Care For a Break?

Elena Zhang

In our world today, people of all ages are facing constant stressers. Many students are finding it difficult to keep up after returning from remote or hybrid learning.  Because of college applications, personal expectations, and constant stressors, students, especially seniors, have had a lot on their plates.

Taking care of yourself won’t just help your mood. Research shows that people who take care of themselves are more confident, build more stable relationships, and perform better due to higher focus. This means self-care won’t just help you feel better in the present moment; it also helps your long-term happiness and mental health. Here are some tips for everyone—students and adults—to decompress and take care of themselves. 

General Tips

Journaling: Whatever it is you’re thinking about, write it out. If there’s a problem that’s causing stress, try writing or doodling your thoughts down. Doing so will allow your brain to release tension from all the information you’re processing and can help you become more in tune with your feelings. It is more grounding to do this with pen and paper, but you can do it digitally if you prefer.

Mindfulness: I can’t write an article about self-care without mentioning mindfulness. You can practice some breathing exercises, focus on a sensation, or engage in self-awareness. If you are new to mindfulness, you might prefer a guided meditation with Calm, Headspace, or even a YouTube video. These exercises can refocus your mindset.

Eat properly: Eating three balanced meals a day may help you feel less tired and more attuned to reality. I’m not talking about empty calories and fats: I’m talking about a meal with the proper amount of carbs, proteins, fruits, and vegetables. The old saying, “you are what you eat” is true in some capacity. Eating more healthfully aids a person’s overall health.

A quick internet digest: Sometimes it’s good to empty your mind. Spend at most five to ten minutes scrolling through your news or social media feed. Maybe you’ll want to comment on your friend’s post or send a funny post to another. Take that time to relax, but only for a short period. Set a timer and be sure to get back to any work or other important tasks before you fall down the infinite scroll wormhole. However, this tip should be avoided if going on social media makes you sad or anxious.

Talk it out: If something weighs on you, don’t be afraid to share it with a close friend or family member. They can be there to help you through whatever problem you’re experiencing, with actions or emotional support. Don’t forget your loved ones are there to cherish you.

Take a walk: Stepping outside and getting fresh air is important to having a healthy mindset. You won’t just be getting exercise, you’ll also be spending time outside. This can help clear your head and spend time away from screens. Especially if it’s a nice day, a walk can be relaxing

Jam it out: Listen to music you find calming or rock out to your favorite songs. Many people find music to be a great source of stress relief. Stream online or listen to a CD or record. Studies have also shown the benefits of listening to classical music.

Personality-Specific Tips

Take to creation: Write a poem or create art that expresses your feelings. Any form of creativity to destress or decompress. Any writing, crafting, singing, etc. 

Read to relax: If you like reading, spending more time than you usually do reading a good book, fanfiction, or article can help you relax. 

Work out a problem: For those who like math, doing some practice problems can help, especially if it’s an interesting or challenging one.

Tidy up the corners: If you enjoy cleaning, then organize your room or house.

Dress to self-impress: Perhaps taking care of yourself means putting on your favorite clothes or wearing a nice outfit you don’t wear often.