by Alice Wilder
This time of year is really hard for me. Between a new year and new semester, I truly hate social media this time of year. It’s all bombastic goals and quotes about grinding, slugging through and coming up. And I just want to take a nap.
When the year starts it can seem like everyone is following through on their resolutions but you. A new year takes breaking in, and as school starts up again the blisters start to appear. It’s not comfortable yet. Here are some things that work for me to get oriented and truly into the groove.
Set aside a day to get your life together.
Whatever that means for you. For me it means a trip to Family Dollar to get a calender, new pens and post-its. There’s nothing that makes me happier than sitting on the floor, surrounded by syllabuses and highlighters. I love color coding a calendar for the semester. This way, deadlines don’t sneak up on me, I can get a picture of which weeks will be hellish and plan accordingly. For you it could mean calling your parents, making a budget, vacuuming or folding all your clothes. If it makes you feel “together” and prepped to take on the world, then it counts.
Don’t get swept up in saying yes to everything
At the start of the new semester all the orgs in your school are probably trying to build momentum and recruit a ton of new members. I get it, that’s great, and important to building a sustainable club–but you don’t have to join things! I promise. If a club or activity feels like it will feed your soul and sustain your energy, then go for it. But it’s okay to say “I’ll get back to you” when someone asks you to join a new campaign or organization.
Find something to listen to
This is one of the most important things for me, and helps me with my anxiety a ton. I spend a lot of time rushing around alone during the day. Most of that time alone is walking from class to class or grabbing a quick lunch/dinner before a meeting. It can all be rushed and it’s difficult to stay present and thoughtful during those in between times, so I listen to podcasts. There are the classics, This American Life, Serial, Radiolab, all of which are on heavy rotation on my walks to class. But I’d especially recommend Criminal, a podcast about crime (duh) that isn’t sensationalized. Plus it’s created out of my home state! I also love comedy podcasts like Call Chelsea Peretti and Comedy Bang Bang. Snap Judgement is so good I can’t handle it.
If podcasts aren’t your thing, jump out of your comfort zone with music. Sites like 8tracks are a great way to try new genres. Or explore the world of spoken word poetry on Spotify!
This one is hard. I read somewhere that it’s helpful to replace the thought “I don’t have time” with “it’s not a priority,” because this time of year is really all about choices. Prioritizing is really hard for me because I’m definitely the type of girl who still believes she can “have it all,” but nothing is more clarifying than sitting down and listing out priorities. Here’s a sample of my list:
Mental health, basic health (eating, sleeping enough)
Family (calling my parents regularly, spending time with my sisters, calling my grandparents whenever possible)
School (Ugh yes, I do have to do Spanish homework)
SPARK and other extracurricular passions
Friends near and far
This list doesn’t mean that I never talk to my friends. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t weeks when I can’t make the time to call my parents. It’s not a stagnant list, it reshuffles and shifts as the semesters moves along. Once exams come along I put school over family, unless there’s some sort of family emergency. Sorry Mom. I promise I’ll call soon.
This is just a short list, and self-care looks different for everyone! It doesn’t have to be one moment or a bubble bath once a week. Self-care can also look like saying no to commitment you really want to do, but know you don’t have time for. What does it mean for you? How are you caring for yourself in the new year? Tell us in the comments!