6 Strategies for Balancing Studying and Self-Care During Stressful Times

1. Start studying early 

If possible, avoid cramming at the last minute for a test. Try starting a week or two in advance and carving out 20-30 minutes per day to focus on studying. Giving yourself more time will help you to commit the content to memory. It will also help you to balance the content, manage your time, and avoid increased stress and anxiety at the last minute. 

2. Find a study environment that fits your needs 

Do you prefer to study in quiet environments alone, or with a group? You know yourself best. Try to create an environment that best fits your study style. Do your best to eliminate distractions. If it helps, you can move your phone (or other distractors) to another room while you study. 

3. Use study strategies that work well for you 

Study strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all. Try finding a method that best fits your own learning style. If something isn’t working for you, switch it up! Here are just a few examples of study techniques: 

  • Pretend you are teaching the content to someone else. If you have a roommate, friend, partner, family member, or even a pet, you can practice with them. If not, you can always practice alone. If you can clearly and thoroughly explain the content, it demonstrates how well you know the material.  
  • Create flashcards for key terms and concepts. 
  • Write down your notes and color code them. Get creative! Try creating visuals, rhymes, acronyms, or patterns to make connections and help you remember the content. 
  • Pick a topic and write down everything you know about it without looking at your notes. 
  • Create your own practice tests. 
  • Work with a classmate and quiz each other on key concepts. Discussing the content, bouncing ideas off each other, and quizzing each other will help expand your understanding of the content. 
  • Break larger, complex topics and theories down into specific examples. Think about how you would apply it in practice.  
  • Create a mock lesson plan, study guide, or outline for the content you are studying. 
  • Identify connections between themes and topics. Create diagrams, charts, or lists. 

4. Take breaks 

Taking breaks will help with your concentration, ability to focus, and overall productivity. Building in breaks can also help you prioritize caring for yourself. Set a timer to remind yourself to step away and take a break. For example, for every 30 minutes of work, stop and take a break.  

5. Take care of yourself and maintain healthy habits 

Studying can be stressful. Your grades and productivity are not reflections of your self-worth. Remember to prioritize taking care of yourself as you study. Self-care isn’t selfish! 

  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. 
  • Move your body in a way that feels good for you. 
  • Eat nutritious food. 
  • Spend time outside. 
  • Engage in mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation practices. Examples can include deep breathing, body scans, guided meditations, yoga, and more. 
  • Spend time with loved ones. 
  • Make time for activities and hobbies you enjoy. 
  • Give yourself time to rest and recharge, even if that means doing nothing at all. 

6. Ask for help when you need it

If you are having trouble understanding the class material or would like some extra help, reach out for support. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Try reaching out to your instructor, TA, or a trusted classmate. Go to office hours. There are also many campus resources available to support you including the Dennis Learning Center, The Writing Center, the Younkin Success Center, Disability Services, the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Center, and University Libraries 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant

Social Wellness for Graduate and Professional Students: 14 Resources to Help You Get Involved


Image reference: https://www.jacc.org/doi/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.05.007?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_post&utm_campaign=twitter_post 

Social wellness is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. In 2019, almost 70% of graduate and professional students surveyed for the Wellness Assessment felt a sense of belonging at Ohio State. About 65% felt like a member of the Ohio State community (Center for the Study of Student Life, 2019). If you are a graduate and professional student looking for ways to get involved and find your community on campus or in Columbus, check out these resources and opportunities: 

Graduate and Professional Guide to Getting Involved (2020)

This guide provided by the Office of Student Life offers a comprehensive, detailed description of different involvement opportunities available to graduate and professional students.  

Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) Grad/Prof Committee

OUAB offers the following workshops, programs, and events specifically for graduate and professional students: 

  • Technical Tuesdays 
  • Wellness Wednesdays 
  • Academic & Non-Academic Job Search Series 
  • Quiz Nights 
  • Cupcakes and Canvases  
  • Monthly Family Program 

Student Organizations

Ohio State offers over 1,400 registered student organizations which range from professional associations to interest and activity-based groups – and more! Visit the student activities website and filter by graduate and professional organizations through the advanced search tab. 

Student Government

Both the Council of Graduate Students and Inter-Professional Council offer opportunities for to get involved, attend events, and participate in student government. 

