It has been about 10 months of no in-person schooling, masks in public, and no physical contact with many friends and family. Personally, I struggled with keeping up with my mental health and caring for myself, especially at the beginning of quarantine. Many students like me had to balance online schooling, rigorous college applications, school or outside clubs, and, for some, extracurriculars. We all have been facing something new and completely different, but we are all here now to help each other out as much as we can, which starts with putting ourselves, our bodies, and our minds first. No matter what, we should be taking care of what is keeping us functioning. Many people have forgotten to do so or haven’t been doing it because of the chaos that surrounds us, but don’t worry! I’m here to help out with that particular topic. Throughout quarantine, I have experimented with different self-care activities and have documented which ones have benefitted me. Hopefully, some of these activities can help you better care for yourself!
Our sensors are incredibly important when it comes to our mind and body. We use our touch, smell, sight, sound, and taste almost every day, so some of those may be overstimulated or understimulated. When using these sensory activities, make sure to use those that benefit the sensory input you need.
Breathe in fresh air
Snuggle under a cozy blanket
Snuggle under a weighted blanket
Listen to running water
Take a hot or cold shower/bath
Get a massage
Cuddle with your pet
Pay attention to your breathing
Burn a scented candle/incense
Listen to music
Our mental health is the root of our bodies. If we don’t focus on our mental health, then we can’t focus on anything else. We cannot ignore what our brain is telling us and, of course, it goes for the same with our bodies. By doing the activities listed below, we can give ourselves a boost by focusing on other things that aren’t school-related.
Clean out or organize drawers/closet
Clean your room
Try a new hobby/activity
Learn to play an instrument
Make a to-do list/goal list
Complete a crossword puzzle/word search
Read a book/article/magazine
Many don’t believe in spirituality, but getting in touch with ourselves spiritually can help calm our minds and discover our true selves, or discover ourselves more in-depth.
Write in a journal
Spend time in nature
Read poetry or inspiring quotes
Our emotions can be incredibly challenging when it comes to ourselves and when dealing with stress. Many people downgrade their emotions, but everyone’s emotions are valid. By doing these activities, we may be able to focus on our emotions to understand and learn about them in-depth.
Accept your feelings as they are
Write about your emotions
What you’re feeling
Where it comes from
Why you’re feeling what you’re feeling
Try to find the root of them
Cry if you need to
Physical activities are another good way to relieve stress and calm ourselves. When hearing “physical,” it may seem like you have to put in a lot of energy, but focusing your energy on something that you don’t usually do can relieve built-up stress. Knowing when your body needs rest is also very important. Make sure to not overwork your body and cause exhaustion.
Go for a walk/run
Dance to music
Go for a bike ride
Take a nap
Connecting with others and being social can be more beneficial than many think. Having someone to talk to and express themselves to will allow a person to be themselves and release the weight of holding everything in.
Go on a lunch date
Call a friend
Join a social group/club
Play games with friends
Watch movies with friends
I hope some of these activities can help you in putting yourself first. Always remember, you are valid, your emotions are valid, and your experiences are valid. Everyone deals with everything differently, so of course, not every activity here will benefit you, but if you do find at least one that can help you, I am very glad. Even if there are none here that seems to be beneficial for you, I am proud that you were able to experiment and try it for yourself. Don’t stop here though. Continue to experiment and try new things for your mental health and stability. Always reach out to someone if you ever need any help at all. There are people now, and later in the future who love and support you, so don’t ever forget that.