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Reflective Rituals to Integrate into Your Back-to-School Routine

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

As the school year kicks off, carrying with it mixed feelings of stress and excitement, I ground myself in small, daily moments. In between classes and homework assignments, I’ve found that these remedies help me hit the reset button and reflect on my emotional landscape with gentle honesty. I strongly recommend any of these activities for a quick pick me up and hope that they help you embrace love, joy, and ease this semester!

  • Take a Walk (while listening to your favorite album!)

Being outside serves as a profound source of revitalization for me during times of stress. When I feel overwhelmed with assignments or responsibilities, movement acts as medicine and quick thirty-minute walks never fail to transform my day for the better. I especially recommend listening to one of your favorite albums as you walk! I’ve recently been embracing Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Sir Chloe’s Party Favors, finding inspiration and hope embedded into musical narratives. My walks, laced with fresh air and lyrical intimacy, exist as invaluable tools for insight and restoration.

  • Watch a Lighthearted Movie with a Friend

In many ways, joy manifests itself through the simple act of laughter! After a particularly long and draining day, I find relief in watching lighthearted movies or TV shows. My friend Meg and I leveraged technology during quarantine to engage in virtual New Girl watch parties and have made a weekly habit out of our viewing sessions. Laughing with Meg always helps dissipate my emotional anxieties, proving Netflix’s unparalleled ability to deliver mundane miracles.

  • Journal to Honor your Inner Thoughts

If you find your internal landscape charged with words and worries, journaling provides a judgment-free zone for navigating your innermost thoughts. I started journaling at age eleven and over the years developed an immense appreciation for pen and paper. Expelling my struggles and celebrating my accomplishments always invites emotional catharsis, allowing me to move forward with ease and levity. Furthermore, as I revisit old journal entries, I start noticing patterns in my thoughts and behaviors. Reflecting on these patterns invites me to embrace those actions that honor my highest good while altering those that consistently inflict stress and harm. This process encourages me to approach circumstances from a place of introspection and authenticity, allowing me to balance external pressures with inner grace.

  • Explore a New Hobby or Passion

To avoid falling into patterns of monotony, try incorporating new hobbies or passions into your daily routine! Although I started playing guitar at thirteen, over the past three months I rediscovered a love for songwriting and musical expression. Sitting down with my guitar encourages me to transcend everyday stresses and find comfort in solitude. Ask yourself what genuinely interests you! Maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at cooking. Maybe painting offers an outlet for artistic exploration. Maybe adventuring to new places excites you. No matter what your hobbies are, try balancing these external outlets with school and work to pursue a well-rounded and emotionally balanced life!

  • Gift Yourself Space for Spontaneity

Sometimes giving yourself permission to engage in fun and spontaneous activities can open your mind to new possibilities and thought patterns! Last week I attended a spur-of-the-whim screening of Dazed and Confused with my roommate and taking a step away from school stress served as a much-needed refresher. I returned home from the movie feeling excited and able to resume my work with enhanced productivity. Stress often indicates the need for a break; tune into your emotional body and ask yourself what you need to feel supported and grounded. If you live in Austin, check out this Instagram page for daily activities and allow yourself to thrive in community!

Chandler is a senior at UT double majoring in English and Chinese while pursuing a Certificate in Global Management. She currently serves as one of HerCampus Texas' Campus Correspondents and adores live music, dogs, friends, and mindful living ♥