Finding the space and time to focus on yourself may be challenging right now. With so many things changing, you can take small steps to create a consistent wellness practice. Pursuing wellness looks different for everyone and encompasses many activities and practices. Investing in yourself is an important act of self-care, so use the activities and virtual events on this page to cultivate skills and tools for improving your overall wellness.
Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
At times it can be challenging to find things to be grateful for, whether big or small, and be grounded in the present moment. Incorporating gratitude and mindfulness into your routine are two ways to improve your overall well-being.
- Gratitude Journal: Download the Counseling and Mental Health Center's gratitude journal and take a few minutes right before you go to sleep to write gratefully and reflect.
- Write a letter: Express gratitude to someone in your life by sending them a letter. In these times of social distancing, it can be a great way to connect.
- Take pictures: Challenge yourself and some friends to take pictures of three things daily that you are grateful for and send them to each other.
- MindBody Lab Relaxation Tracks: Explore what mindfulness exercises work best for you from the Counseling and Mental Health Center's mindfulness and relaxation tracks.
- Guided Self-Compassion Meditations: Try these guided meditations and learn more about using self-compassion and treating yourself like you would treat a good friend.
- Black Lives Matter Meditation for Healing Racial Trauma: Listen to this meditation created by Dr. Candice Nicol with the sole purpose of healing racial trauma.
- CMHC Drop-in Meditation Group: Join the Counseling and Mental Health Center drop-in meditation groups on Zoom Tuesdays 11:45 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
- Thrive at UT: Download this app, compatible for iOS and Android, to help you manage the ups and downs of college life while practicing mindfulness and gratitude.
Remember to be kind to yourself and listen to what your body needs. Allow yourself grace if something socially or academically doesn't go as planned. Be flexible with yourself and others, knowing everyone is at a different place emotionally, physically and mentally.
- Self-care is an everyday activity: Move, nourish, rest, connect, disconnect and repeat!
- Acknowledge your progress and celebrate wins (big or small!): This could look like turning in an assignment, attending class, eating lunch or taking a nap.
- Stay flexible and open: Creating a schedule and goals can be helpful but it's okay to adapt these plans as needed.
- Take breaks: Notice you've been watching TV or studying for a while? Take a break and do something you enjoy! Stretch and nourish yourself in whatever way is needed in the moment.
Boost Your Energy with Movement
Moving our bodies can boost our energy and lighten our mood. Movement looks different for each of us, so be mindful of what your body needs to feel energized.
- Stay Home, Stay Active: Try a UT RecSports virtual class with a TeXercise instructor, home workout plans designed by personal trainers that require no equipment, and more, so that you can keep moving no matter where you are.
- Check out these five tips from UT RecSports on staying motivated and moving while social distancing.
Spend Time in Nature
As people, we often find the natural environment—trees, water, an abundance of space—to be restorative and help lower levels of stress and tension. Making conscious time to spend time in nature is important.
- Move your body outside: Walking, rolling, biking, running or other movement might be possible right outside your door. If you're in the Austin area, explore one of the city-operated parks.
- Get inspired: UT RecSports has compiled a Guide to Finding Your Next Adventure at Home that lists a number of ways to be inspired by nature if you're not able to spend time outdoors.
- Build it into your routine: If you're able, getting outside even for a few minutes a day is helpful. Check out UT RecSports' A Longhorn's Guide to Getting Outside for tips.
- Bring nature to you: Sit next to a window or add some natural elements to your space, like plants or a picture of a nature scene.
- Relax outdoors: Set out a blanket or hammock outside and have a few moments of doing nothing. "Doing nothing" might have a bad reputation, but our brains need down time to process information.
- Go for a hike: Hiking is just walking but in a natural environment. Check out a list of hikes near you in the AllTrails app or talk with people you know who hike. Bring a small backpack with essentials such as a snack, water and sunscreen.
Nourish Your Body
Continue to nourish your body with tasty food, as it's accessible to you. Plan for meals and snacks (eating every three to five hours) and listen to your body.
