Welcome current and prospective Badgers! UWell is so glad you’ve stopped by. We created this website as a way for YOU to find information and resources about all dimensions of wellness. We are here to support you during your college experience. Whether that means finding the best ways to experience Madison outdoors, learning what it means to be financially well, or finding some new stress management techniques, we are here to guide you.
How do I prioritize self care in college?
College is a state of perpetual busy-ness. Taking care of yourself is SO important, but it often gets swept under the rug. We tell ourselves that we’ll treat ourselves after this exam and then it’s after that paper and then it’s after that big meeting with your boss. And then it never really happens. However, treating yourself doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Self care can be boring, little things that make your day that much easier or more enjoyable.
Here are a few tips we like:
- Fuel your body with nutrients it needs to keep you going! Don’t live off candy and caffeine. You’ll feel energized for a bit but the crash will be hard, and when you are studying for a huge exam, you just don’t have time for that. Eat some plants. Eat some protein. Drink some water. It will make a difference.
- Take some deep breaths. Taking three deep breaths takes less than 30 seconds and it will help you regulate, slow down, and calm down.
- Listen to some uplifting music. We see you all with your headphones in on the way to class. Switch it up from time to time. Put on a pump-up song on the way to your exam. Put on the some calming music on the way home from a stressful day. Being mindful about what music you play can really brighten your day.
- Give yourself a little pep talk. Sitting in the lecture hall before class starting and running through your to-do list that seems endless? Take a step back and realize how great of a person you really are. You’re alive. You made it out of bed. You can tackle anything that comes your way. Remind yourself of that every once in a while.
- Just walk away. Can’t figure out a math problem after 17 tries? Writers block? Keep forgetting the same vocab work you’ve learned and re-learned for hours on end? Just stop for a second. Get up from your desk. Walk around the room. Think about anything else. It’s good for your emotional wellness, and it might help you do better on the assignment.
Self care can be boring, little things that make your day that much easier or more enjoyable.
If you need self-help resources from UW-Madison regarding academics, alcohol and other drugs, self-injury, eating disorders, learning disorders, sleep deprivation, mental health, and more, visit UHS’s self-help page.
There are many studies that show mindfulness practice helps reduce stress.
What is mindfulness and why is it so important?
Mindfulness is the state of being thoughtful, careful, and aware of your surroundings. Focusing on the smell of freshly cut grass or how your salad dressing tastes are examples of mindful behavior. There are many ways to be mindful.
A common strategy is mediation. Meditation is the practice of quieting your busy mind and is an important part of a mindful life. Meditations don’t have to be long, and can help you during stressful times. UHS has some great guided meditations for beginners. Additionally, UHS hosts meditation classes on Wednesdays from noon to 1:00pm at Union South. If you are interested in attending, check out the TITU board for the room.
Feel like you don’t have time for meditation, or find it difficult? There are many other ways to be mindful. One is focusing on your breathing. As you breath in and out, count your breaths. This can help bring you into the present, and slow your racing mind. Another option is visualization. Go through an event in your head and imagine your desired outcome happening. This can help you stay focused on the good during stressful times.
Just because you know how to be mindful doesn’t mean you’ll actually do it. Reminding yourself of why mindfulness is so important can help you stay on track. According to the American Psychological Association, there are numerous benefits to mindfulness practice found in research. There are many studies that show mindfulness practice helps reduce stress. We know college students often have a lot of stress, so this is an amazing benefit for you! Being mindful can also help you focus better, develop self-observation skills, and be more adaptive in stressful or negative situations.
What is self-acceptance? How do I find my purpose?
College is a time of constant learning and self-reflection. Not only are you learning in the classroom but you are learning about yourself, trying to formulate a plan for the rest of your life. That’s a daunting task, and the journey doesn’t look the same for everyone. Your purpose in life in a combination of the things you love, are good at, and can work toward. There is no good way to answer this question that to tell you to keep following your passions, explore your options, and keep your mind and heart open.
Self-acceptance is all above loving yourself the way you are. Everyone brings something new to the table, including you. Remember how great you are and accept those flaws you keep trying to hide. They make you who you are!
Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Overestimate expenses, underestimate income.
Differentiate between needs and wants.
Organization and routine are keys.
How do I budget???
College is the first time you will be in charge of your own budget for many of you! Don’t panic, you can do this. The Office of Student Financial Aid has all the info you need regarding costs of attending, scholarships, and FAFSA. The Federal Student Aid office also has some great budgeting tips. Here are some of our favorites!
- Overestimate your expenses and underestimate your income. It’s better to end up with a surplus than come up short!
- Differentiate between need and wants. Budgeting will help you decide what money you have to spend on thins you want, but first you need to think about things you need including rent payments, credit card bills, and an emergency fund.
- Organization and routine are keys. Make a system that works for you to track your finances. There are online resources and apps that might fit you needs perfectly, so look around and find the one that’s best for you. Then, make sure you are checking in on a regular basis. If you wait too long, you could be overwhelmed or forget certain purchases.
- If you’re facing an unexpected financial hardship, a crisis loan from the Dean of Student’s Office might be something to look into. The loans are typically under $500, and can be paid back interest-free in the first six months.
How can I enjoy more time in nature around campus?
There’s an insane amount of outdoor activities in Madison, rain, shine, or snow. Outdoor UW is the home base for all things outdoorsy here on campus. Want to rent a kayak or paddle board? Outdoor UW. Want to take a morning outdoor yoga class? Outdoor UW. Want to join Hoofers? Outdoor UW. You get the trend.
If you want something a little more woodsy, take a stroll, or a run, along Lakeshore Path. The path comes to a head at Picnic Point, an amazing little peninsula on Lake Mendota that has a fire pit and great views of the sunset and sunrise.
When you only have an hour break between classes but want to feel like you are far away from the bustling campus, there are gardens nears to classes that can be your refuge. First, there is Madsion’s Botanical Garden behind Birge Hall and up the stairs from University Ave. There are a few benches and shelters conducive to sitting on your laptop for a bit between classes. Then, there is Allen Centennial Gardens across from Steenbock Library.
There’s an insane amount of outdoor activities in Madison, rain, shine, or snow.