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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

In the midst of a busy semester, we all tend to overlook self-care. However, the first semester is the perfect time to make self-care a part of our daily routine. This month our editors will share simple ways that we put ourselves first to give you ideas on how to do the same.

  1. Cooking

Between working and going to school full-time, there is very little time to incorporate self-care into my life. However, to keep functioning, I have to eat. So instead of looking at cooking as a task, I look at it as a way to care for myself. 

I come from an Italian family so cooking was naturally introduced at a young age. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed I turn to cooking. Although I love to cook new recipes weekly, when I feel extra-stressed I cook my grandmother’s recipes, which aren’t measured out and require a lot of taste tests. 

My grandmother’s recipes are more complicated than a recipe you find online because you have to simply rely on your five senses and memory of what the food should taste like. However, they are “Meema’s recipes” and they will always be my favorite recipes to cook. 

So after a long day, I typically will cook recipes, either new or old, and take time to relax and watch television while I enjoy a meal I made from scratch. 

– Gianna Matassa

  1. Journaling  

Journaling is the easiest way that I keep myself sane. Life is busy, especially this semester. After working two jobs, taking a full class schedule, participating in multiple clubs and balancing a social life… kind of… I always need a way to de-stress. 

One of my favorite feelings in the world is turning my phone off for the night, lighting a candle and writing about my day. Between work and school, I am accustomed to using my computer for hours each day. The feeling of using a pen and paper at the end of the day is something that I can always count on bringing me a moment of peace. 

I start my journal with three things that I am grateful for that day. This keeps me in a positive mindset, no matter how stressful the day may have been. Then write about my day, the feelings it brought and anything I need to get off of my chest. I finish my entry with one to three things that I would like to do the next day. 

Setting a positive mindset through journaling is something that can take as little or as long as you’d like. Some nights I spend five minutes writing my basic thoughts, other nights I spend a half hour reflecting on my feelings throughout the day. If you like writing, pick up a journal and get started! 

Karlee Zolman

  1. Reading

Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I make an effort to fit some extra reading time into my schedule. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m a huge bookworm, so I try to read a little each day to keep myself sane. But with a full course load and extracurricular responsibilities, I sometimes forget to take time for myself.

Reading always feels like a little escape from reality. It lets me hit reset on my day and start fresh. Whether I have five minutes or hours to spare, reading is a reprieve from the daily stressors of life.

When I say I read to escape from the daily stressors of life, I’m talking about reading fiction. In my opinion, everyone needs to read more fiction (I promise it’s just as good for you as nonfiction.) The thing about fiction is that it’s a true escape from reality. It’s immersive and allows you to imagine the world as something other than what you can see.

With the amount of reading we’re assigned in classes, it’s important to read books, stories, and articles that interest you. Picking up a romance novel, reading an opinion article on the latest awards show, or flipping through a magazine that spurs your interest is a great way to incorporate a little bit of self-care into your daily routine.

Kaitlyn Newport

  1. Exploring the City

Self-care can be hard to fit into your daily routine when work seems never-ending… I know, all too well, the feeling of finishing one assignment just to pick up another. With school and jobs, not to mention daily tasks, like cooking and cleaning, it is important to find time for activities you enjoy.

Luckily, one of the greatest perks of going to American University is the city of Washington, D.C. With all the history, culture, and opportunities, exploring the District is my favorite form of self-care.

My go-to. spots in Washington are museums, outdoor markets, and concerts. The National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Art are great places to not only appreciate and enjoy art but also sit down in the cafe with your computer. Outdoor markets are perfect fall, weekend activities for you or a group of friends. For American University students, the Dupont Farmers Market and Georgetown Flea Market are the most accessible, but don’t forget Eastern Market and Union Market. Lastly, concerts are a great outlet and excuse to scream in a room with a group of people. With several popular concert venues in Washington and around the DMV, there are always artists in town. 

If you have an adventurous group of friends or find yourself needing a change of scenery, getting outside to explore Washington is both a rewarding self-care activity and a way to learn about your community!

– Grace Musilli

Whether you’re singing your heart out with friends at a local concert venue or cooking yourself a classic recipe for one, we hope you use this semester as a time to put yourself first.

Gianna is currently a senior at American University in Washington, D.C., and is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at American University. Gianna enjoys writing about Women's Advocacy, Politics and Pop Culture. She also loves to travel and find hole-in-the-wall restaurants in D.C.
Karlee Zolman

American '24

Karlee (she/her) is a fourth year student at American University, majoring in Journalism. This is Karlee's third year writing for Her Campus and first year as AU's print co-editor. In her free time, Karlee enjoys writing, dancing and going to concerts in DC!