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides a variety of programs, events and resources for graduate and professional students such as: 

  • Bells Fellow Program 
  • Preparing for the Academy Retreat 
  • Dissertation Boot Camp 

Multicultural Center (MCC)

The MCC is another great resource for involvement on campus. Check out their website for more detailed information about their programs and events. The MCC even offers student cohorts, mentorship, and leadership opportunities that can help you build community on campus! 

Spotlight: MCC’s Student Identity Groups 

  • African and African American 
  • Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi-American 
  • Latinx 
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer 
  • Native American/Indigenous 
  • Women 
  • DACA 
  • First Generation Students 

LGBTQ at Ohio State

The LGBTQ at Ohio State website is Ohio State’s one-stop resource for LGBTQ students and allies. Visit the LGBTQ at Ohio State website to check out upcoming events, resources, and everything they have to offer related to community, support, academics, and training. 

Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State

One way to enhance your social wellness is to explore the Columbus community and all that it has to offer! Ohio State has partnered with Lyft to offer discounted rides within a designated service area from 7:00pm-7:00am. All you have to do to get started is download the Lyft app and link your account with your Ohio State email address! 


Students also have free access to the COTA Bus line with a valid BuckID. COTA has over 40 available routes that you can use to explore Central Ohio. Just hop on and swipe your BuckID to ride for free! 

Discount Tickets (D-Tix) at the Ohio Union

D-Tix offers discounted tickets for sporting events, arts and culture attractions, concerts, and more. Examples include discounted gift cards to the North Market, discounted tickets for attractions like Otherworld, and discounted tickets for a variety of performances, community events, and festivals. 

Kindness at Ohio State

Kindness at Ohio State coordinates several projects and resources to create a positive, connected, and kinder campus community. Their initiatives include events, service opportunities, student organizations, and virtual resources including a loving kindness meditation. You can also use their online “Send a Kudos” feature to express your gratitude to people who have shown you kindness. 


Buck-I-Serv offers opportunities to lead or participate in service-learning trips with other Ohio State students and staff. Buck-I-Serv coordinates 80+ trips each year and creates meaningful opportunities for students to travel, learn, and serve in more than 16 states and 5 countries. 

Experience Columbus

Experience Columbus offers a variety of resources, tips, and up-to-date information about what is happening in the community. Their website includes recommendations of things to do and places to visit in Columbus, including attractions, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, museums and history, arts and entertainment, sports and recreation, holiday celebrations, and things to do with kids.  

Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC)

If you are a student in or seeking recovery, the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) offers peer support and a variety of resources. CRC has a student lounge in 097 Baker Hall and hosts open recovery meetings on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm. For more information, visit the CRC website, email recovery@osu.edu, or call 614-292-2094.  

Whether you’re #New2OSU or preparing to graduate, there is a place and community for you here. If you are struggling to form connections or find your place, the Student Life Student Wellness Center has several resources available for peer support. You can reach the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL) by calling 614-514-3333 on weekdays from 8:00pm-12:00am. When you call Buckeye PAL, you’ll be connected with a peer who can provide you immediate support and help connect you with resources. The Student Wellness Center’s Individual and Group Wellness Coaching services are another great way to connect, set goals, and receive support. Please visit the Student Wellness Center website to schedule an appointment. 


Center for the Study of Student Life. (2019). Wellness assessment 2018-2019: Graduate and professional students. The Ohio State University Office of Student Life. https://cssl.osu.edu/posts/632320bc-704d-4eef-8bcb-87c83019f2e9/documents/wellness-assessment-grad-vs-prof-report-final-1.pdf  

-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

Time management as a graduate or professional student: Tips for developing a personalized work plan 

Start out by giving yourself grace. 

Time management can be tricky, especially if you are balancing multiple responsibilities such as school, work, family, your social life, physical and mental health, and more. There will be good days and bad days – and that’s okay! 

If you find yourself struggling with time management and procrastination, you are not alone, and there are strategies you can implement to improve your habits. 

Reminder: Your self-worth is not determined by your productivity.  

Take inventory of your current time management habits. 

Spend a week or two tracking how you spend your time. 

Do you have any frequent “time-wasters” like social media that can be cut down? 

Are there certain times of the day when you feel more productive or find it easier to focus? 

