Self-Care in a Busy Schedule

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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What does self-care look like for you?


While partaking in a panel for my college, I was asked: “What’s one thing you wish you could tell yourself as a freshman?” I knew my answer immediately, to allow myself time for self-care. Before therapy, I hadn’t known how important it was to consistently incorporate time to relax and de-stress in my schedule.

Sometimes it might be hard to engage in self-care amidst life’s challenges and busyness. As a frequent list and calendar user, I block out specific times for self-care to help with this. What I do during this blocked time differs, but I usually do a mix of the following (as learned in therapy and my psychology courses), which I’d recommend trying out:

Check-in with yourself

Ask yourself questions like: How am I feeling today? Why might I be feeling this way? Am I hungry, tired, thirsty? Do I need time to do something fun today? This may seem odd, but I promise it’s important work as it allows space to be present with yourself. I find that I typically respond with comments like “I’m tired” which prompts me with clear next steps (such as going to bed earlier). If feelings of distress arise, something common in self-compassion therapy is speaking to yourself, as if you were speaking directly with a loved one.

Reach out to others

When busy with assignments and/or work, it may be hard to reach out to your support group. I’ve found that scheduling calls with friends and family helps ensure I stay connected. Sometimes discussing life in general can help clear one’s mind–and it’s certainly helped me as I begin to experience life changes (such as the transition after graduation).

Set aside time for breaks and rest

Sometimes stepping away from a task and revisiting it later can help ease feelings of anxiety and burnout. As learned in my cognition class, cognitive psychologists also say that breaks help with recall (what they call “the spacing effect”). Additionally, sleep helps with consolidation of material which relates to the process of long-term memory creation.

If you struggle knowing how to incorporate breaks into your work, I’ve heard the Pomodoro Technique is helpful. Additionally, I’ve found creating a personalized to-do list (noting deadlines and soft deadlines I give myself) helps me ensure I finish material on time, while also ensuring I budget enough resting time.

Check out the resources your school has to offer

Many schools have counseling services, fun extracurriculars, fitness classes, and more–which can be another way to partake in self-care related activities and connect with others. Your community may also have fun events that can help you de-stress.

What does self-care look like for you? How might you work to incorporate more self-care into your schedule? Comment below.


Shannon Kucaj

Shannon Kucaj is graduating from IUPUI with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing, with minors in Professional & Public Writing, Communication Studies, Classical Studies, and Psychology. She is an aspiring editor and writer and has experience working as one of two Managing Editors for her campus literary & art magazine and has interned within publishing. In her free time, she enjoys singing and baking.