A Bruin’s Guide to Self Care

by Ally Chou

Photo courtesy of Rachel Tsao

During this midterm-transitioning-to-finals season, I know that fellow Bruins are becoming increasingly stressed and overwhelmed. In the midst of writing essays, studying for an exam, juggling jobs, socializing with friends, office hours and all that jazz, it is still important that you give yourself some me-time to calm the soul and make sure your body and mind are healthy. These small and quick methods that wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes of your time, are ways to take a break and feel productive, so that you can feel re-energized on the long run.

1. Make your bed

Photo courtesy of Ally Chou

Yes, make your bed! Our dorms aren’t super spacious, so it is inevitable that your bed will always be in sight. My advice is to make your bed in the morning so that the largest part of your room looks tidy. Once your room looks tidy, your mind feels organized too! Making your bed also prevents you from rolling back to sleep, which psychologically wakes you up and gets you ready to study.

2. A clean space is a clean mind

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Following the same philosophy, a good way to clear your mind is to clean your space. Having a clean space subconsciously gives your mind a clearer space to think as well. You may feel that your space is suddenly so empty, but the physical space that is cleared, also reflects your new mental clarity. Cleaning you space can mean putting your pens back in the cases they belong in, sorting through your makeup, doing your laundry, organizing your shoes — anything that makes your space look more organized.

3. Plan your day out in the morning

Photo courtesy of Ziuá Design

Another good way to clear out the messy thoughts running around your mind that says you need to do this or that today, is to write it all out on a piece of paper or even better, a planner. Start from the beginning of the day and schedule out all your tasks — whether it is in a checklist, or a timetable, or anything else that works for you! This way, you have your daily plan to stick to and follow, giving you a more straightforward idea of what your goals are and you won’t forget!

4. Throw stuff away

Photo Courtesy of Ally Chou

Ever feel like getting rid of stuff feels really cathartic? Give your mind a break by throwing the miscellaneous things you don’t actually need away. Apart from the obvious empty bottles of water that have been laying on your desk since week 3, you could also go through your clothes, your snack cabinet (we all have one of those), your mini-fridge…etc. Anything that you think you won’t miss, and that you wouldn’t ever need again, throw it away! This type of self care gives your mind some time to think about non-academic things that you’ve been cramming into your head all week. You can donate your unwanted clothes and shoes in the large American Textile bins located around the hill.

5. Stretch and take a nap

Photo courtesy of Rachel Tsao

It is important that the rest of your body (apart from your mind) feels good too. Get out of your seat and take a large stretch to loosen up the body. It is one of the most simple exercises that doesn’t require you to go out — good enough right?! Stretching is medically proven to release tension and stress from both the body and mind. Also take power naps as study breaks! Drink some coffee and go to sleep for 15 minutes, to feel more re-energized to finish your work.

Though these tips to self care may sound more like chores that you’ve been putting off, the act of completing the five tips can really clear your head and make you feel happier and stressless on the long run. Happy self-caring and good luck with studying!

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