This may be more challenging depending on how flexible – or inflexible – your schedule is, but it can help to try to plan your day around the times when you feel most productive. 

Break larger projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

Create a timeline for when you want each task to be completed. 

Make sure this timeline is realistic, reasonable, and fits well with the final deadline for the project. Be sure to give yourself at least a slight buffer. 

Set goals for yourself. 

What motivates you? 

What do you need in order to accomplish your goals? For example, do you need extra feedback and support from a supervisor, coworker, or classmate in order to complete a project or assignment? Reach out for help and support when you need it! 

Organize your to-do list in a way that matches your working style – but leave room for flexibility. 

Be sure to set priorities for your different tasks and projects, keeping in mind deadlines and the amount of time you will need to complete a task. For example, do you like to start out your day with smaller tasks first, or would you prefer to work on a larger project? What needs to be done immediately and what can wait? 

Find a scheduling or time management tool that works well for you. 

Time management is not one-size-fits-all, and you may need to adapt your strategies over time if something that previously worked no longer seems like a good fit. 

Examples of time management tools include planners, calendars, and to-do lists. 

There are also a variety of free time tracking resources such as Toggl and MyHours. If you like the pomodoro method, check out Tomato Timer. 

Block out time to work on tasks and stick to your routine as much as possible. 

Track how much time you are spending on each project. This can help you improve your planning. 

Implement time limits for tasks. Time limits can be helpful if you struggle with perfectionism and find yourself spending time frequently second-guessing or repeatedly reviewing your work before submitting it. 

Online calendars such as those built into Outlook and Gmail make it easy to plan out time for studying and projects – especially if you already use them to schedule work and class meetings. 

Make time for self-care. 

Take breaks throughout the day as you are studying and working. Don’t forget to eat – food is fuel! Giving yourself time to rest and recharge can help your health and wellbeing and enhance your productivity. You can’t pour from an empty cup! 

Plan out time to spend with your friends, family, and significant others. It can be easy to isolate ourselves when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but your social wellness is important! Even if it is just a quick phone call to a loved one, try to make time for connection in your life in whatever way you can. 

Incorporate healthy sleep habits into your daily routine. 

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! Even if something may feel “small”, it’s okay to be proud of yourself and reward yourself! 

Reminder: self-care isn’t selfish 


Check out the Dennis Learning Center for more information and resources on time management: https://dennislearningcenter.osu.edu/time-management-get-started/ 

Ohio State Wooster has compiled a helpful time management worksheet with more tips and tools: https://ati.osu.edu/sites/ati/files/site-library/site-images/Time%20Management%20%20.pdf 

OUAB offers a variety of grad/prof events and workshops covering topics such as time management: https://ouab.osu.edu/grad-prof 

The following resources provide time management tips and tools for individuals who are neurodiverse: 

At the Student Life Student Wellness Center there are several 1-1 resources available for goal setting, peer support, and connection to resources. Schedule a free Wellness Coaching appointment today or call the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL) at 614-514-3333 on weekdays from 8pm-midnight for support. 

-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

Practicing healthy boundary setting 

Did you know that your relationship with your supervisor is one of the most influential factors in job satisfaction? Practicing effective workplace communication and setting healthy boundaries can make a major difference for your career wellness! 

Start by reflecting on your own needs in order to determine what types of boundaries will be most helpful or necessary. You can do this in a variety of contexts including work, school, and in your relationships.  

To reflect on your needs, think about areas of your life in which you need extra help or support. Reflect on what your ideal scenario or outcome would be. Is something missing in an aspect of your life, whether that be professional or personal? Do you have wants or needs that are currently unfulfilled?  

Think about if you have any commitments, responsibilities, or roles in which you feel overextended, overwhelmed, or unbalanced. What would help improve the situation? It may also be helpful to define your priorities and determine where you can take a step back or decrease your level of commitment. What is required of you and what can you change? 

Try to make this self-reflection on-going. Your wants and needs may change over time, and it is important to check in with yourself. 

