Practical self-care tips for the winter quarter

It seems like self-care has become slang for undertaking the most impractical activities these days. What once served as a reminder to take time for oneself amid the hustle and bustle of work and school, now acts as a term for indulging in unhealthy, and sometimes even self-destructive, behavior. 

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Even if you don’t have time to recuperate or practice mindfulness regularly, I invite you to carve out a small window each day to practice these reasonable acts of physical and mental betterment. 

Clean your room once a week

Few look forward to cleaning their room, but I’m telling you, maintaining a clean room can make a difference in both productivity and your overall outlook on life. It can be challenging to find the time, or even bring yourself to do it, during the week and weekend, but once you set a specific day and time, cleaning can quickly become a set aspect within your routine. 

Prioritize sleep 

Speaking of your room, start making sleep a priority! I’m not telling you to drop everything and get eight hours every night, but you should aim for six at the very minimum. Not only can an adequate amount of sleep aid in managing stress and improving immune function, but setting a designated sleep and wake time can help you build a concrete routine amid the chaos of the school and workweek. 

Make a routine 

No, you don’t have to budget time for every moment of your day, but regularly setting aside an hour or so a few times a week to exercise or complete homework for a specific class can make a world of difference when it comes to staying on top of both your grades and physical well-being. I find the best way to start a routine is by making a daily list of tasks you will accomplish each day and checking them off as you go. Furthermore, maintaining a routine makes prioritizing deadlines much more manageable while allowing yourself time for things beyond responsibilities. 

Take time for hobbies

Again, making time for pleasurable pastimes isn’t always achievable every day. However, by taking 30 minutes to an hour every few days to work on a project, catch up on a TV show or read for fun, I guarantee you won’t feel as burnt out or frayed as before. Plus, engaging in hobbies can leave you with a sense of accomplishment and willingness to achieve whatever comes next. 

Make sure you’re eating enough 

I would say strive to eat healthily, but let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to make time for three solid meals during the day as it is. Yet, even if it’s eating breakfast before your 9:40 a.m. class, I guarantee you will have more energy and patience to get through the day. Not only can being calorically satiated improve your cognitive function, but it also makes you more enjoyable to be around because there is nothing worse than being hangry. 

Step out of your comfort zone 

While this bit of advice requires some physical and mental movement, there are few things as rewarding as stepping outside your comfort zone. As I always think of it, you cannot grow complacent, so apply for that job you don’t think you’ll get or say yes to spontaneous plans! As long as nobody gets hurt, don’t be afraid to live a little outside of your responsibilities. 

Embrace doing nothing 

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you work, you’ll always be behind. Maybe it’s true, perhaps it isn’t, but remember that the success of others does not impact your own and that you don’t need to work every minute of every day. Take one day a week or every other week to do nothing. Don’t leave the house or go out of your way to solve other people’s problems. Your achievements are enough, so who cares if you spend the day in bed?