This first month of the semester has been highly stressful for me, and as I check in with my friends I realize that everyone seems super drained lately. It is always easiest to be the harshest critic of yourself, but please take it easy. Your physical and mental well-being are paramount to anything else happening in your life as they dictate and direct all other aspects of your life. If you are not taking adequate care of yourself, how do you expect to have the energy to put into things like school, work, or even relationships? This post was made as a gentle reminder to practice self-care. I have outlined some ways that I manage my time, distress, and a simple check-in you can do when times get challenging.
In my blog post last year, I talked about Notion and Google Calendar which I continue to use on a daily basis (I highly suggest you check it out since these two basically manage my whole life). Atop those two organizational hacks, I also was gifted a large whiteboard calendar which has been a game changer. I use this for big assignments and tests, as well as important dates for birthdays, events, appointments, etc. Doing this makes sure it isn’t lost in my Google calendar which has more events, including work and school times, which does not allow for the big assignments to stand out. Having this in my room reminds me of what is going on in my life and allows me to plan for them. At the end of the month, I just erase what is on it and replace it with new dates and events which makes it easy and satisfying!
Destressing is something that is often forgotten to do, especially with a heavy course load and work. It took me the first few weeks of the semester to realize I was burning out and needed to incorporate blocks of time dedicated to destressing, to ensure I prevent full burnout. There are so many activities that you can do to destress so I will only provide a few of my favorites right now. My favorite out of the few is taking some time to do physical activity. In your tuition, you already pay for the gym facilities on campus so you may as well use them! I have yet to check out the on-campus facilities, but I have a gym membership which I use to let out some stress and keep my physical health in check. You can also go for a nice walk outside for some fresh air, or even a hike if you are feeling ambitious! Another easy thing to do is throw on a movie, or start a TV series. This allows you to just watch something without having to worry about focusing on the information or really understanding it. Lastly, make time to just go out with friends and socialize. It may also be helpful to meet with friends to study together and then go out after as a celebration. These are only three things that can easily be incorporated into your day, out of multiple other ways- it all just depends on what YOU enjoy and find relaxing.
Checking in with yourself is something that is not done enough by many people, including myself. It is similar to checking in with your friends, but rather just asking yourself questions. This can be done mentally, on a scrap piece of paper that you crumble up afterwards, or you can even start journaling which is another great way to keep your mental health in check. Some questions to ask could be:
1. How am I feeling? If I am overwhelmed, can I plan what I am most stressed about out or do I need a second to destress and recoup?
2. When was the last time I had a full meal or drank a glass of water? (food and water are fuel and essential for your health!)
3. What is something I am proud of completing recently? (even if this is something small, it is still an accomplishment!)
4. What am I going to be doing next?
I hope that after reading this, you realize how important it is to be there for yourself before anything or anyone else. It is not selfish to take time to care for yourself, it is significant. After reading this, grab a glass of water or some food, check in with yourself, and get prepared for whatever your day has in store for you. Take care and be easy on yourself.