I Started Taking Afternoon Walks, And You Should, Too

College can be overwhelming, especially during the spring. Class, work, extracurriculars, and all your other worries start to build on top of you, and the only thing you seem to be able to do is count down the days until summer arrives. I’ll be the first to admit that this semester has definitely hit me much harder than I expected it to, and I’m willing to bet that many of you out there are experiencing the same thing. So, I’m going to share with you my secret for peace of mind in college.

Since I’ve started living in a freshman dorm, I’ve found it’s really hard to find any alone time unless you’re willing to spend an hour or two in the community bathrooms (which, if you’ve ever seen one, you know that’s a less than desirable option). A few weeks ago, though, I was heading back to my dorm, listening to music, and instead of entering the building, I just kept walking. I found myself making my way all the way up through North Campus and back down again, and since then, I’ve started taking afternoon walks every day after class. Here are the three things I’ve learned:

1. It’s a simple way to relax after a hard day.

Most of my weekdays are packed full of things to do. If I’m not in class, I’m attending extracurriculars, and if I’m not at extracurriculars, I’m either doing homework, laundry, etc. My life is essentially a constant stream of "go, go, go" all the time, so it’s nice to be able to take a 30 minute break to just untense and leisurely stroll around while taking in the beauty of campus in the springtime.

2. It gives you time to think.

When you’re taking walks, especially if you have headphones in, no one stops to bother you or try to talk to you or really even look at you. For me, this makes these personal strolls the best time to just be alone with my thoughts. Sometimes, I’ll run through the new list of Italian vocabulary I learned that day. Other times, I’ll cook up a new adventure to go on with my friends. Most days, however, it’s just a time for me to declutter my thoughts at the end of the day.

3. It does wonders for your mental health.

I’m someone who gets very stressed out very easily, and this semester has not been any different. Since I’ve started taking these walks, I’ve noticed a decrease in how preoccupied I am. That’s not to say that I’m completely stress-free (nor do I think I ever will be), but taking the time to actually breathe for just a little while each day really helps me to take a step back and enjoy the little victories of the day.

Whether you need a little time and space alone or you just want to spend a few more minutes with your music, I hope you all will consider taking a mere 20-30 minutes out of your day all for yourself. This self-care tactic worked miracles for me, and I know it’ll do the same for you!