Self-care may be the best class you’ll take in college

Julie Lehman, campus counselor, talks to a student about self-care tips. Photo by Jon Voth

by Gabriella Audrey

It’s your first week of college—ordering books, making friends, choosing what outfit to wear the night before, and introducing yourself three times a day in each of your classes. The first week is always tough.  Everything is new. College students are no strangers to stress but you don’t have to stay in your “blue bubble.” Julie Lehman, our campus counselor, has some advice on how to stay calm when stress storm is coming in your way: 

1. Give it a week.

A lot of pressure comes from wanting to do everything quickly, from making friends to settling in. It is okay to take a deep breathe and give it a week when everything feels overwhelming.

“If one week is too long, maybe a day or two will do the trick. It can help to look back, you do not even know the people you know now,” Lehman said.

Take time for yourself.  

2. Make a playlist.

Find music that matches your mood. Make a playlist and click that play button. 

3. Stay in the moment.

You can’t  change anything that had happened an hour ago or something that will happen. Don’t ask yourself, “how am I making it through next semester?” You don’t have to worry about it! You just have to survive the next five minutes.

4. Connect.

Connect with God, trusted friends, and reach out to new people. Connect with a being, not just social media or Netflix.   

5. Mind your voice.

Ask yourselves this question: “Are you talking to yourself in the way you are talking to your friends?” Pay attention to the way you are talking to yourself. Be compassionate. It’s hard not to be self-critical, but once you start taking care of yourself, you will find that it is a natural thing to do. 

As actor Misha Collins once said, “Be kind to yourself, so you can be happy enough to be kind to the world.”

Lehman also weighed in on a few more student questions: 

Where should we go when we want to have quiet time on our buzzing campus? 

JL: “The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains is a really nice place to go. The Prayer Labyrinth, north of Keim Center where there is grassy area, and the prayer room at Hesston Mennonite Church are also good places to go when students want a quiet time.”

How can students be more comfortable about meeting new people on campus? 

JL: “It can be very hard to meet people all the time. What I can suggest is be patient. Remember that you have only been here for a week or two. Treat people the way you want to be treated.”

How can we be brave in new situations? 

JL: “Be careful on how you talk to yourself. It is hard being brave when you think negatively. Encourage yourself and ask questions such as, “what if this goes really well?” Everybody has experienced being new. Encourage yourselves to be brave.”

If you ever need someone to talk to, email julie.lehman@hesston.edu to make an appointment.  Find her office in Friesen Center (just look for a door full of inspiring quotes). Lehman says nothing is too big or too small to discuss—and the best thing is, she’s a really good secret keeper. (Everything remains confidential unless it involves potential harm to yourself or others.) Another option is the Wellness Resources blog on myHesston. Julie updates the blog weekly and it is complete with helpful guide. Spread the love and do not forget to be grateful.

“Gratitude is a great antidote to stress,” Lehman said. 

 

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