What students are doing differently for self-care this semester


Erica Rinehart takes time for herself to enjoy things like walking, watching Netflix and relaxing, despite having a very outgoing personality. 

Mikaela Chambers

This new semester may have started off rough with COVID-19, online classes and the winter weather coming in. Doctors are advocating for self-care more than ever after seeing the change in mental health the past year. Iowa State students have found new changes in the way they practice self-care now that their daily lives have changed. 

Self-care is an important aspect of everyday life as it not only helps individuals to take time for themselves but it improves their mental state tremendously. The problem occurs when people begin to forget the benefits of self-care and they stop doing it. Things like reading a book, working out, meditating and just relaxing are the best ways to practice self-care.  

Some people needed to change their self-care habits so they keep doing them. Jessi Allinson, a junior in marketing, looked back at how she used to take care of herself.

“Before COVID, there were endless opportunities to implement self-care into my daily schedule,” Allinson said. “It was easy to find time at school with set class times, work and other activities to incorporate self-care into my daily routine.” 

With more certainty, Allinson was able to have more of a schedule and know exactly when her classes were, what she had going for the day and when she was able to find time for herself. Although she finds being able to fit self-care in her schedule easier now, days are not like they used to be.

Most students are finding their schedules changing each day, and although some are able to conform to this, others are not. For some, a form of self-care is making sure they take care of themselves during a certain time of the day. With classes being online and not as much of a routine, students find it harder to stick to their schedule which can be difficult on one’s mental health. 

“Having every meeting or event online is a different experience and does not give the ability for those in-person socializations,” said Erica Rinehart, a junior in communication studies.

For extroverted people like Rinehart, it can become difficult for them to have the interactions they usually look forward to. Rinehart is part of the sorority Delta Zeta. She joined the Panhellenic community to be able to socialize and meet new people. With new guidelines prohibiting her to do so, it has been hard. Reinhart’s usual way of self-care was having nights in with her friends and taking a break from school. With COVID-19, things have changed, and she has changed the way she practices self-care. 

“During COVID, I can still do things like go on walks or watch Netflix shows, but things I loved doing with friends like concerts or big group activities cannot happen like they used to,” Rinehart said. “My self-care has changed in the sense of group activities; however, I can still take time for myself when I need to.”  

Although daily lives have changed quickly, Rinehart continuously keeps a good outlook on life and finds new ways to take care of herself. Although she may not be able to have the usual “girls night,” she found happiness in going on walks and watching shows. This time has helped her realize new things about herself. 

When self-care comes to mind, most people think of it as a private doing, but for some, it is done in a social setting. Once COVID-19 began, people had to change their ways to make sure they were still doing things for themself. Whether this meant going to a restaurant, hanging out at a friend’s apartment or working out, individuals have had to change the way they take care of themselves. 

Zach Eaton, a junior in construction engineering, changed how he practices self-care. At first, he was one to go to the gym and found any way he could to hang out with friends. He even admits that his self-care has gone down ever since public settings began limiting guests. 

“I see a difference in my mood when I do not go to the gym,” Eaton said. “I also see a difference when I am not able to be around my friends.”  

When some peoples’ self-care routines change, they either decide not to put the time in for it or they see their moods beginning to change when they are not participating in things they love to do. For Eaton, his favorite form of self-care is working out. He has found himself not going to the gym as regularly as he used to, and he has noticed a change in how he feels. 

Eaton is not the only person who has admitted to seeing themself change during COVID-19. Some people always take care of themselves during a detrimental time, but others have had to restrict the way they do things. Eaton does say that he has begun to go back to normalcy now that things are beginning to open up.

Self-care is a necessity in everyone’s daily lives right now. As shown, if taking care of oneself is not done, it can affect one’s moods and mindset.