With midterms rapidly approaching, it can be a stressful season for many. But before you can take care of the tasks on your docket, you first need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Self care is not selfish, and can be necessary for providing the clear-headedness and mental focus needed to be efficient.
One way that you can de-stress is by taking advantage of all the beautiful nature in Washington State. Hiking, biking and plenty of other outdoor recreational activities can be great options for taking a load off and unplugging for a while. Some great spots include our Washington State National Parks or these fan-favorite locations offered by a local blog. If being outdoorsy isn’t your thing, even a short walk around your neighborhood can do wonders. Try bringing along a friend. I find that when I chat with my friends, a thirty-minute walk turns into multiple hours in the blink of an eye.
Another tried-and-true way to cool down is to get moving. It should go without saying that even light exercise is not only greatly beneficial for your physical health, but improves your mental state and boosts energy levels. While working out to calm down might seem counterintuitive, NYU Med says that the benefits of exercise “include better memory, happier mood, decreased anxiety, and improved motor performance.” If you’re looking to get your heart pumping, visit a local gym, go for a run, or locate one of the many community centers near you that has athletic facilities.
Lastly, this wouldn’t be a list about de-stressing without mentioning the plethora of at-home ways to stay mindful. One example of this is meditation, which can be done by yourself or with the assistance of meditation apps or meditation podcasts. This, along with other mindfulness methods like yoga or aromatherapy can be shortcuts to making yourself more calm and focused. Another low-demand way to help yourself calm is by setting aside specific time for self-care. Even an hour or two per day, or perhaps thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes at night set aside for an activity you enjoy can have great long-term benefits. It can act as a source of motivation and grounding; I like knowing that no matter what happens during the day, I always set aside thirty minutes before bed to read.
You deserve time for yourself, especially in stressful periods of your life. Remember that self-care is a process and it won’t always be perfect. There have been times in my life where I’ve had to sacrifice self-care over schoolwork and other tasks, and sometimes, there is simply no way around it. But I still firmly believe that with proper time management and adequate self-care, we will all be better for it in the long run: better students, better workers, better friends, family members and better selves.