- UT Outpost: Get support from this UT Austin food pantry and career closet currently offering free food delivery to students located within the City of Austin. The Central Texas Food Bank and Feeding America also offer assistance with groceries.
- Cook 'Em: Learn to cook with this series of student-produced videos that take you step-by-step through a variety of recipes.
- Health at Every Size: Read more about disentangling weight from health.
- Stay Home, Stay Active: Check out UT RecSports' virtual programming, including backcountry and outdoor cooking videos and recipes.
Sleep is an essential part of life—you can't skip or rush your body's need for rest and sleep. Establish or improve your healthy sleep routine and see how it impacts other areas of wellness.
- Sleep 7-9 hours every night: Getting an average of 8 hours of sleep every night is an essential part of your overall well-being. Starting a nighttime routine to help you wind down and setting a standard wake up time can help keep your sleep regular and restful.
- Take a nap: Napping as needed can improve your cognitive function, mood and memory. Aim to nap for 20-30 minutes between 1 – 4 p.m. to ensure your nap doesn't interfere with your sleep later that night.
- Sleep resources to help you get a better night's sleep:
Cultivate Healthy Relationships
You may be spending much more time with the same people, such as a partner, friend, roommate, or family member. You might also find yourself missing other people you usually spend time. These dynamics can be challenging and the resources below may be helpful.
- Coping and Stress Management Assessment: Everyone experiences stress differently and we cope in different ways. Understanding your own coping style can help start a conversation about needs and expectations.
- Preventing Conflict When Stuck at Home Together: Explore strategies to prevent and alleviate conflict.
- Consent: Consent is necessary for all sexual interactions, and is important for virtual activities like sending sexual texts or images and taking or sharing screenshots.
- Emotional and physical violence are never okay. If you would like to talk to someone about concerns in your relationship, you can contact:
- For more information about healthy relationships, visit Voices Against Violence or request a workshop for your student organization, class or group.
Virtual Wellness Events
Continue your wellness journey with support from the Longhorn community through the virtual events below. Most events are free, and all are open to UT Austin students. Click on the event links below to learn more about the next seven days' events.
Is your virtual UT event open to students from all colleges and schools? Submit it here
- Interest Groups occur every Monday, starting September 14, 2020, from 5-615PM. Topics rotate between the following: 1. The Black Effect 2. Proverbs 31 Woman 3. BAWSE Up! 4. SHIPS
- September 14, 2020 5:00 pm
- We are a community of graduate and law students at UT connecting deeply with God, one another, our calling, and the mission of helping others do the same. Come gather to explore and study the Bible, connect with each other, and pray for each other. Everyone is welcome! We meet on Wednesdays over Zoom. Get in touch through Facebook!
- December 2, 2020 5:15 pm
- Join us for our convergence graduate student bible study! Join through the zoom link. Convergence is a community at the an intersection between individual journeys and Scripture, between faith and academic work, and between ourselves and the needs of the world, Convergence seeks to nurture a graduate student community, foster spiritual formation, encourage service and evangelism, and facilitate integration of faith and scholarship.
- December 2, 2020 6:00 pm
- Join us for our TPA Trivia Night via Zoom + KAHOOT!
- December 2, 2020 7:00 pm
- Solid Ground is about hard-hitting, life-changing, Spirit-filled truth. Each week we gather to hear God’s word proclaimed with confidence, clarity, and conviction. This is our once a week, all-club gathering. So show up to deepen your CSOC connections and discover more of God’s purpose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thPuYAt4FL0
- December 3, 2020 7:00 pm
- We are a student club at UT Austin campus. Our club has been instrumental in bringing to the UT community, the Science of the holistic Yoga process. We are currently restricted to virtual meetings due to COVID - 19. In the virtual meetings every week, we practice yoga, meditation, and have some philosophical discussion. We post our virtual meeting links on our GroupMe every Friday. Please join our GroupMe using this link: https://app.groupme.com/join_group/48268664/Ms8srJLE
- December 4, 2020 5:30 pm