“Self-care is how you take your power back.”– Lalah Delia

You have probably already heard what self-care is. Some of you might now be practising some routines while others might not yet. In these uncertain times, and with the stresses of job searching, furloughing and exams, I decided to share with you 7 ways you can practice self-care to help ease the stress of finding your dream career.

Let’s get straight into the content!

1. Sleep!

cat sleeping under a duvet

Sleep is a massive component of your well being. It helps balance your body energy naturally and releasing the growth hormone, it provides the antidote to cortisol (the stress hormone), which means for you an improved mood and less stress. Also, I suggest you take naps every time you are in doubt. It prevents you from overthinking and it will result in increased creativity, alertness and productivity. But please note, it is very important to have a sleep schedule that you can follow every day because now it is even more tempting to go to bed late at night and wake up later as well, given the fact that you are staying at home and have no where to go. So, make sure you create a sleep pattern that suits you and honor it with regularity; it will pay off!

2. Re-fuel and Hydrate

bottle of water

These are another crucial basic habits that you must follow to meet your natural body needs. Make sure you eat healthy and drink lots of water. Now, healthy doesn’t have to mean a hassle. There are hundreds of resources now where you can learn quick, clean and delicious recipes. You can find inspiration on different nutrition Instagram accounts, Pinterest or even in books. For example, the BBC Good Food website offers a Top 10 list of basic student recipes, including pasta bakes, curries and soups. Eating freshly made food puts you in control of all the ingredients and therefore you control what your body is made of. Or, you may actually wish to experiment in the kitchen with various recipes as you may have more time now. I encourage you to make wise, conscious choices of healthy recipes no matter how sophisticated they are and how much you want to test your cooking skills.

3. Exercise

woman doing yoga

Stay active in whichever way you prefer! I know that the available choices now are somehow limited but you can still work out and feel great! Try watching and following some workout videos on YouTube, lay down a yoga mat in your room and have fun! You can choose from different types of work outs depending on your mood. It could be HIIT, pilates or a dance work out. You will notice that by simply watching how much you sleep, what you eat and drink and what physical activities you do, you will already feel empowered and much more resilient.

4. Laugh and Socialise

laptop open on a desk with a meeting with a number of people

As we’re highly social beings, relationships help to stimulate our brains and improve our emotional health. Having around people that inspire us, make us laugh and feel good about ourselves boosts our confidence and we become more flexible and optimistic, even if it is going to be through various online platforms. Reach out to your friends, family members or other people you haven’t spoken to in a while. You can invite them over an online coffee catch up and just share your thoughts over the phone/ computer while enjoying a nice drink. You can even video call with a friend and do a work out together.

5. Keep a schedule

week planner on a dek

Putting together a schedule for the week ahead to plan your activities and prioritising them will help you stay on track with your studies, work and personal life. Having this structure, you avoid getting overwhelmed in the long run and it keeps you going without disruptions.

6. Something to look forward to

Man waiting at an airport. He is watching an aeroplane out of the window.

It doesn’t have to be all about studies and grades. Plan something exciting in your life, either with your friends or family. It can be a trip or a concert. It is very important now to keep in mind the bigger picture and realise that soon we will all go back to the normal lifestyle and you will be able to travel again. Don’t lose the appetite for adventure and life. Planning some vacations will help you keep going and not get lost in the short term. Life is about balance in each aspect of your life!

7. Re-purpose

man doing up a suit in front of stairs (credit: Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash)

If you really get stuck and your motivation suddenly disappears. If you feel like you can’t focus now and everything seems to be falling apart, revisit your “Why?”. Why are you taking this course? Try visualising yourself in your dream job. Embody those feelings and see how good and blessed you are to have a goal and having the opportunity to work towards it and enjoy the process with all its learning experiences and circumstances that just are not in your control. Learn to accept the situation and take the best out of it.

Finally, the main message is to prioritise YOU! Choose at least one thing from the list above and take baby steps towards getting better at it.

With time, introduce new habits and you will be so proud of yourself!

For now all you can do is take care of yourself and your health: mental, emotional, physical and social, and stay safe. Stay home!

Cristina Marcu, Final Year BSc Finance and Investment Banking student