Sara Laughed

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For years, I pushed myself to the absolute limit. My focus wasn’t on my wellness or happiness, but on what I needed to do to get ahead. It was how I felt good about myself. But it was also how, on a gray October day last year, I ended up crying my eyes out in the dining hall and deciding to take a semester off.

In that time away, I made time for me. I did what the things that fed and nourished my body and soul. I realized that if I had listened more to my own needs at school, I would have been happier, healthier, and more successful than I had been.

In that “click” moment, I saw that my focus had been wrong all along. Life isn’t just about the things you do. It’s also about the person you are. And that person needs love and care not just from her friends and family, but also from herself.

That’s why I’m so passionate about self-care. Self-care is exactly what it sounds like; taking care of yourself to make sure that you stay a happy, healthy, and balanced person. But for many of us, that's easier said than done. Here are seven ways I've learned to self-care.

Treat yo'self

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

I don't know about you, but for me, college is often a time of deprivation. I'm working, I'm studying, I'm waking up early – there's little time to indulge and relax. If this sounds like you, a great way to practice self-care is to indulge; or, as Tom and Donna say on Parks and Recreation, “Treat yo'self!” I'm not talking about fine leather goods; on a college student's budget, just a cookie or a cup of coffee from your favorite café will do.

Unplug for a few hours

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

I get about 30 emails a day at my college. While some of them need my immediate attention, most of them don't. Likewise, while social media can be a fun and fulfilling distraction, it can also be too much of a distraction, without contributing much to my life. For that reason, I like to spend some time every day “unplugged” – away from my phone, away from my laptop, just spending some time with friends or reading a book. If that sounds crazy to you, give it a try for just an hour. If it sounds totally normal, then you're doing something right!

Sleep enough

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

People thinking I'm joking when I say this, but I'm totally serious: sleep is my number-one priority. I think, focus, and live better when I'm well-rested. When I wake up too early or go to bed too late, I feel like I'm walking through jello, and everything is three times harder to do.

For that reason, I prioritize sleep. There is no need to stay up until 3 AM every night, only to wake up at 8 again for class. Your health is incredibly important, and it's not something to sacrifice for a grade or a great party. Staying up sometimes is fine, but make it a habit to get the right amount of sleep for you.

Spend time outside

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

There's something nature does that nothing else quite can. Whether you're in a slump or you're feeling great, spending time outside can help you clear your mind, focus on the positives, and return to your normal life feeling calmer and more focused (it does for me, anyway). Try to spend a little time outside everyday, connecting with nature or, if you're in the city, just connecting to the outside world. There is a universe outside of your campus, and it exists to be explored!

Be with loved ones

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

It's cliché, but there are few people or things that can make me feel as good, as quickly, as the people I love. Whether they be friends, family, or your significant other, spend some time with the people you care about. They may help you feel a little better and forget your worries for a little while. If they don't, try to branch out and find people who do make you feel good. You deserve to be surrounded by people who make you happy.

Spend some time by yourself

How to Practice Self-Care in College - Sara Laughed

Everyone is different, and I personally need both time with people and time alone in order to feel balanced. Spending time alone – reading a book, taking a long shower, or doing the things that make you feel like yourself – is a great way to practice self-care, too. Sometimes we need to shut out the world in order to regain some balance in our own lives. That's not selfish – that's an investment in yourself.

Find community

Community is a major part of my life. Family, friends, and my college gang are probably the major way I find happiness and laughter in my day-to-day. Online communities have also totally changed my world and the way I interact with others. The support and true friendship you can find online is amazing!

These are just some of the ways that I practice self-care during the college year.

How do you take care of yourself?


  1. Reply

    Jamie Hudspeth

    September 21, 2015

    So many good points but I think they are true for everyone – not just students! We all need to take the extra time to make sure we get all of these things! 🙂 Happy monday!

    • Reply


      September 21, 2015

      Thanks so much, Jamie! Have a great Monday, too!

  2. Reply


    September 21, 2015

    When I find that I am really stressed, it is usually because I need a walk outside or some more sleep. Great tips! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Audrey White

    September 23, 2015

    Everyone thinks I’m crazy for trying to get as much sleep as possible in college, but it’s my #1 priority! And it’s definitely possible to get enough sleep in college! Thanks for the great tips, I definitely can use these!

  4. Reply

    Shane Prather

    February 25, 2016

    I struggled with getting adequate sleep in college due to stress but so important for your health and wellbeing!

  5. Reply

    A Mix of Min

    February 25, 2016

    These are all great tips! Unplugging always makes me feel more at ease! Xoxo Mindy

  6. Reply


    February 25, 2016

    These are such good tips and believe me, they apply in college and after graduating!

  7. Reply

    Allison Ellzey

    February 25, 2016

    Being outside on a beautiful day can instantly improve my mood!

  8. Reply


    February 25, 2016

    Surrounding yourself with loved ones and a community are so important in college — and in life! Great tips!

    x Sarah

  9. Reply

    Fred Hernandez

    February 25, 2016

    I totally agree with the sleeping tip. When I was in college I felt like I was invincible pulling all nighters like I was getting paid to but now that I’m 26 I realize that sleep is so important! A lesson learned! // ▲ ▲

  10. Reply


    February 26, 2016

    Self care is SO important! My husband is constantly saying this to me. Sleep is my biggest area of concern. It’s so important and I definitely notice I feel so much better when I get a good 7 hours rather than 5!

    xo Ashley

  11. Reply

    Miss ALK

    February 26, 2016

    Sleep is so so important at college- you’re so right! I definitely have not gotten enough this week and I know I’m not feeling my best. Thank-you for sharing these important messages!

    xoxo A

  12. Reply

    Chronicling Home

    February 26, 2016

    All very important to a college student!!! Sleep and just taking time out is so essential to mental health!

  13. Reply

    Bella B @ xoxoBella

    February 26, 2016

    It is so important to take care of yourself first. Sleep is my biggest struggle. There are never enough hours in the day

  14. Reply

    A Peachy Sonder

    February 28, 2016

    What a great post! I wish I had given more thought to self-care when I was in college. I did not do well with that and struggled to get on the right track once I was out!

  15. Reply

    Lauren Ashley

    February 28, 2016

    I think self-care is so important. When you’re happy, you make other people happy and it’s just happiness all around. TREAT YO SELF!

    The Fashionista’s Diary

  16. Reply

    Tiffani Grosser

    February 29, 2016

    Self care is SO important! I just did an entire post about loving yourself, and I couldn’t agree more with all of the things you said. I get so consumed with social media sometimes, I forget to unplug and just enjoy whats going on! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Reply

    Hannah Madison

    February 29, 2016

    I think these tips can be applied at all stages of life! Great post! 🙂


    Hannah from HMS Jewels

  18. Reply

    Sara Kate Steadman

    February 29, 2016

    Having enough sleep is literally all it takes to make me the happiest person. Such a good post.

    Sara Kate Styling

  19. Reply


    March 1, 2016

    I totally agree with spending time by yourself! I am usually so drained when I spend an entire day with people. Great tips!

  20. Reply

    Pepper Dasnee

    March 1, 2016

    agree with all of these!

  21. Reply


    May 19, 2016

    Hi Sara! I’m a first-time visitor! Nice blog! I wish I’d had something like it to read in college! Is that bridge pic taken in University Parks, by chance? In Oxford?