While boundaries will look different for everyone, some examples may include: 

  • Setting boundaries around not being contacted or not responding during non-business hours and time off. 
  • Ex: Not checking email or responding to messages after 5:00pm on weekdays or on the weekends and holidays. 
  • Setting boundaries around work hours. 
  • Ex: Creating a hard stop for yourself at 5:00pm. 
  • Setting reasonable expectations surrounding response times to communication. 
  • Ex: Set an expectation to respond to emails within 48 hours during business hours (unless there are extenuating circumstances). 
  • Setting limits for how much work you will take on or how involved you will be. 
  • Setting expectations for workplace behavior and communication. 
  • Setting expectations for how much time you can spend with a partner, friend, or loved one. 
  • Ex: Every Friday night is family game night, or every Saturday is date night. 
  • Once you have identified boundaries, the next step is to clearly communicate them. If this step sounds scary, start out by practicing! If you find it helpful to document your boundaries to practice, you can always create a list for yourself. Reminder: it is okay to ask for what you need! 

One potential strategy for communicating your boundaries is to frame this as a collaborative process. This can take place during an open conversation with your supervisor and coworkers, friends, family members, classmates, and partners and gives each person an opportunity to define expectations. However, this does not mean that you need to compromise or be less assertive with your own boundaries. 

Finally, it can be helpful to develop a strategy for communicating effectively when boundary violations occur. For example, if a supervisor reaches out to you with a meeting request on your day off, be prepared for how you will respond and navigate the situation. This may look like respectfully yet firmly declining the request and explaining that you had previously discussed taking the day off and will not be available. You do not need to apologize or over-explain.  

If you are struggling to set boundaries or figure out what your personal needs are, contact the Student Wellness Center’s Wellness Coaching program to schedule a free one-on-one session for support.  


 -Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 


What is Spiritual Well-being?

The word “spiritual” refers to that core dimension of you – your innermost self – that provides you with a profound sense of who you are, where you came from, where you’re going and how you might reach your goal. You may not think much about spiritual well-being and what role it plays in your life, but its significance is stronger than you may believe.  

Spiritual wellness may mean different things to different people. For some, spirituality may be synonymous with traditional religion, while for others it relates primarily to the quality of personal relationships or love for nature. A foundation for spiritual wellness may be the sense that life is meaningful, and you have found your place in it. The search for meaning and purpose in human existence leads one to strive for a state of harmony with themselves and with others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world. 

To discover what spirituality means for you and how it can play an important role in your life, consider the questions below. Your answers may provide clues to enhance your own spiritual wellness.  

  • What gives your life meaning and purpose?
  • What gives you hope?
  • How do you get through tough times? Where have you found comfort?
  • What are your 3 most memorable experiences?
  • If you belong to a religious community, how are you connected to this group?
  • If you have survived losses in your life, how have you done so?
  • Describe a time or instance when you felt comfortable and that all was right with the world.
  • Describe a time when your life was filled with a sense of meaning or when you experienced a sense of awe.

Looking for support in your spiritual wellness? The Student Wellness Centers, free, peer to peer Wellness Coaching service can help. You can meet with a coach to reflect on the questions above and set goals to enhance your spiritual wellness. Additionally, there are many student organizations focused on spiritual wellness. You can search and find these on the Student Activities website 

National Coming Out Day & LGBTQ History Month Resources

Celebrate National Coming Out Day on Monday, October 11th and LGBTQ History Month with Student Life! It is completely your decision when to come out, whether to come out, and who to come out to. Everyone’s experience is unique, and the Student Wellness Center is here to support you no matter what. Check out the following events and resources for National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month: 






Tips for Creative Wellness

Do you ever find yourself struggling to find a creative outlet? As graduate and professional students, it can be challenging to find time for self-care and creativity as you work to manage and balance multiple responsibilities. However, there is not just one way to be creative – and you don’t have to be an artist to incorporate creativity into your daily life. Check out these tips and opportunities for creative wellness. 

