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

As a university student, I know how easy it can be to forget to take care of yourself. In between all the chaos from studying, midterms, and any other extracurriculars, it’s so easy to forget to set time aside to do things that you love. However, doing things to protect your mental and physical health is key, so that you can be your best self and feel motivated to keep pushing through your busy schedule. So, let’s focus on ourselves for once and do things that make us happy! Here are some of my favourite ways to destress or unwind, especially after a super busy week at school.

  1. Going to the gym

I know how hard it can be to convince yourself to get up and go to the gym, especially in the winter. Think about how long you spend a day seated at your desk doing work, though — our bodies crave exercise and a switching of positions. For me, it can sometimes feel like a chore and be something that I dread all week long. However, once you get past the laziness and push yourself to go to the gym, you’ll see how good it feels to be putting your physical health first. Going to the gym with a friend, putting on a cute and flattering gym outfit, and crafting a good music playlist are simple ways to encourage yourself to go. Believe me when I say you will never regret a workout. 

  1. Eating healthy

I am a first-year student living on campus and can sometimes find it difficult to eat healthy foods. There is nothing more unappetizing than coming home from a long day of school just to see some bland looking salad and fruit. However, when I say eat healthy foods, I don’t mean eating just salads and fruits — I mean eating food that makes your body feel good. Making sure that you’re getting a proper amount of nutrition from your carbs, proteins, and greens is key to giving your body the fuel to get through your day. It’s also super important to listen to your body and what it’s craving. If you want that pint of ice cream, then go for it! Everything is good in moderation, and food is fuel.

3) Taking care of your skin

My personal favourite way to destress is taking care of my skin — whether through doing facials, face masks, or a more intense skincare routine. Some of my go-to face masks include the ordinary salicylic acid mask, Bioré pore strips, Origins clay masks, and Sephora brand sheet masks. These face products are relatively cheap and leave my skin soft and glowing! I am a strong believer of when you look good, you feel good, so taking time to prioritize your skin is key. Also, a side note: don’t forget to wear your sunscreen every day!

4) Hanging out with loved ones

One of my bad habits is that when I get stressed or overwhelmed with school, I tend to disconnect myself completely from my family or friends. I like to block out all potential distractions and just focus on what is important to me. However, I have realized that this is not healthy, and making time for your loved ones is very important for your mental health. Even if it’s something quick such as making plans to get dinner or watch a movie, that mental break will help to relax you and destress from all your upcoming activities. Plus, loved ones are there to support you during your hard times, so getting a laugh in with a couple of your good friends will really help to lighten up your day!

5) Sleep, sleep and more sleep

Last but definitely not least, you need your beauty rest! I know that it can be very tempting to stay up late all night studying, but you will perform much better if you get a good 7-8 hours of sleep every night. When you’re unrested, pushing through the day can seem impossible, no matter the amount of caffeine. From personal experience, being unrested makes me much more emotionally unstable, since I don’t feel like talking to anyone and anything that someone says irritates me. Take it slow, get your rest, and see how productive and motivated you will work when you’re well rested and properly energized.

Natalia Ruiz

Waterloo '26

I am a first year student at University of Waterloo studying financial management and sustainability. My interests include hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing sports, travelling and more. I was born in Canada however I am super in touch with my Colombian heritage and love showing my culture including the amazing music, dances, traditions and more.