No Success Without Self-Care

It’s nearing the middle of the semester, which means midterms are upon us! Take note of these important self-care tips because they can make or break your success!

By: Kristin Butler

The To-Do List Trap

There’s something about me that makes me love seeing a long to-do list. I used to clutter my list with tasks I knew were pointless to put on post-its, just so I could see a long list that I could check off at the end of the day. After writing lengthy to-dos jumbled with short term and long term tasks, I realized this technique didn’t actually help my progress, it just stressed me out.

Solution: Make two to-do lists. And don’t just fill it all for the hell of it. The organization is as follows: The Today list, things you want to accomplish today, in order of importance, and the extended to do list, the important things you want to do by the end of a certain time, like next week. Don’t make the to-do list too long, or you won’t feel accomplished at the end of the day. Be realistic, what can you do in one day? What do you have time for? And, if you find yourself with a lot of free time during the day, look at your extended list and see if you could accomplish something a little extra- look how your optimizing your time! Making your to-do list is supposed to be in your favor, don’t set yourself up for failure the moment you wake up and make your list. Examples for post it notes:

To-Do List (Today)                                  To-Do List (Extended)

Finish essay by 3pm                               FaceTime mom this week

Pick up Package                                     Submit internship applications

Go to the gym with Erica                         Go to Walmart

To-Do list technique Influenced by Organize Today Tomorrow (a great read):

Set a School Curfew

Set a time at night that you aren’t allowed to do anymore school work. After a certain time, say 10:30pm or 11pm: Don’t look at your emails. Don’t do anymore work. Don’t even talk about how stressed you are. Plan your day so you can end at the time you want, and then wait until tomorrow to do anything regarding school. Schedule your time effectively and have a set curfew where you leave your work at your desk and don’t come back until the next day. When you work in small increments of time you can stay more focused than when you work for hours on end. This will help you be the most productive you can be. After the curfew, this is you time, and it leads into my next very important point.

Set Time Aside for Yourself

Whatever you are passionate about, make sure to pencil it into your busy schedule. It can be hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. If you need to go to the gym to feel accomplished, make sure to go- even if it’s just for twenty minutes. If you need to time to nap, watch Netflix, or spend time with friends to de-stress: you need to make sure you do it. Give yourself something just for you.

Don’t Be (Too) Hard on Yourself

If I’m not perfect, I beat myself up about it. It’s not irrational to want to be the best version of yourself, but when there are bumps in the road and you punish yourself for not accomplishing everything you’ve wanted it, it doesn’t help you progress. It sets you back. And, even if you don’t accomplish something to the degree you want to, that doesn’t mean it isn’t something you shouldn’t be proud of. Don’t ever compare your accomplishments with other people. This can be so difficult and everyone does it at one point, but don’t live your life to please others, or to beat others. If you aren’t happy with how you’re performing, tell yourself “I can do better, and I will.”

Then push yourself to do better, and think about all the positives.

Stay Self-Aware

Give yourself what you need when you need it. No one knows you better than you. If you’re having a bad day, you know how to turn it around. If you need to be alone, make sure you give yourself that time. Reflect inward often. Don’t depend on other people to make you happy or give you what you need. At the end of the day, you are your own best friend, and you have to fulfill what you need personally in able to have the best outcome for your personal and academic success.


Want more information or advice on self-care? Visit this Ted Talk playlist:



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