The importance of self-care in college: Dorm Spa Edition

If you’re anything like me, you probably have about a thousand things racing around your mind at the same time.

Either exams are coming up, or an essay is due in the next few hours, or an academic adviser is putting the pressure on to answer existential questions about the future big, scary life questions.

Sadly, one of the first things to get lost in the midst of all these stressors is self-care, which is a vitally important part of wellbeing that we tend to throw out the window as soon as our plates start to get full.

The worst part of it is that it’s been proven by studies, such as one done in 2005 by Dr. Sharon Hall Murff of Grambling State University, that the more stressed we get, the less productive we become. Fortunately, if you’ve ever fantasized about taking a spa day off but, being the typical college student, had neither the funds nor the time to do so, near fear!

With a little planning and a touch of craftiness, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to transform your dorm into a DIY day spa that will leave you looking and feeling as fresh as if the semester just started.


Set the Mood

After you’ve decided on a day to set completely to yourself, or an evening or even just an hour, it’s time to give your room the spa treatment.

For a super stress-free environment, make sure to clear any clutter from your surfaces and hide all textbooks and papers from view. Schoolwork should be out of sight and (definitely) out of mind.

Next, find or make a playlist with relaxing mood music to have in the background. For a cozy atmosphere without getting a fire hazard fine, swap candles for fairy lights and maybe a Himalayan salt lamp for some super calming vibes.

Finally, break out the fluffy robe and bunny slippers. To add some extra luxury, run a small face towel under hot water and place it on your face for a minute or two before applying the mask.

Or, you can place it on the back of your neck to relieve any tension you may have stored in your upper back. Bonus points for putting a few drops of essential oils on it, such as lavender, to get the full aromatherapeutic experience.

Food For Your Face

Cucumber Slices

Cucumber slices are renowned for their under-eye-bag busting capabilities, especially when they’ve been chilled in a mini fridge for a few hours. These are easily found at the salad bar and they are a must.

Plus, this will make your spa day feel super authentic, like the sleepover scene of a good chick-flick. You can also place a few slices in a water pitcher for a detox drink to sip as you relax.

This next recipe is made entirely from ingredients swiped from the nearest dining hall in EcoWare. No mystery chemicals or animal testing here!

Disclaimer: there was however a bit of roommate testing. Before slathering it on your face, as with all new products, test it out for a few minutes first on a small patch of skin just to avoid any sort of reaction.


Strawberry Fields Mask

It may be hard to resist snacking on the strawberries before using them for this mask, but I promise, you will be doing your skin a favor!

Strawberries are basically a dermatologist’s dream and contain plenty of vitamin C to fight off acne, alpha hydroxyl acids to lighten blemishes, and ellagic acid to heal damaged skin. Combined with the yogurt and honey, they make for an energizing, scrub-like mask that smells like a dessert.


What you will need:

  • 3-4 ripe strawberries
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey

Mash up the strawberries with a fork and them mix them into the yogurt before pouring in the honey. As you apply the mask, gently rub your face insmall circular movements to exfoliate any dead skin cells with the strawberry seeds.


Be careful to avoid getting it on your eyebrows, as strawberries have been known to have lightening effects. To get the full effects of this mask, leave the mask on for about 15 minutes before rinsing (or just licking it off your face). Be prepared to be “berry” refreshed!


Zit Zapper

Fresh, raw garlic has long been utilized across the world in a smorgasbord of remedies ranging from helping poor digestion to clearing colds.

Recent studies have shown that it also contains various compounds such as allicin which, other than giving garlic its distinctive aroma, can have anti-oxidative effects on the body. The best part is that you don’t have to eat raw garlic to get rid of that pimple!

Just cut one clove in half, rub it on the site of the inflammation and be amazed by how hard it will be to find tomorrow morning.

Raw cloves of garlic unfortunately are impossible to lift from the dining halls–unless perhaps you make friends with one of the chefs–you can easily buy them at City Market or the Farmer’s Market. Plus, a head of garlic is hardly a splurge compared to the cost of whatever acne treatment you would have spent your money on.


Turn “Me Time” into “We Time”

If you know some people who could also use some destressing, why not share the self-care? Make a night of it with your roommates, floormates or best mates for some beauty bonding time together.  

Laughter is one of the best natural therapies there are and definitely the easiest to find. You could put on that new show on Netflix you all have been too swamped to check out and even splurge on some takeout for dinner for some comfort food therapy, too.

Self-care is about much more than vanity, or luxury, or even beauty. It’s in no way reserved only for those who can afford spa retreats, but it is an essential part of emotional health. If you take the time to love your body, your body will love you back!