There are many creative activities and hobbies you can do for fun! Some examples include: 

  • Arts and crafts 
  • Drawing or doodling 
  • Painting  
  • Coloring 
  • Digital/visual art and graphic design 
  • Collages 
  • Vision boards 
  • Pottery 
  • DIY projects  
  • Knitting/crocheting/sewing/cross-stitching 
  • Photography 
  • Puzzles 
  • Video games and board games 
  • Dancing 
  • Playing an instrument or singing 
  • Acting or performing 
  • Comedy 
  • Gardening 
  • Cooking and baking 
  • Writing, journaling, or blogging 
  • Interior Design 
  • Fashion 
  • Reading 

Columbus has a variety of opportunities to explore arts and culture throughout the community. Here are just a few: 

  • Wexner Center for the Arts 
  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum 
  • King Arts Complex 
  • Urban Arts Space 
  • Short North Gallery Hop 
  • Gateway Film Center 
  • The Candle Lab 
  • Table Top Game Café 
  • Columbus Museum of Art 
  • Cultural Arts Center 
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens 
  • Topiary Park 
  • Columbus Park of Roses 
  • Otherworld 
  • Thurber House 
  • Kelton House Museum and Garden  
  • Festivals and Community Events – Experience Columbus 
  • Concerts 
  • Theater performances 


  • Your self-expression is inherently creative! How you dress, style your hair, or decorate your space are all examples of creativity. 
  • Do you like spoken word, public speaking, speech and debate, or poetry?  Communication can be creative! 
  • The music and podcasts that you listen to are all elements of your own creativity and sense of self. So are your favorite movies and TV shows! 
  • Imagination and storytelling are creative. 
  • Problem-solving and strategizing involve a lot of creativity, which students are engaging in all the time! 



Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Outreach Assistant

Disordered Eating, Perfectionism, and the Graduate Student 

4 Strategies for Addressing Disordered Eating in Grad School 

One of the known factors that may cause the emergence or exacerbation of eating disorders is stress. Stress is also a part of life that many graduate students share. It is not, then, completely unsurprising that there is a link between higher eating disorder occurrence/severity and graduate education. A study published in the Journal of American College Health found that, out of the 305 graduate students surveyed, 82% had some level of body image dissatisfaction (with 36% reporting moderate to severe dissatisfaction) and 45% exhibited moderate to severe food avoidance or dietary rules in their everyday eating patterns (Parker, Lyon, & Bonner, 2010).  

Graduate students are at high risk for experiencing overwhelming stress, perfectionism, and anxiety. All three of these have been shown to increase the risk for disordered eating. For some, disordered eating behaviors become a way to feel a false sense of “control” when life becomes overwhelming. For others, the perfectionist attitude that allows them to succeed in school spills into a desire to lose weight to conform to the “perfect” body ideal.  

Here are some important reminders for any graduate student who may be experiencing body dissatisfaction or disordered eating behaviors: 

  1. You can desire success without desiring perfection. In fact, perfection will always be out of reach. You do not need to be “perfect” or “exceptional” to have the success that you’re pursuing.  
  2. Your desire to change your body may be driven by a need to feel “in control” or fulfill a need to be “perfect.” Unpacking these feelings through counseling, coaching or treatment can help enormously with recovery. 
  3. You can pursue recovery and treatment while still in graduate school. A professional will be able to help you determine what intensity of treatment you need, but for some, treatment may be possible without taking time off school. In other words—do not put off treatment or recovery just because you can’t afford to take time off. Talk to a treatment provider about your needs and concerns before making any major decisions. 
  4. You have a right to privacy around your health, but supervisors or mentors in your academic life may be able to provide support if you feel comfortable communicating with them. Faculty and staff are here to support you in your academic journey, that includes your health and well-being. Opening up to a trusted mentor could provide the additional support and connection to resources you need to work towards recovery.   

Most importantly, treatment and recovery are possible and deserved. Take a few moments to reach out to a medical professional if you feel that your relationship with food and/or your body has gotten out of control.  

Additionally there are many free and low cost Body Image and Disordered Eating resources at Ohio State including: Nutrition CoachingCounseling and Consultation Services, and the Eating Concerns Consultation Team. 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center

Recovery and Support: Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorder 

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, nearly 50% of those struggling with eating disorders also struggle with substance abuse (5 times higher than the general population) and approximately 30-35% of those with substance misuse disorders also suffer from eating disorders (11 times higher than the general population). 

While the two diseases may seem entirely unrelated, both conditions are, at their core, coping mechanisms to escape pain, anxiety, or sadness. Both disorders provide temporary “escapes” from whatever may be plaguing the sufferer, but these behaviors ultimately become all-consuming, and compulsive. 

Similarly, eating disorders and substance misuse disorders share many of the same risk factors: brain chemistry, family history, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social factors (National Eating Disorder Association).  

