Author holding cookies

#JoyatUofT-Why self-care habits are bringing me joy this winter

My feet have been completely wet for the last 5 hours after having waded through melting snow puddles. Oh, and I got sprayed with slush by a giant truck after having to get off a dysfunctional streetcar and waiting in the cold for twenty minutes. Needless to say, my joy levels have been a little bit lower than average today. Unfortunately, I’m sure many students (and Canadians!) can relate to this winter struggle. It can be really hard to keep your spirits up, especially on dreary, wet, and slushy days, but often that’s when it’s most important. The February blues are hitting us hard this winter, and when we’re feeling down, it can be easy to wallow in our self-pity and simply try to “get through” until spring rolls around. But there are so many ways we can add little boosts of joy into our daily lives to lift our spirits and keep us in a positive mood! This week is #JoyatUofT, and a few things that brings me joy are my self-care habits. Hitting the Gym When I’m cold and grumpy, the very last thing I want to do is work out. But this winter I’ve been trying to keep up with my gym habits and continue working out, even when I really don’t feel like it. Lately I’ve been running on the elliptical, and have been feeling so good! I feel so much better after getting my heart rate up and breaking a sweat, and proud that I pushed myself even when I didn’t want to. Keeping up with this habit makes me feel more grounded in a routine, which in a way helps me feel more control over my life. Most importantly, I truly enjoy myself when I’m there. The sense of accomplishment I feel when I run for just a little longer each day is gratifying, and makes me want to do it again the next day. Eating Well (or Not So Well) Another self care practice that brings me joy is eating. (Is eating considered self-care? I’m going with yes!) Nourishing my body and taking care of myself is something I’ve been trying to be better about this year. Lately, I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables and be conscious of what types of foods I’m eating, because I’ve noticed that I feel better when I eat cleaner. But let’s face it—sometimes you just need to treat yourself! I do my fair share of indulging, and have a major sweet tooth. Sometimes, curling up with some cookies and candy at the end of a long day is exactly what we all need, and there’s no shame in that. Curling up in my favorite pajamas with a hot cup of tea and a few cookies is one of my routines that has consistently brought me joy. (Who doesn’t feel joy when they’re biting into a cookie?!) Taking Time for Myself Every night, I like to save myself one hour to just relax. I don’t respond to texts, I stop worrying about assignments, and I simply let myself have that time to do whatever it may be that I feel like. I might paint my nails, or read a few chapters of my book, or watch music videos on Youtube. Whatever it is that I’m doing, I make sure that I’m fully invested in it, and truly allow myself the freedom to have that time just for myself. We often neglect self-care, and some people even view it as selfish. But taking care of myself and dedicating time to enjoy the little things in life like a good book or painting my nails is important to my mental health, and is something that has consistently brought me joy. I can’t control the Canadian weather, but I can control whether or not I’m choosing to make time for joy. Now, excuse me while I grab my cookies and cue up my Netflix…J

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