Self-care tips for fall break

Anastasia Smallwood

It’s fall break, and with that comes reassurance you’ve survived the first set of assignments and maybe some midterms. For co-op students it’s just another week, but we’ll ignore that for now. I’m in my final year at MSVU and my final lap of an eight-year undergraduate adventure, so I’ve learned some lessons the hard way through repeated trials. One lesson I’ve learned the hard way is to take care of myself. Due to illness, missed classes and hurt relationships, I’ve discovered how to avoid feeling burnt out.

According to various psychological sources, burnout is the physical and mental manifestation of stress, unhappiness and lack of taking a break – sounds like any given semester, doesn’t it? Burnout can appear differently for everyone. Personally, it appears first in my emotions, then I have a lack of motivation and eventually, if I keep pushing myself, my immune system likes to throw an illness my way.

The causes of being burnt out are a much more generalized. Not eating properly, not sleeping enough, and doing too much for too long without giving your mental and physical self a break. Essentially, burnout occurs when there is a lack of self-care.

It’s an easy cycle to get into during the semester, and why fall breaks exist. Yes, break is a good time to catch up on school work. But it’s also the perfect time to reset. As most of you start reading week, I’ve compiled a list of ideas to take care of you. Here are some ways to practice some #selfcare. You can try them this week, but also the rest of the semester.

  1. Sleep. Ah, sweet sleep! It’s hard to get enough during the semester, play catch-up this week to feel refreshed.
  2. Exercise. This is a tough one for some. Remember that exercise can be everything from going for a walk, playing basketball with some friends, or doing a 20-minute yoga class online.
  3. Drink water. Eight to ten glasses a day. Are you getting enough?
  4. Put down the caffeine. Before you panic, I’m not suggesting you say goodbye to coffee entirely. Just switch it up once in a while, cut back a bit, and step away from the Red Bull!
  5. Unplug. Spend the day technology-free! Explore Halifax without the distraction of notifications. Notice your surroundings. It’s a magical experience.
  6. Call your mom, dad, family, friends. Call someone. Just because. A familiar voice can work wonders.
  7. Write a to-do list. Seeing everything you need to do on a list can be daunting, but having it out of your brain is definitely rewarding. From this list, prioritize based on deadlines and then add #selfcare to the top of the list.
  8. Spend time with friends. Watch some Netflix together, order some garlic fingers and just relax.
  9. Snuggle an animal. Don’t have an animal? Find a friend who does, visit the SPCA or go see Oscar next time he’s on campus!
  10. Try art. I’ll be the first to say I’m a bad artist, but I still love it. Draw, paint or try the Clay Café on Quinpool.
  11. Read a book, magazine or article. Anything that’s not related to school, if even for a few minutes.
  12. Meditate. There are some fantastic apps out there for mediation. If you’re a newbie, try “Headspace” or “Calm”. Give them a try, you may just love it!
  13. Journal. Write down any feelings, maybe doodle a little, or make lists if you want. Or try this cool Wreck this Journal!
  14. Try something new. Getting out of your comfort zone can be incredibly rewarding. Try bouldering at Seven Bays on Gottingen, go for a hike, or try a fitness class.

These are just a few ideas to consider. Self-care looks different for everyone. Discovering what works for you can be an adventure – and certainly an enjoyable one. For 87 more ways to take care of yourself see this post by The Mighty.

Happy reading week everyone! Happy Relaxing.