How to include Self-Care this School Year

by Tatiana Bicknell, LMSW | Aug 2023

Self-care is truly the best care! Whether it’s for elementary-aged kids, middle and high school teens, or college students, all types of students need time for themselves. Sometimes self-care may feel like needing to spend money, but the little things can also make a difference. Taking care of ourselves daily is so important for mental, physical, and emotional well-being and is appropriate for all ages. School can be exhausting and overwhelming for some. Trying to manage a balance between schoolwork, social life, sports, and work is a lot to handle which will lead to high levels of stress. Giving ourselves even just 15-20 minutes out of the day to relax and do something for ourselves can help reset our mind and energy. Need ideas for self-care?  Check out some ideas below:

Ideas for children:

  • Color or paint
  • Play with toys, pets, siblings or parents
  • Nap
  • Have a good snack
  • Watch an episode of their favorite show
  • Bubble bath

Ideas for teens:

  • FaceTime or call a friend
  • Journal
  • Listen to music
  • Exercise by riding a bike, going to the gym, or taking a walk in the neighborhood
  • Do a skincare routine
  • Follow a DIY tutorial on YouTube
  • Practice self-compassion and positive self-talk

Ideas for Adults:

  • Make a delicious meal or bake some goodies
  • Exercise by doing yoga, going on a hike, or going on a walk by the beach
  • Meditate on your own or follow a guided meditation
  • Listen to a podcast or audiobook, read a book or watch an episode of your favorite TV show
  • Have a cup of coffee, tea or beverage of your choice outside or in a space inside
  • Take a bath and light a candle or diffuse essential oils

How to Add Self-Care In

Adding a self-care routine into our daily schedule is so important for our overall well-being.  Other self-care ideas for all ages can be to spend time with pets, spend time off social media, and spend time outside. For those with a very busy schedule, it may be helpful setting alarms on your phone or blocking off time in your schedule that is solely for self-care (ex. Setting 4pm-4:30pm as self-care block). Do what works for you!  Parents with younger children may need to take charge of this and ensure that there is time after school for the child to unwind.  Parents can also use time blocks after school to give their child structure for snacks, homework, sports and self-care.

If Self-Care Doesn’t Feel Possible

At times, self-care can feel impossible if we are super busy or just not in a good head space. Starting with meeting basic needs, such as showering/personal hygiene, eating meals, staying hydrated and getting good sleep are great starts. Seeking therapy for yourself or your child is also another great option if mental health is the barrier for self-care. Your therapist can work with you on creating achievable self-care goals and supporting you through the process (being in therapy is considered self-care as well!). Be patient with yourself and give praise when you can do something for yourself. And that is the key: doing something for yourself. Not focusing on others, this time block is for you.

By Tatiana Bicknell, LMSW