A Simple Guide to a Successful Self-Care Night

At this point in the remote semester, many students are facing burnout. And rightfully so. We spend hours on Zoom, doing homework, and working, among other things. Schools like NYU have taken away spring break to attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, but for many students, this comes at the expense of mental health.

If you are like me, you likely have difficulty making time for yourself. A simple solution is to have a dedicated self-care night. Put away everything that makes you think of work, your phone, and anything that makes you unhappy. Use this night to dedicate time to yourself. 

These three steps are just a guide, and the most important thing is that you do what feels right for you. I do suggest, however, that you stay off social media for the night. 

Get In the Mood

For those who find it hard to make time for themselves, it can help get in the self-care mood. A major part of feeling good can be cleanliness. If you don’t feel completely clean, it can feel rejuvenating to take a shower or bath to begin your night. While you’re taking a shower, you can put on your favorite playlist to get in a self-care mood. After your shower, or when you begin your night, make sure to put on some comfy clothes that make you feel good. 

You can also light a candle to make your space smell good and to add some calming light. My favorite at the moment is the Love candle from Homesick. These candles can be a bit pricey, so I recommend the Love + Passion candle from the Chesapeake Bay. Once you light your candle, you can grab your favorite mug and make some decaffeinated tea! 

This part may seem like a chore, but tidy up your space. Having a clean and tidy room truly makes all the difference in your mood. People found a clean space to have a positive correlation with decreased anxiety. Once you finish cleaning, you will likely feel calmer, making a self-care night much more enjoyable. 

Do An Activity You Enjoy

Once you’re in the self-care mood, there are many options on how to spend your night. 

One option is to read a book. You can dive into a fictional story or learn more about a topic you are passionate about. My favorite books are The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam, 90s Bitch by Allison Yarrow, and You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Besides enjoying a great book, you will receive numerous health benefits such as brain strengthening, increased empathy, decreased depression and anxiety, and a longer lifespan. 

If you are incredibly burnt out and can’t imagine using the brainpower you have left to read, you can watch a movie instead. While a self-care night is best without technology, sometimes you want to lie in bed or on your couch and watch a movie. Just make sure to pick a film that makes you feel good!

If you want to do something with your hands, you can create art. Get out some pens and a coloring book or a blank piece of paper. Do you have watercolors in your home? Great! You don’t need fancy supplies, just what you have lying around. One of my favorite things to do on a self-care night is to sit by my candle, listen to music, and color in one of my coloring books. Remember, it’s not about the product. This night is about feeling good. It’s all about the process. 

An activity that is perfect for a self-care night, and every day for that matter, is journaling. Journaling looks different for each person. Some spend five minutes journaling, and others spend an hour. Some write others draw. Regardless, journaling can be a therapeutic and reflective activity that you would like when involved. It can be nice to have a single journal that you use for this purpose, I use the Muji Recycled Paper Double-Wire Notebook, and I am obsessed with it. Having a journal you love can make the journaling process more exciting. You can write about anything, but here are some suggestions to get you started.

How are you feeling today?

What made you feel good today? 

What are your intentions for tomorrow/this week/ this year?

Brain dump everything you are feeling. Let it all out. 

Wind Down

Sleep is so important! During your self-care night, try to go to bed early so that you will feel well-rested the next day. Before you go to bed, you can stretch and meditate to calm your body and get into a more relaxed state. 

Lie still on a flat surface and pay attention to your body. Where do you feel the tension? If you stretch often, you may know what stretches to do. If you don’t, you can look up some stretches, but since you shouldn’t use your phone an hour before bed, you can also move around and do what feels comfortable. 

Suppose you have a meditation practice, fantastic! If you don’t, there are many places to begin. While a phone isn’t preferable, I recommend the app Simple Habit that allows you to pick a guided meditation on mood or intention and length. If you want to stay technology-free, close your eyes, lie or sit still and let your brain wander. You never know where it will take you.

When you begin to feel tired, do your nightly routine and get in bed. Just make sure you brush your teeth and blow out your candle!