Right now, self-care is critical for everyone—but it’s especially important for students. Regardless of what your school or job might be doing to address the coronavirus pandemic, there’s just so much in flux right now that taking a breather has become a necessary part of daily life.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, but it may require a little bit of creativity if you’re burned out on all your regular self-soothing techniques. Here are a few new ideas you may not have thought of. Get ready for some major stress relief!
Turn Off the Technology
This will likely not be fun at first—but just give it a few days. Your phone certainly has its uses, but it’s also become an onslaught of alerts, messages, and news that’s exhausting to take in. Going technology-free will make you feel better, but you’ll want to start slow. It might be something as small as hiding your phone in your accessories bag for an hour or leaving it in your room during dinner. Another dimension of this tech purge could also be “detoxing” social media, AKA getting rid of the unnecessarily negative voices in your feed. Controlling what you see every day—and limiting the stressful stuff to only what you absolutely need to know—is an enormous load off the brain.
Rent a Furry Friend
Wishing you had a pet to cuddle with? Offer to babysit a neighbor’s animal! (Even if people aren’t able to pay right now, you can always help for free.) Getting a few hours with a dog, cat, or hamster—with a lunch bag filled with treats to win them over, obviously—can offer a major boost of happy chemicals like serotonin. And this doesn’t have to be limited to floofsters; reptiles, arachnids, and other unusual pets are cool too, so long as you know how to handle them properly. As an alternative, if in-person’s not an option, load up on social media accounts that only feature your favorite creatures. You’ll feel a burst of happiness whenever you open up your phone.
If you’re a neat and tidy person, decluttering a physical space may innately offer some relief. But even if you’re not, this still might be a nice time to take care of the huge piles sitting around your room. Trust us, you’ll feel better once the mess is gone. Pro tip: As you organize, you can make it a sustainable activity by giving away old clothing and supplies to people who need it.
If this sounds like a painful process, start small—literally—by loading up a mini bag with your most important, most easily lost items: your keys, a credit card, your phone. Have it ready at the door so you never have to waste time looking for your things again.
Make a Very Specific Kind of Journal
Journaling can be awesome in all kinds of contexts, such as coming up with school and career plans—AKA how you’re going to change the world, to-do lists of important things, and random musings or story ideas. But they’re also highly effective as a tool to get out angry, frustrated, and stressful feelings. Once they’re out on the paper or screen, they don’t just live in your brain anymore. So start that “angry/frustrated/ranting” journal and save it for when the stress builds up. It’s an easy, safe release, especially if you’re stuck at home or somewhere where you can’t travel or see friends.
These activities are all about centering and learning how to be present in new ways. What other surprising and productive ways have you found to destress? Let us know on social media with the hashtag #LifeUnzipped.
By: Katherine J. Igoe