Typically, my summers contain juggling summer school and work, with little time to focus on myself. After feeling a sense of burnout from being in school for four years straight, I made it a goal this summer to actually take a break and do more activities that leave me feeling recharged (which don’t involve scrolling on TikTok). So, this week I tried one self-care activity a day and logged my thoughts.
Day 1: Go for a long walk
One thing about me is I love checking how many steps I take daily. When I’m on campus I can easily walk 10,000 steps just from the walks between classes. Now that I’m home more often, I decided to explore my neighbourhood and go on an hour walk.
There’s something therapeutic about putting in a podcast and walking in nature. It was a sunny day, the birds were chirping, the endorphins were flowing, and I just felt GOOD after the walk! I even did a friendly nod-and-smile at a stranger crossing paths.
Day 2: Read a book
Today was the first time I read and finished a non-academic book this year! I usually enjoy reading on my commute or before bed, but haven’t found the time to sit and read for a longer period of time.
I got so into this romance novel, The Love Hypothesis, that I was determined to finish the book in one day. Reading felt so healing because it takes me back to my teenage years when I loved to read (throwback to my John Green era)!
Day 3: Paint something
Now for this activity, I was excited yet scared. I dug out my dad’s painting materials and put on a Bob Ross tutorial. For me, painting might actually be more stressful than relaxing. Unlike my dad, I have no artistic bone in my body, so this activity really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I attempted to follow along with the tutorial, and got worried when it wasn’t looking like what Bob was painting, but in the end, the final result wasn’t too bad! It did feel rewarding to uncover my creative side and paint a landscape.
Day 4: Bake something
Baking is another hobby of mine that stems back from my childhood. I love the slowness of baking, the warm smell of brown butter, and the reward of dessert! This brown-butter chocolate chip recipe is a go-to of mine.
Day 5: Meditate
I feel like I’m constantly thinking or being stimulated, whether it be with music, social media, or my own thoughts. The idea of meditation can be daunting at first, but there are many great apps like Headspace and Balance that got me started with guided breathing exercises. Recently, I’ve been meditating without the apps, and just let myself focus on my breath and notice the thoughts that come to mind. Meditation helps me to slow down, give my mind a break, and to be in the present moment.
I think the overall trend in these activities is that I used to do them, but never found the time time to do them when I get busy. Trying these self-care activities made me realize that I shouldn’t sacrifice school or work for my own well-being. When I’m busy is the time I need these activities the most! Making self-care isn’t selfish and should be a priority in order to be my best self.
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