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Here at Brandeis, not only is it an expectation to double major, but being a part of at least three clubs and volunteering every week is also the norm. And that can be pretty stressful, to say the least. I know that personally, I want to completely immerse myself in the college experience, and take my passions to as many corners as I possibly can. But as exciting as that is, it’s also extremely exhausting. And surely, most of the people that rush past me each afternoon are in the same place: super enthusiastic, but also on the brink of a nervous breakdown. So, I’m here to say that YES, you can step away from your daily routine (even if just for a short while) and take care of your health and happiness.

Here are the little things that help me get through the week. Hopefully, they help you too!

1. Finding the time to breathe: It can be extremely difficult, for sure, but right when I enter my bed, I’ll place my hands on my stomach and really try to come apart. Starting the day on a good note may not be realistic, if you have an 8 a.m. especially, but ending the day on one is.

2. Enjoying little bits of warmth: I think that people underestimate the power of tea, because the way I see it, the world can’t end in total chaos so long as it’s still around. It’s the equivalent of a quiet night in or a long shower, but in a smaller dose. And hot chocolate is also extremely comforting; I feel like I’m so much more awake and level-headed when I have a glass. (It’s the only thing Sherman is good for, let’s be real.)

3. Experimenting with skincare: Speaking of quiet nights in, it’s not often that we can wrap ourselves in a blanket and shut out the world. So, instead of trying so hard to find a full day that can be spent in relaxation, you should try to enjoy a little bit here and there. That means applying a facial while you study, giving yourself a hand massage as you watch a lecture video, just treating yourself whenever you possibly can.

4. Practicing mindfulness: I’m no Tibetan monk, but I do believe that once you begin to look at the smaller details, life becomes more colorful. When you’re preparing a meal, the steps are bound to feel repetitive, so spice things up a little bit. As you scoop the yogurt into the bowl, think of the precision that was required to create that fine china. Think of how your strawberries and blueberries are going to taste, how they’ll feel on your tongue. Focus on how you sprinkle the granola at the top, and then, how loudly it crunches between your teeth. Sometimes, it’s a headache to think of everything that you have to accomplish in a day, so it’s nice to just zoom in and momentarily forget. 

5. Overall, just knowing what makes sense: Some people may fare better when they’re in a huge throng of people, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be the same way. I’m a total extrovert, but I also know that social situations can exhaust me very quickly. So instead of beating myself up about it, I excuse myself as soon as I begin to feel miserable. And you don’t have to come up with a solid excuse; just go. Don’t feel guilty for prioritizing yourself, even if it’s difficult at first.

Because at the end of it all, I’m sure you’re putting smiles on the faces of nearly everyone around you; so, make sure you’re sporting one as well. 

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