I was balancing three jobs, four classes in the summer and five in the fall plus an executive position in my sorority. I barely had thirty minutes to eat. I was insanely stressed, my grades started to fall behind and I felt like I had lost all of my creativity. So for my last semester in school, I decided to make a change.
I used to roll my eyes at these articles. I would think, “There’s no way I can do that, I just want to sleep, blah blah blah.” But trust me when I say that you need to do this.
Just after the first day, I felt so much more energy in my body. This new routine pushed me to do more and challenge myself instead of being lazy. That first day, after feeling such a rush of creativity and energy, I decided to step away from minimalism and change my entire routine. Here’s what I did:
1. Wake up at 7 a.m. (This gave me three hours to myself before I had to go to work!)
2. DO NOT CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA. Just don’t do it. Leave your phone down for the 10 minutes it will take to start your morning. Let your mind wake up and focus on yourself.
3. Take a shower or wash your face. Instead of rolling around in bed, get up and feel refreshed for your day. You’d be surprised what a little cold water can do.
4. Drink a cup of water, then you can switch over to your morning coffee.
5. STILL DON’T CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA. Instead, read through the news. I started each day by reading The Skimm and then catching up on articles from The New York Times. Without a racing mind, I was able to understand the news, keep up with it and retain what I learned.
6. Okay, now you can check social media. But honestly, after spending 30 minutes to an hour just on me and real, tangible things, I didn’t even want to spend any time scrolling online.
7. The rest of my morning was spent brainstorming blog posts, fundraising ideas and writing goals for the week. I didn’t even plan to do this but after a calm morning, I couldn’t help but be flooded with inspiration.
1. Work out. Three days this week, I headed over to the gym around 8 p.m. after night classes and work, and spent 45 minutes to an hour there. Each day I spent more time, did more work and felt even better. My stress levels never went back up and I felt less stiff and tired each morning after the gym.
2. Drink a bottle of water before bed. Your body wants water and begs you for it in so many ways. Focusing on drinking more water for just one week, my skin looked better, I craved less coffee and didn’t get as many headaches.
3. Wash your face. I look forward to coming home at the end of the day now, to wash my face and feel refreshed and clean. It’s so easy to skip this step and just roll into bed. But it really makes a difference.
4. Drink a cup of tea. Chamomile is my favorite. A small cup before bed helps my mind feel calm, and I can close my eyes without forcing it.
5. Read instead of scrolling. Put down your phone 30 minutes before bed. I hated falling asleep with my mind racing from all of the posts and pages and snaps thrown at me. Read a book, a blog, a paper or maybe even watch a little bit of a TV show if you need to. Whatever is the most calming and minimalist way to end your night, do that.
6. Quick yoga. Right before falling asleep, I adapted a few yoga stretches to my bed. Just a quick arm stretch, bending over to touch my toes and focusing on my yogic breathing and I was ready for bed.
Each night, I was in bed, asleep by 10 p.m. I realized it was dumb to expect to wake up for work at 7 a.m. after going to sleep at midnight. So I just stopped that.
The result? I got every single thing done on my lengthy to do list, reached every single goal for my week and was a brighter, happier and extremely less negative version of myself. I noticed a change in just one day. I felt ideas pouring out of me and for the first time in a while, I felt like my old creative, take-charge self, and I loved it.
Each step—minus the gym—takes just a couple minutes out of your day. Being in college, recently graduated or even in high school can be stressful and exhausting. At least give yourself that 30 minutes every day to get your best start and best end to every day. You deserve it and trust me, you do have time for it.
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