As we’re nearing the end of the first month back to school, are you feeling tired and overwhelmed? Instead of waiting until midterms finish or winter break to relax or letting the stress build up, why not address small, manageable problems, and not wait until they threaten to overwhelm you? Here are some self-care tips that you can follow for a healthier mind and body:
1. Stretch. Try to stretch every 1-2 hours, especially if you spend long hours at the computer. Check out some exercises you can try at the office or library.
2. At the end of the day, tell yourself three things you’ve accomplished today. They could be tiny tasks, even something like going outside for ten minutes, or telling someone you love them. While spending too long dwelling on the past isn’t a healthy mindset, we often forget to acknowledge what we’ve done…so try to be more compassionate towards yourself.
3. Write down three tasks you want to accomplish for the next day. It can be hectic trying to keep on top of your schedule, so it makes life easier to break things down into specific goals. They can be as simple as buying toothpaste or getting ready to go to the gym. Keep in mind that these goals should be specific and achievable within the span of a day.
4. Meditate and take deep breaths. If you’re a student, check out the Student Life workshop on releasing tension, or another workshop on establishing healthy sleep habits. If you are a staff or faculty, you may want to browse the Organizational Development and Learning Centre (ODLC) Work/Life Balance section.
5. Pass time with folks that support you. Often we get stuck in the same friend circle or find the familiar comfortable, even though we may not like talking or spending time with them. Try to spend time with people who value your friendship and those who have your back no matter what. Set aside time for them, because those are the people who will energize you and support you in your endeavours.
6. Drink water and help your body keep healthy. It may not seem important now but it will be for the future you! Taking care of yourself even in these tiny steps will allow you to be more productive, as your health, once lost, cannot easily be bought back by time or money. Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at any of the U of T water fountains so you aren’t drinking caffeine all day!
I used to think that continuously pushing myself and going towards my goals was the most important thing to do. I believed that the mind would always trump over matter, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Now I feel that while you can force your body to a limit, ultimately, you are intricately connected to your body’s condition and health. It makes sense to take the time and let yourself relax, and not just enjoy the process of pursuing your goals, but also enjoy the process according to your pace. Maybe you haven’t accomplished everything you wanted to today, but at the end of the day, you made a step, no matter how minuscule, towards where you want to go. For now, as long as most of my daily activities make me happy, and my goals align with what gives me joy, I’ll try not to push myself to the limit. I’ll practise self-compassion daily, slow down, take a deep breath, and sincerely acknowledge the beauty around me—the natural beauty of being present with the world.