Imagine yourself waking up on a cold morning when the sky is still in the darkest shade of black and the phone alarm is viciously ringing by your side. Right when you turn off the alarm, thoughts about reality swarm your mind: Which assignment is due today? What do I need to get sorted out today? Hours of sleep, yet it still feels like nothing. After picking the very first clothes you see in your closet to wear and devouring the leftovers in the fridge, the still half-asleep you dives into the already stressful day.
Sadly, this scenario is reality for a lot of us as we approach the latter half of the Winter Quarter. With the United States going through its worst period in the fight against COVID-19 and the unimaginable pressure of managing our personal challenges alone, we have exceeded the very limits of our mental health capabilities. It is foreseeable that we will lose our sanity should these events happen any longer, if we haven’t already. But don’t worry: Even though all of the doors around us are closed, that doesn’t mean they are locked; but the key lies in ourselves.
Ever since the Winter Quarter started, most of us are not able to treat ourselves properly because we are so focused on things around us. As the latter half is coming like a storm, it is time to treat ourselves with the calming care that we all deserved. This is the reason why this article was born: To give everyone some recommendations for what I call self-care day that we students all need.
First of all, pick a day that fits you best during the week (yes, not the weekend because that is unfair to yourself!). To focus on yourself even more, request a homework postponement from your professor if you know you can’t make it on time. School is important, but it is your health that is the most important at this moment. On the day before your self-care day, try going to bed earlier than usual. Also, don’t forget to turn off that sickening alarm: Some extra sleep can drastically improve the day, and our wonderful bodies will adjust themselves to sleep just enough of what we need. Last but not least, turn off those annoying email notifications- They are the number one factor that could easily ruin your day. Other than that, you are ready for the self-care day!
As you wake up when the darkest shades of the night have already given way to the sunshine hiding under Seattle’s greyish blue sky, slowly take a deep breath and stretch yourself. Instead of immediately reaching for the phone, notice how happy you are after getting some “quality sleep”. Instead of the brutal cold shower that those life coaches make you do, stick with the shower temperature that comforts you – it will help set the tone for you to relax throughout the day. If you happen to look at yourself in the mirror, don’t feel bad if you are not in your best shape; instead, focus on how you still look strong after everything you’ve been through. After treating yourself to a great breakfast, heading outside is a great idea! Using the advantage of going out during weekdays when there are less people around, you can safely do many activities despite COVID-19 – such as shopping, trying out places that you have never been to before, or just simply walking around the block or in a nearby park. When outside, having fun is great, but don’t forget about the safety of yourself and others!
When the need of going out is settled, home is always the best place one can be. Dig into the deep corners of your home, you will be surprised how so many memories can find their way back into your thoughts! This might sound crazy, but if you see that one dusty book in the corner, clean it up and skim through it! Even though this sounds unusual, the old books helped define who you are today, including your thoughts, visions and personality. As someone who has done this before, I found out that the first books you pick will reflect what you need and fortunately, they will have many pieces of advice that will help you see the roads ahead, or at least help you get back on track.
As the darker shades of blue slowly emerge all over the sky, it could be a wonderful time to workout lightly or practice yoga. Remember, it is important to distract ourselves from reality during the self-care day. These activities will help you focus on yourself rather than what is happening around you, as you are too busy noticing your breathing patterns and your body. After that, a healthy and refreshing beverage will quench away any tiredness clinging in your mind.
To end the day, what can be better than doing your favorite activities? Playing some games or bingeing your favorite shows could wrap you up happily. Also, should you feel tempted to continue that book, it is also a great idea! Don’t hang around on social media for too long- it will bring the reality back sooner than needed. Before you fall asleep, notice how much better you feel after the self-care day, and remember everything about this experience.
As you wake up the next morning, don’t feel down because it’s going to be a while until you can have another self-care day. As my mom used to say: Everything comes and goes, and only when it goes do we realize how valuable that experience is, thus making us always looking forward to it. As we once again embrace the tough reality, know that you are refreshed and prepared, take it easy, and continue your journey.