The Healthiest Attitude to Take
Self-care at Dartmouth is hard. Your roommate has sexiled you three times during the past weekend, and you’re not excited for Valentine’s Day. Midterm grades are rolling in, and now you’re reflecting upon your life choices (why didn’t you put an NRO on that class again? Oh yeah, because apparently you can’t NRO more than one course). Remember that person you swore you were going to grab a meal with when you saw them in KAF line Week 2? How’s that going? It’s so cold that you get brain freeze just from walking between Collis and the Hop. EVERYONE IS SICK.
(This is not an exaggeration. If you don’t know someone who’s currently sick and sniffling, subsequently giving you high blood pressure every time they come too close, then as a PSA I’m letting you know that you are the sick one. There is a reason no one has offered you a sip of their drink lately. Whenever you try to give people a hug, they awkwardly intercept it with a weird fist bump. For the love of God, please don’t cough on my laptop.)
A literal blizzard is happening, and chances are professors are not canceling class (tragically). You haven’t been to the gym or your group project meetings in a week and have no intention of rectifying that. That one girl texted you to ask if you had the reading for class like a week ago and you still haven’t responded (have fun avoiding eye contact for the rest of the term). When’s the last time you did laundry? Scratch that, when’s the last time you washed the clothes you’re wearing right now?
Honestly, it’s ok. Self-care, man. You’re doing your best. You stood up a friend for lunch — I mean, it happens to the best of us. Sometimes you just need to put yourself first. So what, you turned in an essay late. A week past your extension is not that bad. Ok, ok, so it was technically a Canvas post, but hey I’m not going to shame you for that. Two hundred words is longer than most people think. Pulling two successive all-nighters and then sleeping through your 10, 11 and 2 happens to the best of us. I’m here to help you live your best life.
My advice is to give yourself a break. The weekend just happened and you’re all tired out. Take a day off! Does your class have pop quizzes? Maybe. But what are the chances you have one tomorrow? Technically, going out on a Wednesday when you have a presentation on Thursday is not a bright idea on paper, but I personally think it’s stress relief. Self-care.
Cut toxic people out of your life. There is nothing quite as healthy as isolating yourself from others. A “friend” didn’t laugh at your joke this morning? Cut them out, you don’t need that type of negativity in your life. Your mom called and told you that “you’re not taking school seriously” just because you decided to take your third two-class term? Cut her out. That’s toxic behavior right there. Your professor gave you a grade equivalent to the effort that you put in instead of the grade you wanted? CUT THEM OUT. Self-care.
Take care of your body — it is your temple. What makes you feel good? Novack sushi and late night mozz sticks are protein and essential fats, so I think you’re doing great. The gym is a petri dish. Who knows how many people have sneezed or vomited on that treadmill? It’s probably healthier for your body to avoid the germs there than it is to work out. Is lying in your bed for 14 hours straight technically a yoga pose? Sure, why not. Is your caffeine intake biologically unsustainable and medically unsafe? Well, I’m not a doctor, but heart palpitations and cold sweats seem normal at 8 a.m. Plus that one muffin you had seven hours ago 100 percent absorbs some of that caffeine. Self-care.
Science (ugh) says that moving around is good for you, so do that, I guess. I’m pretty sure that half the work out is getting into workout gear. Take a brisk walk (read: meander slowly) around Occom while occasionally stretching so it looks like you might begin to jog at any moment. Don’t do it during a normal hour when you might see someone you know, because there’s nothing worse than making eye contact when you’re pretending like you might try to physically exert yourself. Do it at 1 a.m., when there is zero chance anyone will see you pretending to work out. Self-care.
Emotional awareness is key to taking care of yourself. Do you feel like crying? Go to the stacks. Everyone there is crying already. Are you angry? Throwing a temper tantrum is not immature, it’s a healthy expression of your feelings. Okay, maybe doing it in the middle of your exam was distracting to others, but it’s not like you’re responsible for your own behavior and how they impact others. Self-care.
Know what you’re thankful for. Some people might call it bragging. But you and I both know that verbally cataloguing your AirPods and Apple Watch is just you trying to be your best self. Also, be creative. You can add to this list things like, “I’m super grateful that that one guy I was in a class with two terms ago has finally stopped waving at me.” That’s reasonable. Self-care.
Technology is the curse of our generation. Turn your phone off every once in a while. Except wait — hold on, does that mean no WiFi? Oh my God, what am I supposed to do the whole time? Disgusting. Okay, new plan. Look at your phone, but refuse to acknowledge texts or emails. It’ll be like you’re not on your phone, without all the boredom. Self-care.
Take or leave any of my advice. But I suggest that you take care of yourself, however you might do that. Valentine’s Day encourages us to demonstrate our love for others. Luckily, we have every other day of the year to demonstrate our love for ourselves. Self-care.