By Karissa Eisinger
I think I can safely say that everyone has learned a lot from the Coronavirus pandemic–the importance of vaccinations, social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, the list goes on… but there is so much more to be learned from a global pandemic and an extremely long period of isolation than sanitary practices and health precautions. For me, the biggest takeaway from the past year is that I now understand the importance of setting aside time each day to focus on ME. No matter what it is, I make sure that I find the time to do something that makes me feel strong, centered and clear-minded each and every day. So what makes you feel good about yourself? Here are some of my suggestions of things you can do each day to become a more carefree, confident, and capable you.
You are probably already aware of the physical benefits of exercise such as improving your physique and controlling your weight, but there are also many ways that exercise is helpful for your mental health. Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? This feeling describes the production and release of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are “feel good neurotransmitters” and any sort of physical activity leads to the production of endorphins. The endorphins released during exercise reduce anxiety and stress by reducing levels of the body’s stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Just 5 minutes of exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. In addition to helping people cope with stress and anxiety, exercise can also help improve sleep and memory.
- Listen to music
Did you know that music is sometimes used for therapy? Listening to music can completely improve your overall mood and help to ease anxiety. Using music as a method to redirect your thoughts or emotions can be a very effective way to clear your head and self-reflect. Something that I find helpful when using music in a therapeutic way is to start out by playing music that matches my mood and then make a queue of songs that match the mood I want to be in. For example, if I’m feeling low, I’ll listen to a few sad songs, then slowly start listening to songs that are more upbeat until I feel happier. Getting lost in music can be an extremely effective way to improve your mood and change your attitude.
Meditation has many health benefits and is known to improve mental health and wellbeing. Meditation is all about refocusing your thoughts and directing them to a more positive place. After meditating, you will feel clearer minded, and calm as compared to before. Through YouTube or meditation apps you can do as quick as a 5-minute meditation. Taking even just a few minutes for yourself to meditate can have tremendous benefits. Meditation is known to reduce stress and anxiety, promotes a more positive outlook on life, enhances self-awareness, and even improves sleep.
- Treat yourself!
Whether this be doing a face mask, playing a video game, watching your favorite movie, or eating an icecream sundae, taking time out of your busy day to do something you enjoy is so important. Spending time on yourself can improve your mental health and feeling of self-worth as well as bring you happiness. Obviously being students, we are all very busy and it’s hard to find time to do leisurely activities often. So, while you may not be able to make your “me time” something like this every single day, once or twice a week when you have the time it is important to treat yourself!
These are just a few suggestions of things you can do to focus on yourself and make time for you each day. Now more than ever I encourage you to find what makes you feel good about yourself and find the time to do it every day!!