"Mental health is prioritizing your needs"

With so much going on, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what we need or what our priorities should be. Here are a few steps to help you get started:

1: Take our free self-assessment

We have created a free self-assessment for students, staff and faculty to help you evaluate your current habits, thoughts and behaviors around self-care. It covers all 8 dimensions of wellness, including emotional/mental, spiritual, physical, social, financial, occupational, intellectual and environmental wellness.

Take the free self assessment

2: Evaluate your score

Look at the areas where you scored the lowest. If you scored low in multiple categories, choose 1 or 2 that you want to focus on right now. Remember that it's difficult to address everything all at once, so pace yourself and know that you can always come back to other areas as needed.

3: Create a plan

Next, brainstorm 1 to 2 things you can do to improve your score in those particular categories. Prioritize these actions or activities throughout the week. It can be helpful to start a journal to see how you are improving or feeling over time once you start prioritizing your needs. If you need help brainstorming self-care activities, see our comprehensive list below.

4: Retake as needed

Our needs and priorities can change over time, especially as we transition through life. Don't be afraid to retake this assessment periodically and see how your scores change. You may notice your score improving in some areas or going down in others. This is normal!

Self-care activities to try 

Not sure how to get started improving your self-care? Check out this list of ideas:

Emotional and Spiritual

Emotional self-care can help us effectively cope with life and create satisfying relationships. Spiritual wellness can help us cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

​ Journal. Journaling allows you to observe and explore your feelings, practice gratitude, clear your mind and get things off your chest. If you need help getting started, consider using a journaling prompt or check out this free COVID-19 anxiety workbook.

 Talk to someone. We all struggle sometimes, and it’s okay to ask for help. Whatever you’re feeling, it can be useful to talk through it with a friend, family member or professional. All students can access Let's Talk through Counseling and Psychiatric Services. This free and confidential service allows you to meet with a counselor who can help provide insight, solutions and information about additional resources.

 Evaluate your social media habits. As we continue to practice physical distancing, we may find ourselves on our phones and social media accounts more often. If this sounds familiar, take a moment to evaluate your social media habits. Unsure where to begin? Check out this article to get started: Stop scrolling: 4 things you should be doing on social.

 Join a workshop. Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers a number of free workshops for students covering topics like anxiety, stress, healthy habits, sexuality and identity, meditation and more.

 Meditate. Meditation can be a great way to create a deeper connection with our inner self and relieve unwanted stress. If you are new to meditation, consider using a free meditation app like Calm. The Rec Center also has free guided meditations and intentions available online.

 Volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. Are you passionate about helping others? Consider getting involved through volunteering! The Volunteer Resource Center has a variety of opportunities to help you get involved in the community.

Attend Wellness Wednesday. Health Promotion hosts free Wellness Wednesday events every week! This program provides a space for students to engage in self-care activities, learn about campus resources and build community. They also have a free printable worksheet that can help you plan out your week and practice simple self-care. 

 Practice mindfulness. Mindful Mondays is a weekly mindfulness program where students can engage in active mindfulness lessons and learn about existing resources on campus.


Physical self-care can help us address our basic needs for physical activity, healthy foods and adequate sleep.

 Stay active. Try a variety of activities to find something you enjoy and can see yourself doing long-term. The Rec Center has a number of resources to help you get started, including personal training sessions, a variety of outdoor trips and courses and free online classes.

 Eat nutritious meals and snacks. Set yourself up for a healthy summer by eating foods that fuel you. Nutrition Services offers free online nutrition assessments to help you evaluate your current eating habits. Need additional support? They also have telehealth consultations and appointments available.

 Create a nighttime routine. Set yourself up for success during the day by creating a relaxing nighttime routine that will help you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule and avoid disruptions by turning off your phone notifications.


Social self-care can help us to create a sense of connection, belonging and a meaningful support system. 