There are notable differences between eating disorders and substance misuse disorders, including the traditional treatment plans of both. For substance misuse disorders, abstinence from substances is considered the most effective plan of treatment. This is considered a “power over” approach to recovery. Additionally, many substance misuse recovery communities instruct the individual to claim the disease as an identity.  

On the other hand, eating disorder recovery focuses on moderating overcontrol and normalizing eating patterns (one cannot be “abstinent” from eating,) which is called a “power with” approach to recovery. Moreover, treatment almost always focuses on shifting the patient’s identity away from the disease.  

Furthermore, substance misuse disorders are characterized as chronic, non-curable medical illnesses, while eating disorders are conceptualized as curable psychiatric illnesses. 

Recovery from both eating disorders and substance misuse is possible, although patients who struggle with both may want to consider comprehensive, parallel treatment that recognizes the link between the two conditions and treats both together. Studies have shown better long-term recovery outcomes for patients who struggle with both ED and SUD when the two are treated together.  

However, these kinds of integrated treatment programs are rare (only 16% of the 351 publicly funded treatment programs for drug abuse also offer eating disorder treatment), and this disparity often leaves patients to seek treatment for the two conditions separately. Medical and psychiatric professionals are urging treatment centers to offer more comprehensive treatment options for the many people suffering from this comorbidity.  

For Ohio State students, there are many free and low cost Disordered Eating and Substance Misuse support resources at Ohio State including: Nutrition CoachingCounseling and Consultation Services, and the Eating Concerns Consultation Team as well as the Collegiate Recovery Community and the Wexner Medical Center Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Services. 

 -Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center

If Loving Your Body Feels Too Unattainable, You’re Not Alone  

When Body Neutrality May Make More Sense than Body Positivity 

In her TedTalk titled, “Our Bodies are Not an Image,” Mary Jelkovsky makes the following powerful statement: “Our bodies are not an image. They’re an experience.” The phrase “body image” is frequently used to describe how one feels about and perceives their body; however, even this phrase falls victim to perhaps one of the biggest barriers to body acceptance: the idea that our bodies are an image, a visual, an aesthetic. 

We’ve been made to think that our bodies should look a certain way, weight a certain amount, and be shaped just right, but in doing so we lose sight of the true purpose of our bodies: to move us through life and allow us to experience joy, excitement, love, and hope.  

Our bodies are not an image. They are not visual or an aesthetic. They are functional. 

Body positivity has taken social media by storm over the past few years, with influencers, activists and even brands pushing the message that you should love your body. For some, this message is empowering, uplifting, and inspiring. For others, it feels too out of reach. To go from self-hate to self-love is no easy or quick journey, and many people feel that they fall somewhere in the middle.  

 If this sounds familiar, let me introduce you to the idea of body neutrality. It’s a philosophy that emphasizes that it is absolutely okay to simply accept your body, without feeling that it is beautiful or feeling love and positivity towards it. As the name suggests, body neutrality is simply feeling neutral towards your body. You don’t hate your body, but you’re also not in love with it the way body positive influencers seem to be. You might see your body similarly to Mary Jelkovsky, in that you focus on what your body does for you over what it looks like.  

Body neutrality, importantly, leaves space for individuals who may find it especially difficult to fully love their bodies: for instance, transgender individuals may struggle with “loving” a body that doesn’t match their gender expression. Individuals who struggle with body dysmorphia may struggle because their perception of what their body looks like is frequently changing. There is room for everyone in body neutrality since it is far more accessible. 

Some examples of what body neutrality in everyday life looks like include: 

  • Exercising as a form of joyful movement (because it makes you feel good), instead of exercising as a form of punishment 
  • Eating intuitively because your body needs to be nourished in order to function in the way you want it to be 
  • Choosing to wear clothes that you are comfortable in; you may not feel “confident,” but you feel comfortable 
  • Practicing mindfulness and listening to your body when it tells you it needs sleep, rest, movement, or nourishment 

 All in all, body neutrality is a form of body acceptance that recognizes how body positivity and self-love may be unrealistic goals for some. Body neutrality may be an ending point, or just a stop along the way of your body acceptance journey. The point is that it’s YOUR journey, and body acceptance is not one-size-fits-all. 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Student Wellness Center