The stress of everyday life can become unbearable at times; stress can lead to unproductivity, wanting to quit, and can generally build-up anxiety. This is where the importance of taking a break comes in handy. In life, and especially during these rough and unprecedented times, it is vital to take some time off for your own mental and physical health. This can be known as “self-care” or “alone-time” (or however you wish to refer to it).
There is a difference between being alone and spending quality time on your own. Quality time can be different for each person as it depends on what eases the mind and makes the person feel most calm and secure. From visiting the local green space to writing down your thoughts in a journal, you can find at least an hour in your day to give yourself a pat-in-the-back for all the hard work you have been putting out there. Sometimes even a day or a whole weekend filled with doing the little things you love is essential in order to regather your strength.
Self-love does not equate to laziness. Self-love is valuable and has to be learnt, but we may have to find time to learn to appreciate our own company. Young people especially need this “self-education”. Students currently face pressure from work commitments, studies, and the stress of entering an unpredictable job market. Social media, societal conformity and expectations can also be pressuring, as there can be a view that we have to meet a certain standard. I find that by doing the things I enjoy and incorporating them into my daily and weekly routines, I am able to feel content in spending time with myself, and performing ‘self-care’. It has helped me ease my stress, not only with the stress of the pandemic, but also with the stress of my university workload.
Our generation cannot easily disconnect from social media or from using electronic devices, especially with classes being remote. As a lot of us are staying at home for most of the day, it’s very easy to be sucked in front of a screen all the time, which can be very damaging for your well-being.
It’s extremely important to “log off” from being online from time to time – it is vital to try and take up new interests that will distract us. An easy way to do this is by trying new physical exercises, such as going for a run or a walk, or by doing an at home workout. Exercise stimulates serotonin release which will make you feel more energetic and healthier. Meditation and yoga are also very common and less physically-tasking forms of exercise, and can promote feelings of calmness: especially helpful if you are struggling with anxiety or stress.
Other ways to avoid being online, which may sound old-school, can be to read a book for leisure, or painting and sketching if you are striving to release some creativity. Board games are also a very fun and intellectually-stimulating distraction. Playing them involves both imaginative skills and effective thinking. Podcasts have also become very appealing to young audiences since they do not require being in front of a screen but still feel like you are socially interacting with someone.
Other self-care tips that I know are helpful and enjoyable, and can also be implemented into your daily life are: cooking or baking your favourite dishes, listening to your favourite playlist or delving into the world of skincare. Spending time or getting in touch with your family or friends (if you are able to) can also provide valuable respite.
The implementation of these “tasks” in your routine can lead to increased efficiency and productivity; the current attitude of “treating yourself” is something to be celebrated. We have to live in our bodies for the rest of our lives, we might as well treat them right.