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Mental Health

#SelfCare: Your Reset Routine

Do you ever hit a point in the day when you realize you’re not going to be productive anymore?

And I don’t just mean productive work. Everybody reaches a point when they know they won’t get any more assignments done. I mean, have you ever found yourself, at 10 p.m., hitting an existential funk, and you realize that whatever happens tonight isn’t going to be particularly happy or healthy?

I’m talking about that moment.

I don’t want to invalidate those nights. They feel real. Whether you’re upset because things haven’t been going your way, or you’ve put in your best effort lately and still feel disappointed – all of that feels real.  

While your feelings are valid, I think that any conclusion they bring you to usually isn’t. No good decisions are made when you’re feeling down on yourself. Honestly, you deserve better, and your inner negative voice is a bully that doesn’t deserve your time.

When those moments happen for me, I try to acknowledge them, recognize that I’m in a funk and then go into my reset routine. This could look different for a lot of people, but I have a nice pattern that helps me change my mood and feel more like myself again that maybe others will appreciate.

Change Your Location

Sometimes you just need a different environment. Rooms will start to hold bad energy for you if you’ve been stewing in them for too long. Go clear the space and clear your head.

Exercise

We might have different opinions on working out, but after years of hating getting tired and sweaty, I found that I enjoyed exercise as a way of calming down. If my mind is getting all worked up, going to exercise and finishing a proper cool-down routine triggers my body to relax afterward. That way, in the end, I’m more at ease than before hitting the gym.

Find People or Avoid People

You know yourself. You know if you’re an extrovert or an introvert. If you haven’t seen anybody you truly care about today and that’s the sort of thing that drains you, go seek out company. If you’re the type who needs to recharge after extended interaction, go find somewhere comfortable, where you can be by yourself, so you can turn off the performance for a minute. Find your rhythm.

Take a Shower

There’s a lot of science to support this one. Not only is a shower good for making you feel clean and refreshed, but studies have shown that getting your face underwater actually triggers an evolutionary response called your Mammalian Diving Reflex. Essentially, there are specific nerves in your face that react to being underwater, causing an internal response to hold your breath and send your heart into a cool-down phase to conserve oxygen. If you’re having a panicky episode, try looking up into the showerhead; it can help balance you out.

Revisit Something Familiar

As in, very familiar. For instance, I keep my Harry Potter series close-by, and I am always ready to restart Parks & Rec at a moment’s notice. Find a series from your childhood and open it back up. It’ll ground you back in something comforting and timeless.

Go to Sleep

This one might seem obvious, but it still needs to be said. If you’ve hit a wall, go ahead and call it a day. Take some melatonin if your mind is racing, refer to steps four and five and go to sleep. Odds are, you’ll feel better in the morning with some rest. A fresh perspective can help you sort out a lot of yesterday’s problems.

Whatever method you find works for you, having a reliable pattern can really be the thing that pulls you out of your mental chaos. Discovering the tricks that work best for your brain and your body can be the key to long-term tranquility.
 
 
Ellie Baker

Chapel Hill '21

Ellie Baker is a junior studying English and Film Production and minoring in Writing for the Screen and Stage. When not working on a writing project, she can often be found buried in a sketchbook, rifling through thrift shops, or working as a pirate guide down at Bald Head Island.
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