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How to practice self-care

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How to practice self-care

Fill your head with words, not worries. Reading is a useful tool when you're looking to take your mind off, well, anything–whether it's a text left on

Fill your head with words, not worries. Reading is a useful tool when you're looking to take your mind off, well, anything–whether it's a text left on "read" or an unfinished calculus test.

Prameela Kottapalli

Fill your head with words, not worries. Reading is a useful tool when you're looking to take your mind off, well, anything–whether it's a text left on "read" or an unfinished calculus test.

Prameela Kottapalli

Prameela Kottapalli

Fill your head with words, not worries. Reading is a useful tool when you're looking to take your mind off, well, anything–whether it's a text left on "read" or an unfinished calculus test.

by Prameela Kottapalli, Winged Post Features Editor

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It’s come to that point in the semester. The days are longer, the nights are shorter, and school feels harder. Freshman year finally starts to feel like high school. Sophomore year, for many, brings the foreboding promise of the first round of AP exams. Junior year is, well, junior year. Evening skies melt into darkness as we pull all-nighters to place the finishing touches on literary theory essays; the dreaded chime of the 6 a.m. alarm clock tolls as we roll out of bed to study for that first-period calc exam. For those of us who participate in extracurricular activities, that 3 p.m. dismissal bell brings no guarantee of a brief respite from a busy day–and, of course, there’s always homework to be done.

Grouping all of this alongside the struggles of the everyday teenager leaves little room to breathe. We all know the remedy: slow down, cherish the quiet moments, stop and smell the roses. But what do any of these hackneyed proverbs mean? How does one stop and smell the roses?

  1. Do what you love–it’s the best way to avoid premature “burnout.” Take the elective classes that you truly enjoy, not the ones that’ll provide you with a nominal GPA boost. Sign-up for that courses you’ve always wanted to take since freshman year. Whether it’s a study-of you never had the chance to take, an extra math class you somehow find compelling, or stone-carving, do it. Everything else will fall in place.
  2. Relax on weekdays. Many of us push ourselves to the brink of our capabilities on school nights, barely having enough time to sit down and eat dinner. That’s not healthy. So on those rare evenings of light homework and extracurriculars, take a breath. Nap. Watch a Netflix movie. Go out to a casual restaurant with your family. Don’t restrict your leisure time to the weekends.
  3. Take baths. I know, it sounds strange–but there are few things that feel as self-indulgent as immersing yourself in a tub of warm, chamomile-scented water (with bubbles, potentially).
  4. Read. Whether it’s a novel, a comic book, or a magazine, reading is an excellent way to take your mind away from stressful obligations. Fill your head with words, not troubling thoughts.
  5. Eat well. Enjoy your food, and take time to enjoy it. Don’t just grab a granola bar in the morning to munch on in the car. Pour yourself a bowl of cereal, sit down at your kitchen table and scroll through your instagram feed. At lunch, don’t always make yourself a haphazard, two-minute sandwich. Stand in line with a friend for a full-course meal at Manzanita.
  6. Exercise. Endorphins don’t just make you feel happier, but they elevate your productivity. That may not mean you’ll get all of your work done ahead of time, but hey, at least you’ll feel energized while procrastinating.

Maybe these methods won’t suit you perfectly. We all have different lifestyles, different schedules, different interests. But even if it’s just taking a few extra minutes to enjoy your breakfast or going on a thirty-minute jog through your neighborhood at 4 p.m., self-care can only make this point in the semester–and for that matter, all points–go by a lot smoother.

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