Published: Tues., April 21, 2020
Remembering to include time for fun and self-care in your schedule may fall to the wayside when navigating uncertainty, financial strain, and other potential challenges that graduate school could present to your mental health. In fact, several studies suggest graduate students are at greater risk for mental health issues when compared to the general population according to Inside Higher Ed. This reinforces the truth in that your ability to have fun and practice self-care are just as significant to your graduate experience as your coursework and milestones. Although fun and self-care are up for interpretation depending on your preferences, access, and abilities, there are simple options available to get you started.
Fun While Budgeting Money and Time
Budgeting some of your most important resources like money and time can put a damper on trying to make fun plans much less having fun at all. If these resources tend to be limited for you, then rest assured there are still free or low-cost options from which to choose.
Per month, streaming services range between $8.99 at the low end to $60.99 at the high end depending on the service and pricing plan. If you’re able to access—or already have one or more subscriptions to—Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Disney+, or Showtime, then consider using the Vulture Streaming Guide to save time on narrowing your viewing options. This guide may also help you decide on a streaming service, based on what’s available, before you commit to a subscription.
If you’re looking for a no-cost, interactive option to have fun on your own or with friends, then check out this 13-page document that’s an extensive list for free online board games, card games, drawing games, puzzles, and more. Setting up a virtual game night with friends, family, or roommates is a great way to fill your fun and social meter without compromising your finances. Additionally, you may consider using Zoom to virtually connect with others as UNL graduate students have free access to the video conferencing service.
Self-care Resources to Remember
At times, graduate school can become inundated with deadlines, expectations, and the unpredictable changes that have the potential to alter your plans. With these as potentials, it’s imperative that you practice taking action to preserve or improve your own well-being and happiness. Simply put, self-care is any activity, habit, or routine in which you participate for joy, peace, or healing.
The 9 Dimensions of Well-being are an excellent resource to use as a compass when navigating holistic self-care. If you’re ever uncertain about which areas of well-being are most affecting your life, then take the well-being assessment to quickly gauge your current balance among those dimensions. Whatever your needs, there are likely resources virtually or through UNL to help you address those needs.
Although choosing appropriate self-care is personal, you should know that resources are available to support your mental health and well-being at any time. Consider your counseling or peer coaching options with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for a proactive approach to your well-being. You can also reach out to the National Grad Crisis Line to speak with a counselor who understands the unique graduate student experience at 877-GRAD-HLP (877-472-3457). Seeking social connection and support in this time is crucial in this time, so don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, colleagues, UNL faculty and staff, and support organizations.