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Remembering to pay attention to your mind and body can be difficult. It seems like you have a hundred different things to do, so self-care inevitably falls to the bottom of your list. In reality, you will probably be more productive and more likely to get through your to-do list if you allow yourself some time to regroup. Constantly going can take its toll, so here are 5 easy ways that you can practice self-care:

1. Volunteer

Volunteering has been proven by many scientific studies to decrease stress and increase happiness. Focusing on someone besides yourself can take your mind off of stressful things in your life, and make you feel good about doing something to help someone in need. So, find your local YMCA or Boys and Girls Club and ask how you can get involved. My favorite is volunteering at my local animal shelter. Giving back and puppies, what’s not to love?

2. Clear Your Email Inbox

It may sound a little odd, but if you’re anything like me, you have hundreds, if not thousands, of unread emails piled up in your inbox. One of the most satisfying things in the world is finally deleting those messages you know you will never read and unsubscribing to all of those stores or random websites that got your email address after you entered a contest to win Shawn Mendes tickets.

3. Read a Book

Put down the required reading and pick up that book that has been sitting on your shelf for months waiting to be read. We always feel pressured to do that reading for class, but once in a while, you should sit down and get lost in a book that you get to choose. Don’t know what to pick up? Check Goodreads based on your favorite genre or find books similar to one that you really liked. Word-of-mouth is always a good bet too! Post on social media to see what your friends and family are currently enjoying.

4. Spend Time Outside

We already know that the Sun provides vitamins for our bodies, but it also feels really good to spend a day in nature, especially after a long winter. Break out the blankets and a pair of sunnies to spend a day in the park or at the beach. Go by yourself and read a good book (see number 3!) or invite friends and toss a Frisbee to get your blood pumping!

5. Take a Nap

Too often, I hear my friends talking about how guilty they feel for taking a nap during the day. Spread the word, naps are okay! If you’re tired and have a gap between classes, head back to your dorm or find a quiet place on campus with comfy chairs to catch a 20-minute nap. Just make sure you don’t oversleep. Sleeping too long will leave you feeling even more tired than before you went to sleep.

Self-care is an important part of staying sane when life becomes overwhelming. It can be hard to push aside the things we need to do in order to practice Self-care, but don't feel guilty! When done right, self-care will make you better at all tackling all those tasks on your to-do list. Being centered and in tune with your body, mind, and spirit can make you a better friend, partner, daughter, teammate, and any other role you may need to fill. So go take that well-deserved nap. 

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Ashley Harris

Belmont '20

Ashley Harris is currently a Junior at Belmont Univerity, hailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She is majoring in Publishing with a minor in English Writing. She hopes to end up working at a publishing house in NYC, publishing books for children and young adults. She has an affinity for the Christmas/Holiday season, punk rock music, and cool tattoos. You can find her in the nearest bookstore or petting the nearest dog. She also has an ESA resuce cat named Luna!
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