Self Care for Students - Why it's so Important

slef-care-image.jpg“There is no substitute for hard work.” —Thomas Edison

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” —Stephen King

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  —Benjamin Franklin

“Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” —Proverb

How many different ways can the world tell us to get busy?

A look at the schedule of an average student doesn’t show much wasted time. In 2014, an article in Education Week calculated that high school students are assigned more than three hours of homework a day. That number doesn’t include extracurricular activities like band practice, sports, or the school newspaper (all of which figure well on college applications). It also doesn’t include standardized test preparation, writing college essays, or filling out college applications. It certainly doesn’t take into account family and household chores or personal responsibilities.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones in the family running tight schedules. Shadow Mom or Dad and see how much lounging around they do. Between work deadlines, home maintenance, errands, and “putting out fires” (dealing with emergencies that invariably pick the worst time to erupt), the adults of the family are as busy as the kids.

Somewhere in the past, somebody got the bright idea that a minute without a productive action is unacceptable. It is The Thing That Must Not Happen. That somebody promptly went off to spread the word to other somebodies, and now here we all are, multitasking away and feeling guilty if we stop to catch our breath. When a person simply refuses to acknowledge his or her human needs, we see this attitude taken to its most absurd. Recently an office worker at a local nonprofit agency refused to stop working and go to the hospital, even though she was experiencing what turned out to be a stroke. The reason? She wanted to finish making copies!

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Fortunately, the woman had a caring supervisor who forced her to get medical attention. But it shouldn’t take a crisis for us to start to take care of ourselves.

The truth is we all need a little down time. If we don’t choose to set aside time for ourselves, our bodies may just take over and do it for us. Self care for students is vital to overall well-being. 

Stress-related illnesses can range from the merely unpleasant (headaches and upset stomach) to chronic and dangerous (severe asthma attacks and high blood pressure). Many of these issues can be avoided or minimized by giving our minds and bodies what they need before they start clamoring for our attention.

Here are a few self-care tips:

  1. Make time for friends and those you enjoy spending time with. Plan activities that you genuinely look forward to doing.

  2. Don’t neglect your basic physical needs. Eat regular, healthy meals and get enough sleep, exercise, and water.

  3. Try to fit activities that you enjoy into your schedule, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. The goal is to find little pockets of time to make yourself happy!

  4. Don’t beat yourself up for taking a break. You may call it doing nothing; your body calls it recharging.

Finally, take the advice that flight attendants give at the start of every trip. Passengers are firmly told (among other things) that if oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, people should attach their own before helping anybody else. Why? Well, you won’t get very far fixing your seatmate’s mask if you run out of air halfway through. In other words, make yourself a priority. Then you will have the energy and stamina to go out there and accomplish all those goals!

Remember, when it comes to stress or worry about your standardized test scores, A+ Test Prep and Tutoring is here to help.  We work with you to determine which test—the SAT or the ACT—is better aligned with your strengths, and we match you with tutors who can coach you on content and testing strategies.

If you would like more information how we can help streamline the test prep process for your student, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to assist you. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.

Photo credit: Björn Söderqvist

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