We all need self-care, but it is harder for some than others to put aside time for themselves. In college especially, it seems every day is very go-go-go, and oftentimes I don’t realize how tired I am until I nap for four hours when I really can’t afford it. I am unfortunately one of those people who, more often than not, consider time for self-care as a waste of time. However, I do force myself to take a break from work every now and then to de-stress. Ultimately, some self-care time makes you more efficient and apt to give schoolwork your all in the long run. Here are some of my favorite methods of destressing, as a person who has to force themselves to relax.
- Listening to Instrumental music
This first method is one of my holy grails for relaxation, and I often put it into practice while I’m working. I discovered instrumental music when I first watched Interstellar in high school and fell in love with the score. I now have a Spotify playlist dedicated to instrumental music that is perfect to listen to while doing homework, or if you just want to chill. There’s something about a Hans Zimmer song that is very nostalgic to me and is immediately uplifting every time. I recommend that you go look at an instrumental playlist and see what songs you vibe with; there are literally instrumental versions of every song out there so anyone can enjoy. I am listening to a song called “The Batman” by Michael Giacchino right now, and just queued up a song called “Apollonia” from the movie The Godfather. The absence of words is nice sometimes and lets our brains take a break from a day that is filled with talking/writing.
- Spa night
Sometimes when I’m irritable during the week, I realize it’s because I haven’t been following my self-care routine in a regular manner. So, about once every week I will dedicate a night to a spa night, and I’ll basically do the bare minimum of cleaning up my eyebrows, cutting my nails, and doing a face mask followed by a long, hot shower. Although it’s the bare minimum, I do feel so much better and clean after I do these small things.
- movie night
If you’re like me, you probably consider sitting down and watching a movie a big commitment. It is two hours when you could be doing assignments after all. However, the other day I sat down with all my friends and watched a movie and we talked about it for an hour afterward, laughing and talking. Watching the movie is great in itself, but the conversations it prompts are also some of my favorite parts. If you want to be fancy, I recommend heading over to Amherst Cinema and seeing a showing of something there. Tickets are cheap for students, and it has a homey feel that is unlike any movie theatre I have ever been to.
- Journaling/Writing letters
I just really began journaling regularly, and by regularly I mean about once a month. At first, I was just doing it to document things going on in my life because I figured it would be fun to look back on, but now I use it to rant and talk about stressful things going on in my life. While I’m writing, I like to think of my stresses flowing out of me like the words on the page. Writing letters is also something I enjoy doing to relax. I recently got a cool wax seal to use on letters (inspired by Game of Thrones) and I have been mailing letters back and forth with some of my coworkers from my summer job, who I often miss. I highly recommend journaling and writing letters; receiving a letter is such a fun surprise and maybe it will prompt a conversation with someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
This one is pretty obvious. It is scientifically proven that getting outside and breathing in fresh air lifts your mood significantly. Exercises like hiking that combine the being-outside aspect with getting your endorphins up are a double whammy for mental health. It is a tad chilly now for hiking but if you bundle up you’re good to go!
I hope a fellow Type A person was inspired to relax and take a break after reading this article because YOU DESERVE IT! Never feel guilty for relaxing, as mental health is just as important as physical health.
Can’t get enough of HC UMass Amherst? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, listen to us on Spotify, like us on Facebook, and read our latest Tweets!