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What is self-care and why should you care?

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Published: 16 July 2021

Student smiling

We talk a lot at the University of Sunderland in London about the importance of looking after yourself during your studies.  

There are plenty of reasons you should think about self-care, from avoiding academic burnout to enjoying your experience.   

What is it?   

The definition can be very broad and include looking after your emotional, physical and mental state.  

You can use self-care to think about what you need and take some time out from being ‘productive’.   

It can have a major impact on anxiety, mood and your relationships, helping you feel more secure and confident in who you are.  

Self-care is essentially a set of actions aimed at working on all these feelings. They’re habits you can learn.   


One of the best things you can do for your mental state is to get out in the fresh air and start moving.   

The more time we spend online looking at screens, the less connected we can be to our emotions.   

Taking time away from all that will help you reset.   

You could listen to music or a podcast, go for a stroll with your friends or plan a route to a new coffee shop.   

For walking routes near Canary Wharf, check out the Transport for London’s website.  

Happy films  

Watching something that brings you joy is a great and healthy way to relax.   

An issue people raise a lot these days is the binging of large amounts of online content.  

Although streaming loads of TV is not that great for your wellbeing, allowing yourself two or three hours of a feel-good film is an ideal way to destress.  

For a little inspiration, check out this article from TimeOut for a huge list of movies to make you smile.  

Tidy up  

Yes, cleaning might sound more like a chore than a self-care activity, but there is a logic here.  

Firstly, it’s really difficult to feel calm in a chaotic space. When you have organised your surroundings, you’ll find your mind follows.  

Don’t make yourself clean everything up in one go, but take a little time out to tidy up one thing and watch how your mood changes.  

Probably the world’s most famous tidier is Marie Kondo. Check out her website for some tips.   

Cook something healthy  

Food is one of the most important things in any student’s life. If you are living off of low-nutrition, high sugar snacks you’re not going to feel great.   

Instead, take the time out to cook something delicious and full of vegetables.   

Other than making you healthier, the actual act of cooking can be really rewarding and is an important part of self-care.  

Our article, Healthy eating on a budget, is a great place to start. For loads of simple, wonderful tasting recipes check out BBC Good Food.   

We love hearing about the amazing and creative ways you look after yourself while you’re studying.  

Share your self-care tips with the University of Sunderland in London community on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon