The Unofficial Temple Girl's Guide to Self Care
By Rachel McQuiston
At our age, it’s all too common to put your academic and social priorities over your own health (and we glamorize that lifestyle too, ugh), but it’s not always apparent at first. You slowly find yourself choosing the party Friday night instead of opting for the full eight hours of sleep that you so desperately need. Then, as the semester progresses, you find that your mental stability has taken a back seat to the exam you have on Tuesday. By the end of the semester, you’ve truly run yourself so thin that the idea of self-care is entirely foreign.
But it shouldn’t have to be like that.
As talented and vibrant young college students, we have too much potential to be completely burnt out by the social and academic stressors that seem to go hand-in-hand with college. Now, we’re not suggesting to not work hard and achieve your dreams throughout your collegiate years -- you should be doing that. But in order to reach those goals, you have to be willing to put in a little time for the girl who works her booty off: you.
So, we put together the college girl’s perfect and simple guide to all your self-care needs:
1. Catch up on some Z’s
Sleep is a basic human necessary, yet y’all insist on staying up until 2 a.m. writing an essay that is due in your 8 a.m., all while trying to power through via iced coffee. And then when Friday rolls around, it’s hard to turn down a party with friends for a night in with your body pillow. However, it’s important to really listen to what your body is telling you it needs. If you’ve gotten 15 hours of sleep over the past three days, you just should probably turn on your white noise machine, start a Headspace free trial, and knock out.
Extra pro tip for optimal Z’s? Ditch your tech an hour before you hit the hay. If you’re unable to do that, turn down the screen brightness to the lowest setting on each of your devices. Even more, try turning on the Night Mode feature to cut down on your blue light consumption. Your eyes will thank you!
2. Start keeping a journal
Writing is good for the soul. Taking a break from writing notes and papers and instead writing about your own life is truly such a freeing feeling -- like a huge weight being lifted off your shoulders. It’s the one time you can write anything that you’re feeling, and no one’s there to call you dramatic (even if you are). If writing tends to stress you out, pick up some markers and doodle. Any way to flex your left brain will do major good for your mental health.
3. Skincare, duh
Everyone loves to say that doing a little skincare can solve every single unrelated problem in your life, and are they wrong? Obviously, that’s an exaggeration, but skincare really does make a difference. Not only is it good for your skin (duh), but can also make you feel productive and as if you’re canceling out any bad decision you made the prior weekend. Plus, creating a skincare routine for yourself in the morning and the evening gives you some comfort in sameness, as well as a sense of responsibility. Just ask Sarah, our Editor-in-Chief, who still remembers to do her six-step skincare routine when she comes home from the bars at 2a.m.
If you haven’t yet, do some research about your skin type and pick out a selection of cleansers, moisturizers, SPF, toners, serums, and masks so you can finally get on the skincare bandwagon.
4. Find your zen
Go to the IBC, join a center city yoga studio or just roll out a mat in your apartment -- it doesn’t matter. Setting aside an hour to focus on your breathing and the burning sensation in your thighs when you attempt the chair pose can be a surprisingly relaxing break from your heap of assignments. There are a ton of free and cheap yoga memberships for beginners in the city, so, for the sake of your mental stability, give them a chance.
If you’re not feeling bendy, try meditation. It’s going to be hard. Living in a world where you’re constantly bombarded with information and distractions, it feels nearly impossible to disconnect. Apps like Calm and Headspace have guided meditations by professionals to lull you into a dreamy state of bliss. If you’re a newbie, to ease into meditation, find a playlist of binaural beats, quiet piano or cello music, or other soothing sounds to center your awareness.
5. Or, just work out
Sometimes the way to finding your zen isn’t through calming practices like yoga or meditation, but rather a heart-pumping workout. Put on your perfectly-crafted workout playlist and run your heart out on TUF’s new treadmills. Nothing is more weirdly relaxing than listening to EDM while struggling through a HIIT circuit. It might be rough, but at least you’re not going on hour four at the Tech Center.
6. Have a good old fashioned girls night
Boxed wine in hand, Queer Eye season 3 playing in the background, tea being spilled -- sometimes you just need to feed into the basic nature of a girls night. Staying in with your best girl friends might be the relaxing night full of inside jokes and obnoxious laughter that you need -- and, you can probably be in bed by 11 p.m. It’s a win-win.
7. Try not to be as hard on yourself
It sounds like an easy feat, but, in a school full of intelligent and driven students, it can be hard not to compare your own achievements to that of your peers. But just remember that missing a class, skipping a day at the gym, and taking a midday nap are hardly issues that you should be concerned with. Take a deep breath, put on some sweatpants, and accept that sometimes, you just have to binge watch Netflix in bed all day.
And if all else fails, blame everything on the mumps .