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A Love Letter to My Townhouse: How Moving Off-Campus Has Improved My Mental Health and Self Care Routine

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As Sunday rolls around and I sleepily make my way downstairs to come face-to-face with my living room turned completely upside down, there is something weirdly comforting and therapeutic about having this space to clean. While my cozy townhouse is far from luxurious (our downstairs bathroom rarely flushes and paint covers everywhere it shouldn’t), my Sunday cleaning and tidying gives me a sense of purpose that has been lacking during the past two years in the dorms. I love having a space to keep clean and take care of, for just me and my friends. While I had the luxury of living in a single during my freshman year, only having a small half of an already tiny dorm room sophomore year made me feel so stuck. With little to clean in the first place, feeling stir-crazy was a common feeling. As cleaning is a form of self-care for me, making my bed every morning was the furthest I got, along with folding the stack of clothes that piled up on my dresser. Off-campus, I have an entire house to clean, sanitize, then top off with a Christmas-smelling candle. This bigger space, combined with more roommates, two bathrooms, routine trips out of the house, and constant laughter in the air is exactly what my mental health needed. 

Due to our lack of a dining room table in our abnormally small living room (we are convinced that we got the smallest townhouse), my three roommates and I sink into the couch after dinner for hours, giggling, crying, and commenting on the various movies that play until we trudge up the stairs for bed. My nighttime routine is clear. When 12 a.m. hits, I say my goodnights, fill up my water bottle, and go up to my room. While my skincare routine is not extensive by any means, a quick swipe of micellar water, a scrub of cleanser, and a pump of lotion does the trick, followed by brushing my teeth. I exit the bathroom and settle with a few chapters of a book, then I get lost in my TikTok feed. This consistency is key, and an essential part of my self-care routine. 

In addition to this routine, long showers in the mornings are the time when I am the most reflective, in addition to doing my makeup on the weekends. Spending time with myself and taking time to take care of myself, my hygiene, and my appearance allows me to think clearly. 

While I am fully aware that there are a plethora of other things that I could be doing to better my self-care, like deleting TikTok, this is what works for my current lifestyle, which is jam-packed with classes until 5:15 p.m. every day. This bigger space to exist in, along with the support system, and love of my three roommates makes coming home to them the best part of each day.

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Anais Clinch

U Mass Amherst '24

Anais is a junior honors psychology major and education minor.