By: Alexis Bynum, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
We all love to have productive days and check everything off our to-do lists. It is great to end the day knowing you accomplished a lot. As nice as that may be, we need to make sure we include self-care and rest in our priorities.
There is no room for productivity and motivation if you drain yourself and try to run on empty continuously. Putting your physical and mental health high up on that to-do list will help you be more successful and motivated throughout the day.
Obviously sleep is important. We all know that we need to turn off our electronic devices before bed and get eight hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can cause us to struggle to focus and concentrate on tasks we need to accomplish. Not only will we struggle to get things done, but a lack of sleep can cause us to be irritable and increase our stress levels. Starting the day after a good night of rest is the first step we should be taking for our health. Especially after a week of all-nighters studying for midterms.
Our next step to self-care is exercise. I know it sounds redundant, but exercise is a natural way to decrease stress levels. It can also help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. This will keep your body healthy and make resting easier. Sometimes it can be hard to find time or motivation to get to the gym, so grab a friend to make it more enjoyable and give yourself some motivation. Your mind and body will thank you.
Take a break from your phone. We all spend so many hours of the day looking at our phones and laptops. Set aside a time in the day to step away from the technology and give your eyes and mind rest. With everything being online it is hard to get time away from it all. Make it a goal to decrease your screen time, even if it is just for a few minutes.
Meditation is another great way to boost your emotional and mental health and give your mind a break from the endless thoughts throughout the day. Meditation can help reduce stress, control anxiety, and increase positive self-thoughts.
As people, we are very hard on ourselves, and most of the time we can’t help it. Meditation can help us turn that around. Forced focus on meditation can help us to increase our self image and attention span. If you don’t know where to start try some Youtube videos of guided meditation. Take time out of your day to focus on yourself and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Starting a journal can be a great way to add rest to your routine. Journaling can help us cope with stress and depression and help us see what is causing our stress. Journaling can help increase positive self-talk and identify negative behaviors. Adding a few minutes in your schedule to write about life or starting a bullet journal with some artistic flair into it can help your mind relax and recover. There is no wrong way to journal so just start somewhere and see what you like and how it makes you feel.
One of the best ways to take care of yourself and your health is to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Who you hang out with can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional health. Plan a movie night or a spa night with your friends to relax and unwind. You can enjoy time with your friend while giving your mind and body a break. It can be hard to keep up with relationships and school. Use your free time to hang out with your friends and give yourself some rest. We all need time to recover.
The next time you feel like you are losing steam and falling out of that productive groove, stop and take some time to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Remember that you are a priority, and take the time to take care of your mind and body.