 Join a student club or create your own. There are more than 300 student organizations on campus focused on majors, hobbies and other interests. You can explore clubs, reach out and meet new people through Buff Connect. You can also gather your friends (virtually or physically distanced) to enjoy hobbies together! Consider starting a book club, discussing your favorite TV shows, hosting gaming tournaments, sharing recipes or creating challenges. Whatever you and your friends are into, explore ways to enjoy those activities together.

 Schedule a weekly chat. Schedule a weekly chat with friends or family to catch up. You can also try different activities to keep your calls fun and engaging. Consider doing a paint and sip at home or cook a meal together.

​ It’s okay to say no. While it’s important to stay connected and keep in touch, it can also feel overwhelming at times. Remember that you don’t have to say yes to every request for your time. Saying no to things can help us safeguard our time, conserve our energy and focus on things that we really want to do.


Financial self-care can help us feel satisfied and content with our current and future financial situations. 

 Create a budget. It can be hard to know where you stand financially if you’re not in tune with how you make and spend money. Take some time to review your finances, including your income, expenses and debts. Once you know how much money you have (income) and how much money you spend (expenses), you can work to create a budget that sets you up for success now and into the future. You can also use free online tools like Mint to help you set goals, track expenses and more.

 Set financial goals and milestones. Once you have a budget in place, think of some specific goals you’d like to set. For instance, maybe you’d like to save up for a trip with your friends once things return to normal or create an emergency fund. Consider how much money you would need and create a savings plan. Commit to saving some money towards your goal each month. Every little bit helps.

 Learn about personal finance. Finances can be tricky and there are a lot of terms that we may not be familiar with. However, there are a number of free resources online to help you make the most of your personal finances. Check out sites like MoneyCoach to watch free videos and quiz yourself. They cover topics like banking, credit cards, debt, loans, taxes, investments, insurance and more.

Occupational and Intellectual

Occupational self-care can help us feel satisfied in our career paths and our jobs. Intellectual self-care can help us recognize our creative abilities and find ways to expand upon our knowledge and skills.

 Explore your options. Sometimes it may feel like you are on a set career path or maybe you’re unsure about what you want to do in the future. Take this time to explore your options and see what feels right for you. ONET is a great website that can help you explore different career paths. You can also use their free assessment tools to find careers that match your interests, skills and values.

 Review your resume. Your resume is often the first impression you make when applying for internships, jobs and other positions. If it’s been a while since you reviewed or updated your resume, Career Services has tips for building the perfect resume. You can also make an appointment with a career counselor to go over your resume together and get expert advice.

 Discover your strengths. All CU Boulder students have free access to CliftonStrengths. This easy assessment can help you identify your unique strengths and find ways to utilize them in your academics, personal and professional development.

 Check out career webinars. COVID-19 has impacted many of our jobs and internships. Career Services has created a library of online resources including pre-recorded webinars and workshops to help address internships and jobs during these uncertain times. You can also join events and webinars hosted by employers through Handshake.

 Learn online. Did you know students have free access to LinkedIn Learning? Sign in with your identikey to explore courses in job negotiation, design, writing, public speaking and more.


Environmental self-care can help us create pleasant and stimulating environments that support our well-being. 

 Spend time outside. Getting outside is a great way to change your scenery, get some fresh air and feel more at ease. Commit to spending time outside each day for at least 30 minutes. Remember to practice physical distancing, avoid crowded areas, wear a face covering, stay hydrated and use sunscreen (SPF 30+). During colder months, be sure to layer!

 Rearrange your space. Our spaces can impact us in a lot of ways. Refresh your space by rearranging the furniture, adding art or organizing things in a different way. Try out simple DIY projects at home or follow this quick guide for refreshing your space without spending a dime.

 Create a vision board. Vision boards are visual representations of the intentions and goals you want for your life. They can help inspire us, keep us grounded and remind us of what’s important. Create your own vision board by using photos, magazine clippings or other elements you have around the house. You can follow this 5-step vision board tutorial to get started. Once you’ve created your ideal vision board, hang it up in a place you’ll see it often!

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