other academic staff. The earlier the better. Muscle up that courage!
  8. Say NO as a complete sentence to extra obligations when you are having self-care time.
  9. Watch funny cat videos on YouTube.
  10. Ditto funny dog videos on YouTube.
  11. Watch a movie… hello again 1980s! Michael J Fox I missed you!
  12. Count to ten. Deep – like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Suck in that air.
  13. Might sound silly – but get a planner and start figuring out how you are going to fit all this stuff in. Write a ‘to do’ list in terms of priorities.
  14. Eat well. If you are struggling to eat well speak to staff at La Trobe Student Union (they have a food bank).
  15. Drink water.
  16. Try to go to bed early occasionally.
  17. “Not my monkeys not my circus” — bin other people’s drama when you have your own stresses to navigate.
  18. Ask for help. Therapist/boss/professor/tutors/friends/family. Ask.
  19. Have a shower.
  20. Go do something totally different. Look through the National Gallery of Victoria (most parts bar main exhibits are free & as La Trobe are partnered with the NGV we get discounted rates).
  21. Sit in the sunshine. Hello vitamin D!!!
  22. Have a cup of tea.
  23. Turn up the stereo and do air drums to Phil Collins…..BE the gorilla from the Cadbury ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHtEyDrD4oA
  24. Cook something nutritious and eat it. Freeze remaining portions for when you feel like it.
  25. Bake.
  26. Go grocery shopping.
  27. Shred paper – destroying paperwork that you no longer need can be kind of cleansing.
  28. Check out these fabulous mindfulness resources from La Trobe http://www.latrobe.edu.au/students/wellbeing/counselling/self-help-resources/mindfulness-resources
  29. Go Op-shopping
  30. Go out for ice cream
  31. Ring Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  32. Plant something, work in a garden
  33. Dance!
  34. Juggle
  35. Contact your doctor
  36. Spend time with animals. Walk a dog. Pet a cat. Volunteer at a shelter.
  37. Check out the Clubs and Societies on campus https://latrobesu.org.au/clubs/
  38. Be mindful of your posture. Don’t sit slouched forever at your laptop. Set a timer on google for 30 or 45 minute intervals reminding you to get up and stretch and have a breather.
  39. Stressed out? Avoid social media trolls. Political posts and newsfeed items stay away until a non-stressful day, just not worth it!
  40. Check out Golden Retrievers on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/officialgoldenretriever/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED
  41. Five words for Google: adult swear word colouring book. Thank me later.
  42. Buy yourself or pick yourself a bunch of flowers.
  43. Apply for a scholarship or bursary. Satisfaction of doing something can be very rewarding! http://www.latrobe.edu.au/scholarships
  44. 5 minutes of original Pacman on Google.
  45. Think to yourself: this too shall pass. It is only temporary.
  46. When thinking the worst, ask yourself: what is the most likely case? And FOCUS on that. Try to be realistic instead of catastrophizing.
  47. YouTube the solar system. Watch videos of thousands of stars and planets and feel the awwww.
  48. Hug a bear, a friend, a cat, a BFF, a shirt, a pillow.
  49. Wear a onesie and have a back to back Star Wars marathon.
  50. Breathe, think and do some school work. Sometimes, it helps to just start putting pen to paper or start typing. You can always delete it later.

Thanks for reading!