1. Watching Netflix and not feeling guilty about it.
Honestly sometimes I just need a mental break from homework, people, and life in general, and one of the best ways for me to do that is by watching Netflix. And not just anything on Netflix, but shows or movies that don’t require me to think, or intellectually stimulate me in any way. Just good, plain old, mindless TV that will make me happy, or just take my mind off of whatever I’m going through at the moment. If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with Jane the Virgin, and how happy it makes me (see my article on the reasons why I was so excited for the third season to start), but I’ve also been watching a lot of Bob’s Burgers and I am just obsessed. I find it really nice to watch a quick, twenty-five to thirty minute show before bed to unwind from the day, have a laugh, and procrastinate just a little bit more on all the sleep I need (but never seem to get just enough of).
2. Napping whenever and wherever I need it.
I am a firm believer in the power of the nap, so I have no shame in napping whenever and wherever I deem necessary. Being someone who often has early mornings, and very, very long nights, in general I have long days filled with classes, practices, meetings, and just about everything between. Given my crazy schedule, I am extremely tired at times, to the point where I know that the only way I can be productive in anything I do is to just take a nap and try to recharge. If I’m right in the middle of a ton of work, my short naps are usually at a desk in the library, and between three and five minutes (my favorite napping song is Fly Before you Fall by the amazing Cynthia Erivo, and that’s exactly 3:02). But, if I have a little bit more time and I know I have multiple hours of homework or practice ahead of me, I usually just head back to my room and have a nice thirty minute to hour long date with my pillow. For some people, naps that long are too much, but for me, that’s just about the right amount of time to rejuvenate and get back to whatever I need to do.
3. Calling it quits sometimes and just going to bed.
I’m sure a lot of college students have had the struggle where they’re up extremely late trying to get work done, but they’re so tired that they can barely be productive at anything. I’ve had my share of these nights, and I know how bad it can get. There’s been plenty of times when I was up late reading so much that all the words just started to become blurry and I was retaining zero information. So, this year I decided I would try not to push myself like this anymore. These days, if I’m extremely tired to the point where I’m not even getting any real work done, I just call it a day and go to bed. More often than not, there’s always some way I can find time to cram in the work the next day, so sometimes it’s not even worth to try to strain my eyes and get in a few more pages. Annoyingly enough, our bodies need sleep and I can’t just run off of pizza and coffee for the rest of my life, so I’ve been trying to be less stubborn about how exhausted I am, and just sleep when I know I need it.
4. Watching YouTube videos.
I’ve loved watching Youtube videos for years, and it has honestly never failed to make me happy, entertained, or simply just occupied and intrigued for hours. Whether it’s taking a little bit of time here and there to watch Tricia Miranda’s newest choreography, or re-watching one of my old favorite Youtube series like Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl, Youtube is something I can always watch to get a little mental break from whatever I’m stressed about. I’m also obsessed with Youtube beauty gurus, so any chance I can get to procrastinate on work and stay updated on what’s happening in their lives, I take it.
5. Getting dressed each and every day.
I know this might seem like something that is pretty standard to most people, but getting dressed everyday wasn’t something I always did. Especially if I were really stressed out with a lot of work, or I was going through something really rough emotionally, I would easily match my mood to my wardrobe and just throw on a pair of sweatpants, or literally just roll out of bed in whatever I had slept in. It’s common to see people dawn the “sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on” look for midterms or finals seasons, but when I was going through some really rough times, this turned into my everyday look. In a constant mindset of “No one else cares, so why should I?” and “Who am I trying to impress?” most days I would just throw on whatever I could find because I never really thought about how the ways I dressed would affect my mood and attitude throughout the day. Nowadays, I’ve been trying to embody the sentiments of “Look good, feel good” and “Dress well, test well” to not only boost my confidence and outlook on dreary days, but also just force myself to look presentable and have control over one thing in my life when everything else seems to be going wrong. And when I say that I’m only trying to impress and out-do myself, I’m not lying. Sometimes I have little competitions with myself to see which day of the week I’ll have the cutest outfit, but I only have so many clothes so this competition is most likely already over. I’ll still try my best to keep at the cute outfits, though.
6. Spending quality time with people I care about.
I feel like in college, and at Williams especially, there is a huge stigma surrounding the idea of free time. Everyone is expected to be busy 100% of the time, 24 hours of the day, without any exceptions. If you’re not doing homework, or in practice, or in a meeting, or working, you’re simply doing it wrong. I internalized those sentiments for a while throughout my time in college because I honestly thought that if I wasn’t occupying myself with something at all hours of the day, I was failing. Recently, I’ve tried to divorce myself from these thoughts because I realized (way too late) that spending time with people is actually healthy. Spending time with people can mean a multitude of things, whether it be grinding through a long night of homework with a group of friends, or just laughing and talking with people in snackbar-but at the end of the day, one of the best ways I’ve tried to enact self-care is to actually socialize. And, if you’re like me and seem to constantly be drowning and work and have essentially zero time to socialize, doing homework with people can actually be a great way to balance the work you need to do with the social life you need to keep yourself mentally healthy. Being someone who used to always lock herself in the library for hours and avoid all forms of human contact, the idea of doing homework with friends gave me an intense amount of anxiety because I never thought that I would get any work done. So instead of trying to work with others, I would often suffer alone and let my stress get the best of me without realizing that others could also be going through the same things. So these days, I try to work with people in ways that I feel are the most productive (which usually means me blasting my music and only looking up to talk and laugh occasionally), but still allow me to spend time with people I care about. Not every group study session is 100% productive, and not every night spent laughing and doing random, crazy things until 3 a.m. may seem completely worth it, but I know they will be in the end, because those moments of laughter and interaction with people I love will go a long way, and have truly helped me determine the ways I can help make happiest and healthiest version of me.