Self-care looks different for everyone. Some find inner peace by practicing mindfulness, and others enjoy writing their thoughts and feelings in a journal. Regardless of your self-care regimen, we can all agree that the pandemic has changed the way we take care of ourselves. Prior to the pandemic, I would enjoy going out to new restaurants with friends. However, due to restaurants closing and social distancing guidelines, I was not able to meet up with my friends as much as before, so I decided to create a new self-care routine for myself. Some self-care practices that I have used during this school year include:
CREATING A MUSIC PLAYLIST
Plato put it best when he said, ”Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” Music has the ability to connect with us in ways that words cannot. If I’m feeling down because of a low test grade or stressed because of upcoming tests, listening to my favorite song always makes me smile and feel better about myself in the moment. Regardless of your music taste, creating a playlist with all of your favorite songs is a perfect way to combat the stress of our everyday lives. I even have playlists that I created based on my mood. For example, one of my playlists is called “All smiles:)” where I included all of my favorite upbeat pop songs that make me feel happy.
Since school is online half of the time for me, I decided to give my study space a makeover to make it look aesthetically pleasing and cozy. I added scented candles such as pumpkin spice and winter candy apple to add decoration and color to my desk. I even did a DIY project using items I found in my house. For example, I added fake snow to a mason jar and then placed LED candles on top, so the jar resembled a lantern in the dark. These fun and simple projects made my desk a more inviting place for me to study and do online school.
Once in a while, we all deserve a little pampering. Whether it be trying out a new hairstyle or getting a pedicure, we all can agree that these little things can give us a confidence boost. Additionally, I’ve recently been experimenting with an essential oil diffuser, and I’ve found certain scents to be soothing. Many of my friends who apply face masks have said that their skin feels soft and smooth, and as a result, they feel more confident.
It’s no surprise that exercise increases the number of endorphins in our body, which results in a positive feeling in the body. Due to the mind-body connection, when we take care of our body, we also take care of our mind. Making time for any physical activity, whether it be a walk around the block, a yoga session, or a high-intensity workout, can give us a sense of accomplishment and a positive attitude toward ourselves and others.
FINDING A NEW HOBBY
As a high school student, I’m bound to a rigid academic curriculum, which sometimes prevents me from exploring subject areas that may interest me the most. Learning beyond the classroom is important because it intrinsically motivates us to learn about things that interest us personally. For instance, I am passionate about creative writing, so in my free time, I enjoy reading critically acclaimed fiction in order to further my knowledge of writing. A friend of mine decided to pursue her passion for baking by following unique and challenging recipes from chefs around the world. Another decided to start an Instagram page devoted to photography, where she uploads photos that she has taken from various cities and countries.
Personally, one of the biggest hurdles for me during the pandemic and the new school year was changing my mindset. Letting go of stress and anxiety is always easier said than done. I’ve found that worrying about the future only brings unwanted anxiety into my mind, so I decided to fuel all my energy into focusing on the NOW. Putting my best effort into everyday activities makes me feel in control of my present, and it directly increases my self-confidence as well. A major component of maintaining a positive mindset is to be patient with yourself. Negative self-talk only harms you, and I’ve realized that appreciating your own efforts, no matter how big or small, is important.