My Five Favourite Self-Care Activities

In the midst of midterms, taking a refreshing break can often be the last thing on students’ minds. We may take procrastination breaks all the time — YouTube videos, Buzzfeed, scrolling through social media — and these are definitely valid in their own way. However, I find that more than a half hour of such activities often leaves me feeling guilty or more stressed. Instead, allotting the same amount of time for a calming, self-care activity tends to make me feel much more at ease. Here are several of my favourite ways to temporarily detach from work.

  1. Taking a bath. One of my favourite feelings in the world is sinking into a tub of hot water. Taking a bath is a wonderful, low-commitment de-stressor because I can bring a book along and do my readings in a more relaxed atmosphere. Usually, I like to choose a fun, enjoyable novel, and since I am an English major, this works out. Sometimes, a change of environment is all it takes to refocus. In this way, I get to relax without feeling too guilty about abandoning work.
Book and mug on bathtub tray


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My Dates with Myself

I’m think I am an introvert, I probably always have been. I try not to shy away from it anymore because I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Also, I think a lot of people misunderstand what introversion means. It can mean “a shy person” but I like to think that the psychological definition of introversion is much more relevant: 

“a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings

This makes a lot more sense to me; I’m not a quite person because I have nothing to say or I’m scared to say it but more so because I’m taking everyone’s inputs in and assessing my own thoughts first. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need to have other people around in order to feel happy, energized or active. I’m perfectly content spending a weekend with myself, just going about daily life and reading a book or two (or 10). I like listening to my music and staring into space (or simply staring into space). 

View of Huron Street from Sid Smith Lounge

Chilling in the Sid Smith Lounge and “people-watching” (a fancy term for staring into space)

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Finding Fitness at U of T (Without Joining a Single Organized Sport)

When I entered university, I was determined to take advantage of all the physical fitness resources available and undo the drastic drop in athleticism that had occurred during my teenage years. In grade six, I had found joy in doing laps at the U of T Athletic Centre pool every weekend. However, when puberty hit, and sports teams became increasingly ‘exclusive’, I grew self-conscious and made every effort to skip out on gym. Throughout high school, I only voluntarily participated in two sports: fencing (a one week long U of T summer camp) and archery.

Girl practicing archery

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The world doesn’t revolve around me?

One of the things about being a university student is that you start to say, “OH SO I’m NOT the only one who…”. When I was in high school, I felt like I was the only one around who cared about the environment or that I was the only one who enjoyed classical music. With a group only 800 students in the whole school and around 200 in my grade, it really was difficult to see diversity. Not to mention, everyone in my grade came from the same neighbourhood and likely grew up there their whole lives so we tended to focus on the similarities between us and our peers while ignoring the parts of us that make us different. 

huron and harbord intersection

When I started at U of T, one of the largest and most renowned schools in Canada, and lived in the city, I truly saw the world from a diverse lens for the first time. Concepts like accessibility, citizenship status, equity and intersectionality were either not in my vocabulary radar or I hadn’t thought about them on a larger scale whatsoever; I had a pretty narrow view of the world which was shaped by what was immediately around me. I also didn’t use the Internet in order to keep up my grades for university. After coming to university, I started realizing my own privilege and found the ways that I could make a difference in the community using that privilege but most importantly, I found communities that eliminated any misconception I had had about being “the only one who…”.

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Self-Care Queen at U of T

It’s only a month into school and midterms are hitting us already. In my agenda, there is this backlog of assignments and all the due dates happen to fall within the same week. It happens every year and I’m always looking for more tips on how to stay positive during this time.

this is me at 2 years old and ice-cream is still the only thing that makes me completely stress-free!

this is me at 2 years old and ice-cream is still the only thing that makes me completely stress-free!

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Reconnecting at the Hart House $5 Lunch

Between classes, Orientation week, and illness, I hadn’t gotten a chance to hang out with my best friend Julie for weeks. Our lunch dates kept getting postponed, so I was pleasantly surprised when I mentioned going to the $5 Hart House lunch yesterday and her schedule lined up.

We met outside the Great Hall just after 1 p.m., and although the lunch was set to end at 2 p.m., there was still a large line-up of students and plenty of food. Both of us took the vegetarian option — Greek salad, pita, rice, and a wonderful main of baked eggplant and lentils — although the lemon-oregano chicken sounded delicious as well. The three-course meal felt so refreshing, particularly since healthy inexpensive food is so difficult to find on campus. It left me full, but not at all bloated or uncomfortable as food truck lunches usually do.

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(Barely) Imparting Senior Student Wisdom

Hello new semester! Don’t you just love the buzz around campus this time of year? You know, its that time in the semester where midterms haven’t taken over life yet, the weather is still amazing and you have a whole new batch of stationary to play with. Okay, that last one only applies to me and a handful of very cool people.

It’s also that time of year where I usually make tons of new goals and try extra hard to get this whole studying thing right.


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Coming Home to Caffiends

When I got back on campus at the end of Orientation, the first thing I did was visit Caffiends, Victoria College’s student-run fair-trade café, located on the first floor of Old Vic, the college’s castle-like building. As always, stepping into the cozy room felt like going home in a way that no other place on campus quite managed to rival.

Coffee cup on a table in Caffiends

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The Start of a Great Journey!

Picture of yours truly with my archaeological finding!

Oh, the excitement of our first discovery at the Drawsko site in Poland! Credit: Danielle Donnelly








Hey there! My name is Meimei and I’m excited to join this AWESOME group of Life @ U of T bloggers for the upcoming school year. I am SUPER EXCITED to blog about our awesome university and events that take place on-campus! And of course share my experiences at U of T with you!  Yay! As this is my first blog post of the year, a brief introduction is in order! You can learn more about me and my fellow bloggers if you click on the Crew tab – go ahead, you won’t regret it!

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