It’s so important to take time out for self-care. I know it’s hard – I feel guilty for using time time for myself rather than something productive like studying – but it’s beneficial so that you can come back (to whatever you’re doing) stronger, more creative, more focused, you name it.
1. Attend Yoga Classes
I already know what you’re saying. “It’s too expensive”, “I just don’t have the time for that”, “it’s useless, I’ve tried”. I used to think the same until I signed up for a trial and started going diligently to get my money’s worth. You can’t expect to feel good about just one lesson, it takes a bit of time. What I’m saying is that I don’t feel an immediate change right after, but I came to realise the accumulation of all the lessons I’ve been to actually taught me something. What I mean is that I no longer need prompting on focusing on my breathing, I feel more in control of my body, and I already feel slightly more flexible after maybe, only four lessons. This reflected in my daily life, I am more aware when I slouch so I watch my posture; when I’m walking on the streets I focus on my breathing, trying to breathe deeper rather than let my mind wander, where we know nothing good comes out of. Some days, the classes just don’t sit well or I’m way too distracted but the main thing that comes out from even the bad days is that you took an hour out from that day for yourself. And it feels good to know that you’re taking steps to do good for yourself.
2.Hit The Gym
Get a gym membership. Just do it. If you can’t fall asleep; if you need a breather, hit the gym. I was never an active person growing up but I’ve since discovered the joy of going to the gym. I hate cardio so I’ll never be able to bring myself to go running, but the gym is different. Lifting weights require a different sort of push from your stamina that comes from running. There are so many ways to go about at the gym: people who are looking to become bigger, people who want to build muscle while staying lean, people looking to lose weight. It all boils down to a calculated weight (that you’ll be lifting) to a calculated number of reps and sets. It’s pretty complicated, and that’s exactly what you want – to be able to focus on something else. That, coupled with the fact at your body changing becoming tighter, firmer, something better than it used to be, the seeds you sow are oh so sweet.
3. Be Around Your Family And Friends
Humans are sociable beings. Don’t even try to argue your way out of this, introverts. I know you need your time alone, but more often than not, the ones close to you already understand how you’re like so you don’t have to worry about draining yourself when you’re with them. You could even just chill together whilst both using your phones or reading, anything but talking to each other but the main factor being their presence. It makes a difference even if you think you can’t feel it in the moment. Besides, it’s always good to ramble and let things out and you can’t do that if you’re alone.
4. Clean Your Room/Work Area
I’m not a tidy person, and I’m sure most of you can relate. I’ve come to realise I procrastinate by cleaning up and it always, always makes me feel better so now, whenever I have things on my mind that is bothering me without a clear sense of solution, I clean. I wash the dishes, clean the tables and counters, vacuum the floors, scrub the toilet’s tiles. It’s instant gratification, (what we are all up about, right?) you put in the work, you see the sparkling tiles grinning right back at you. Sure feels good to know you did that.
5. Kon Mari Your Wardrobe
Weirdly enough, I’ve never actually been sat down to be taught about the skills of folding my clothes. I watched my mum do it, tried to copy it and came up with a somewhat satisfactory stack of folded garments. No one has actually ever talked about it and I assumed some people were just naturally more gifted – my brother irons his clothes super well while I leave the ironing board with at least one stubborn wrinkle on each clothing item. When the netflix series came out and I watched Marie Kondo fold though, my OCD self relished in her organised drawers and was ashamed I folded half my clothes in a different, less neat way. I spent almost an entire week, give or take, tidying my wardrobe and now I spend significantly less time in the morning deciding what to wear. Truly life-changing.
6. Learn A New Skill
This could be anything. If you’re already choosing to start exercising more, it counts too, although I was thinking more specifically of additional classes that requires you meeting new people. For example, flower arrangement or pottery or painting. Putting yourself out there, finding out what you can or cannot do helps with self-discovery and that only helps with knowing where your strengths lie. Meeting new people also puts things in perspective for you, and you’ll emerge with newfound sense of passion towards what you’re doing, or not, and find something else to pursue, so what’s not to like?
7. Give Back
If you’ve konmari-ed your wardrobe, or after tidying up your space, you’ve found a couple of things or books that you may not need anymore, drop them off at your local Salvation Army. Giving back, shamefully and maybe ironically as well, is something that makes us feel good. It’s great knowing someone can benefit from the things that you have no use for anymore, and it reduces waste and so on. There are also plenty of Facebook Groups or University Clubs about charity or even your church that give back, so look them up if you have nothing much to donate.
8. Cook/ Grocery Shop/ Eat Well
You are what you eat has never been more apt here. It’s been scientifically proven that if you eat trash, you’re gonna feel like, well, trash so your mother wasn’t lying when she forces you to eat certain food that are “good for you” because it’s gonna reflect outwards while nourishing you. Going out to the supermarket and choosing your food then going home to prepare a good meal for yourself can also be therapeutic, in the sense that you’re taking matters into your own hands and accomplishing something.
9. Hole Up In Your Safe Space
Be it in your room, in a secret spot at work or in uni. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want. Binge watch one season of The Bachelor’s, watch movies that you’ve been wanting to watch, sleep or eat all you want. You deserve to let loose too.
10. Take A Break From Social Media
We’re all too familiar with the detrimental effects of social media on us. Be it body, self esteem, mental health issues. Taking a break and I mean deactivating your accounts or deleting the apps from your phone, so you won’t be tempted or slip up, will only prove that you don’t need to be checking it that frequently. You’ll realise you have a lot more time on hand and you can spend that time on yourself. You’ll realise you don’t really need to know where your friend Sarah is travelling to, or what brunch places Charlene is at. Maybe you’ll even stay permanently off social media, who knows?
If you absolutely cannot find time to do the above, at least take a 10 minutes break. Because as David Burkus of Harvard Business Review talks about how breaks lead to creative breakthroughs,”focusing on something else entirely gives the mind some time to release its fixation on the same solutions and let the old pathways fade from memory. Then, when you return to the original problem, your mind is more open to new possibilities — eureka moments”. If you don’t care for yourself, who else will?