Growing up, my family had many traditions. Eating pancakes every Friday night, our annual camping trip to Cades Cove (if you don’t know where that is, look it up. It’s pretty awesome) and family worship each evening. One thing we’d do after worship was go around the room and everyone would say three good things that happened to them or what they were thankful for. This was my mom’s way of keeping our attitude towards life positive.
With a new semester just beginning and New Years Day not too far behind us, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want to change this semester. One improvement I’d like to make is putting a greater focus on my mental health. I think a lot of us, or at least I know I do, forget to set aside time for ourselves. We don’t cut out time from our busy schedules to recharge our own batteries.
For me, taking 17 credits, writing for the Clocktower, work, participating in student senate and gymnastics doesn’t seem to allow me much time to just relax. This can be hard to do, but I think it’s really important. Without “me time,” the frustrations and stress coming at us each day can become too much. This “me time” doesn’t have to be long. Just taking 30 minutes each day to forget about your long to-do-list can make a difference. Here are a few ideas you can try:
Take a walk outside and get some fresh air.
Start a journal. Writing down your thoughts can be a great stress reliever.
Exercise, whether it be running, swimming or whatever you like. Make sure you actually enjoy doing it or it’ll become just another thing on your to-do-list.
Do something for someone else. You could bake them cookies, give them a note to cheer up their day, give someone a back massage or even just taking time to listen to someone.
Make a list of all the positive things that happen to you and what you’re thankful for.
Doing one of these things each day can really boost your spirit. It’ll focus your brain on the positive things and then the next time you face something challenging, like a really long paper or a huge exam, you’ll be able to handle it better because your batteries will be charged.
Lena Wilkie is a sophomore studying international rescue and relief.