Taking Care of Yourself and Your Career

Category: Reflection & Self Care

With all of the demands on college students (classes, work, organizations, service projects, and more), It seems almost impossible to make time to take care of yourself physically and emotionally while trying to meet them all.  Who has time for all of that, let alone making time to plan for your future career? But isn’t that why you’re in college? What if you could take just a few minutes a day for yourself, and in doing so, get help with all of it: physical health, emotional well-being, AND academic/career success?

Practicing mindfulness – even in extremely short amounts – has been shown to have multiple positive benefits, including decreased stress, enhanced ability to deal with illness, reduced anxiety, to name just a few. What is mindfulness? Being present and paying attention in the moment. Stopping, slowing down, and looking inward. This might not seem like a big deal, but we rarely do it, and it’s worth the time. Because the results? An overall changing of your brain and body chemistry for the better. Specifically for college students, studies have shown several positive impacts, such as increased curiosity, higher levels of patience and self-acceptance, decreased problems with alcohol, and improved academic success (see https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/ for even more positive impacts, research studies, and more information about mindfulness in general!)

So what are some quick, easy ways for you to practice mindfulness in your day? A recent article on the Teach for America website has some great suggestions for college students. Here’s a brief summary of the suggestions – check out the original article linked above for more details & ideas on each one:

  1. Learn to Meditate
  2. Listen to (& Focus on) Music
  3. Remember to Breathe (Count your breaths)
  4. Visualize Your Best You (This is a great one for focusing on a positive future & career)
  5. Keep a (Gratitude) Journal

Even though it seems like we can’t fit one more thing in, taking just a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness in some way can truly help you be BETTER at all of the other activities in which you’re engaged. If you’re feeling less stressed as well as focusing more on your academics and activities as a college student, you’ll be better preparing yourself for a positive future and career.

The MU Student Health Center has some excellent Mindful Meditations & Relaxation Exercises available at NO COST, including breathing meditations, recordings of relaxing music/sounds, and visualization exercises, to help you with almost all of the above suggestions! Check them out and get in the habit of spending a few minutes daily incorporating one or more of these mindfulness activities into your routine. Which activity will YOU take time for to care for yourself and your career success TODAY?