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What to do when bubble baths aren’t an option for your self-care routine

The transition into college can be challenging — new class material, new faces and a new routine are a lot to handle. Moving into a dorm room, however, can be even more challenging, which is why self-care is so important.

Maybe you’ve never shared a room before, or maybe just not with a stranger. Maybe you’ve never worn shoes in the shower. Maybe you’ve never spent more than a week without your parents around. Whatever may be causing it, you’re not alone in feeling anxious or lonely from adjusting to such a massive change in your life.

If you’re feeling like your whole life is being uprooted, here are a few self-care tips to keep yourself grounded within the small confines of your room.

1. Keep Your Space Clean

An important part of self-care is taking care of your surroundings. If your space is disorganized, so is your mind, and it can create major roadblocks for what you want to accomplish. In order to make your dorm room feel more comfortable, try to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, especially for your desk.

Sitting down in an organized space will help you focus on the task at hand, rather than the mess, even if it’s on a subconscious level. Also, studies have shown that a clean room can help decrease anxiety and improve the quality of your sleep.

2. Have a Mini Spa Night

Even though a long bath is out of the question, there’s no reason to abandon the smaller self-care elements of a spa night. Face masks and sheet masks don’t take up the precious storage space in your dorm, so keep a couple handy to use after a long night of studying.

Polishing your nails is also a great way to force yourself to be focused and in the present, so if you need a good distraction from the events of a long day, this is a good go-to. Also, deep conditioning your hair, exfoliating your skin or taking an extra long shower can help you relax as well.

3. Drink Lots of Water and Tea

It’s hard to remember to stay hydrated when you have a lot on your plate every day. Consider carrying around a reusable water bottle; this way, you always have water on you, and when you finish, you’re prompted to refill. For long nights of studying, keeping tea in your dorm can be beneficial — whether you need something to wake you up, like black tea, or calm you down, like chamomile.

4. FaceTime or Call Your Friends and Family Regularly

Starting off at school with no friends or family around can be unsettling. It’s common to feel lonely during your first semester, which is why setting up regular FaceTime or phone call dates with old friends and family can be encouraging and give you a confidence boost. If your friends are going to school too, chances are they’re probably feeling a lot of the same things you are, so don’t be afraid to open up.

5. Use Headphones to Listen to Music

Music can be a great way to either escape your daily routine or to feel what you need to feel — a critical part of self-care. Considering you’re sharing a space (and walls are pretty thin), I would advise against blasting your playlist from a speaker. Instead, plug your headphones into your phone and have a dance party or a good cry; whatever you need in the moment, music can help you out.

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to explore new music, Spotify and Apple Music both have a student discount.

6. Stay In and Binge a Show on Netflix

Your friends won’t be mad at you for skipping just one night out, especially if you invite them to spend the night in with you and watch movies or binge a new TV show. And it’s absolutely okay to ditch your friends for a night to stay in bed by yourself. You deserve a little me-time.

In contrast, if you tend to stay in most nights, try pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and attend a school dance or tag along with a friend to a party. If you’re not quite ready for a big event yet, start small with a movie showing or an ice cream social. Just putting yourself out there can open up some doors.

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