The amount of self-care we choose to invest in ourselves heavily influences how positive we feel. Unfortunately, when we are subjected to a tight schedule, it seems as if we don’t have a single moment to spare for ourselves!
My days are always full: I wake up everyday at sick o’clock in the morning and get home around eight o’clock at night. On weekdays I spend about eight hours at school before rushing to my workplace in the afternoon. On weekend mornings I can be found sitting in the subway station, eating street food for breakfast as I wait for the next carriage that will take me to work. When I first immersed myself in this routine, I quickly picked up some quick habits that allowed me to not feel completely, mentally drained out by the end of the day:
- Reading (on public transportation)
When I was younger, I would spend hours sitting in my room devouring novels. Somehow when I grew older, I began to underrate the value of reading and mainly did it for school. For my own pleasure, I would only read around three books a year.
I picked up daily reading again at first just for the sake of killing time on public transportation. It felt almost meditative! I could immerse myself in different stories, learn new words and new ideas. Today, it’s a huge part of my routine and I read about two books every week, and carry one everywhere I go. It is honestly so much more brain-stimulating than scrolling on a phone.
- Power Naps
Power naps have been proven to be energizing and healthier than consuming caffeine! Some days, when I begin feeling tired before having gotten through the day, I choose to indulge in a quick power nap and always wake up from them feeling more revitalized and clear-minded.
This does require some self control: 20 minutes is the nap length you should be going for. Anything longer than that has been shown to develop sleep inertia that makes you feel even more dazed when you wake up.
I had picked up journalling when I was five years old and haven’t stopped since. I always found it to be very therapeutic, especially if I had no one else to talk to or if I was struck in the heat of the moment by some random inspiration I needed to jot down.
I know that journalling might sound intimidating and time-consuming. But who said journals needed to be formal and consistent? A journal is what you make of it — there are no rules! So, carrying around a little notebook in which you can throw in random ideas, doodles, or rants can definitely act as a mood brightener.
Although this one might seem obvious, I have to give it due credit! I jam with my earphones in whenever I’m walking somewhere or doing some homework. For work that requires concentration, I recommend instrumental music (I personally love listening to lo-fi lifestreams on youtube).
Make yourself a nice playlist, and go get stuff done!
A busy schedule often leaves you with an empty stomach which sometimes is detrimental to your motivation or ability to concentrate. Rewards like a small tangerine or a cereal bar in your bag can make a big difference. Snacks don’t replace meals, but a small filler as you’re waiting for your next one can’t hurt!
Before I sign off, I feel it’s important to remind you that no matter how busy you are, breaks are important. You are a human being who needs to reserve some time for yourself: dedicate a few hours for yourself every week — go shopping, take a bubble bath, go see an exhibition, hang out with your friends… Be kind to yourself.
Good luck, you badass 🙂