by Nora Klein ’24 (she/ her)
Feeling burnt out and overwhelmed? Especially with the pandemic still going on, it’s probably time for you to indulge in some self-care activities to lighten a little bit of your load. One of the most important things to remember when embarking on this journey is that self-care looks different for everyone. This “how to” isn’t a step-by-step guide; it’s a list of options that you should consider to see if they’ll help you!
#1 – Take some small steps. Wash your face. Drink some water.
It’s okay if you’re not wildly productive. Even doing small things to take care of yourself or your space can be surprisingly therapeutic, and on some days it might be all you’re capable of doing. Don’t compare your self-care to anyone else’s or to what you feel like you should be doing — guilty is the opposite of what you should be feeling when practicing self-care. In fact, take the time to be immensely proud of yourself for taking those small steps. We don’t acknowledge enough how much effort it takes sometimes to take care of ourselves.
#2 – Eat healthily! (But also eat what makes you happy.)
Limiting consumption of concentrated sugars, alcohol, and caffeine limits those spikes and drops in your blood sugar and, consequently, your mood. Eating a balanced diet and foods high in fibers, omega-3s, vitamin D, and selenium are good ways to make sure you’re keeping your body healthy and happy. However, there’s no harm in also enjoying a bowl of ice cream or your favorite coffee when you’re in the mood for it!
#3 – Partake in some social activities.
It can be hard sometimes with pandemic rules surrounding you, but try to increase the time you spend in social circles. There are lots of clubs operating on campus, or you could make a point to get dinner regularly with your friends or catch up with people from class. Talking to people helps reduce stress and gives you potential outlets for pent-up emotions.
#4 – Or make some alone time!
It’s equally as important to also make time for yourself, whatever that looks like for you. Hopefully you can find a good balance between social interaction and quiet time spent in your own space. Again, that balance will be different for everyone!
#5 – Find a creative outlet.
A self-care night could look like baking, cooking, drawing, writing, dancing, or painting for you! There are endless possibilities when it comes to creativity, and for some people it’s the perfect way to take a breather and release anything that’s been detrimental to your health lately.
#6 – Set aside some time to clean your space.
Maybe you move your things into piles instead of having things spread all over your room. Maybe you dedicate time to make your bed every morning. Maybe you deep clean your entire room because that’s what helps you think best. There are so many versions of cleaning and tidying. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s version of perfect, but it’ll give you a rush to have completed some small task to neaten your space.
#7 – Be active.
Aside from helping your physical well-being, being active increases the flow of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline in your brain, which are all chemicals that make you happier and reduce anxiety.
#8 – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Even though it’s hard sometimes, prioritize your own sleep, whether that means going to bed early, waking up late, or taking naps. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night helps you function better physically and mentally, and it’s a great form of self-care!
#9 – Find some way to relax.
Relaxation is a crucial element to self-care, especially since school is often a space that doesn’t allow for much relaxation. It could take the form of setting aside time to watch a movie, taking a bath or shower, reading a book, or maybe listening to a podcast.
#10 – Unplug for a little bit.
Even though TikTok is tempting, put your phone away. Spending mindless time on technology is often detrimental to your overall well-being, and spending some time with yourself, while potentially scary, is also an excellent way to practice self-care. Also, editing who you follow on social media could be a way of practicing self-care — only expose yourself to positive things or accounts that make you and others happy!
#11 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Self-care is hard sometimes, and asking people to support you is always a good idea, whether it’s your friends, the health counselors, your family, or someone else you feel comfortable around. It really does take a village.
Self-care is about learning the things you can do to make you a better version of yourself. Do things simply because they make you feel good. Prioritize yourself! You have so many people who believe in you; make yourself one of them.