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With back-to-school season in gear, it is important to remember to prioritize our mental health. We can do so by creating a plan to implement self-care on a daily (or weekly) basis to keep ourselves healthy and energized throughout the school year. Staying on top of self-care from the get-go can make dealing with stress easier as the school year progresses, and we see students getting more homework, projects, and tests to complete. How can we create a healthy self-care routine? What does self-care look like? Below are just a few easy ways to incorporate self-care into our daily or weekly schedules to help cope with stress as the school year progresses.

  1. Choose something enjoyable to do each day for at least 10-15 minutes. This can look like making time to talk to friends at the end of a long day, taking a shower while listening to our favorite music, reading a book, or watching our favorite show before bed. It can be whatever helps us unwind and is enjoyable that isn’t related to school. It can last longer than 10-15 minutes but ensuring 10-15 minutes of something enjoyable each day can help us get through long days and give us something to look forward to each evening.
  2. Get Unplugged. It is no secret that the majority of what we do in today’s world is connected to our phones, computers, or some type of technology. Because of this, it can be hard to feel connected with others and ourselves sometimes. Setting aside time for yourself without your phone or computer can be helpful in decreasing stress and feeling more relaxed. This can look like going for a mindfulness walk without being on our phone the whole time or listening to music. It can also look like grabbing coffee or dinner with a friend and connecting in person versus through our phones. By taking time away from our phones and other distractions, we can learn to be more mindful and, in the moment, helping us feel more at peace and relaxed.
  3. Break Things Up. Give yourself a break by breaking up daily tasks. By taking time in between tasks rather than grinding through 3 hours of writing a paper, we will feel more energized and better able to get through the task. Doing so can also give us more motivation by rewarding ourselves with positive reinforcement for getting through certain parts of a task. Have 3 homework assignments? Do the easiest assignments first and take a small 30min break in between each assignment to relax and reenergize. Save the most difficult task for last so you can put your energy into knowing it’s the last thing that needs to be done. Have a 10-page paper to write or 5 chores to do? Take a break after every few pages or every few tasks to do something enjoyable instead of exhausting yourself by doing it all at once.

In summary, it is important to take care of ourselves to cope with stress in a healthy way. After reading this article, are you giving yourself enough self-care? If you find that you are needing more assistance with managing self-care during the school year, consider reaching out to an accountability partner or give us a call at The Behavioral Wellness Group.

Katie Petrochic, M.Ed., LPC
Therapist, Adult Aftercare Director, and Adolescent IOP Co-Facilitator

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The Behavioral Wellness Group is a counseling center providing therapy and behavioral health services and assessment including chemical dependency/drug addiction treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and other therapies. We also provide mental health or psychological assessments, and psychological,educational and bariatric testing. Providing services to the following communities in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake County: Cleveland, Ashtabula, Beachwood, Chardon, Concord, Eastlake, Euclid, Fairport, Geneva, Grand River, Highland Heights, Kirtland, Leroy, Lyndhurst, Madison, Mayfield, Mayfield Heights, Painesville, Pepper Pike, Perry, Russell, Solon, South Euclid, Thompson, Wickliffe, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills, and Willowick, from our offices in Mentor, Ohio.