Take self-care of yourself, Gusties

Lexi LouisOpinion Columnist

With the Spring Semester beginning, it can be stressful adjusting to a new schedule. It can be difficult to fit time in for ourselves in our routines. I often find myself looking for ways to balance my schedule. It is important to set aside time for ourselves. Recently, I have set aside time to laugh, exercise, listen to music and spend time with family and friends.
As Henri De Mondeville said, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
Therefore, I like to watch funny YouTube videos, and I like to watch TV shows like SNL and Friends. I immediately feel more relaxed and less stressed when I laugh. Another thing I have been doing more is listening to music.
Music is an excellent way to reduce stress, increase dopamine and connect with others. Whatever genre it is, it elevates mood. During workouts, it can also increase physical performance and endurance. Some other ways to relieve stress are yoga and exercising.
Gustavus has many clubs, courses and locations on campus and online that offer exercise. There is the Lund center, Wellness as a Community (WaaC), and many active student organizations. Wellness as a Community is a fitness class that offers different levels of yoga for all skill levels.
I decided to try and start running last March. In the beginning, I aimed for smaller distances, then gradually increased my distance. After each run, my mood was elevated. In the fall, the Run Club is a great way to exercise. There are different types of skill levels and anyone can join. This year, some of the events were the Autumn Woods Classic 5k, the 100-Mile Challenge and group runs.
Another thing I like to do is go on a walk through the Arboretum. In the fall, I participated in the first-year tulip planting ceremony. I’m excited to see how my tulip bulb turned out. It was fun spending time with friends and doing this. The environment here is calming, peaceful, and beautiful.
COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s life in some way. We are now used to social distancing, wearing a mask, and being more mindful of each other. It has become more difficult to spend time with others. I miss the face to face communication before the pandemic, but I am thankful for the opportunities to connect with others from virtual communication and the clubs and courses offered here at Gustavus.
Social media has been a positive way to connect with others in the time of a pandemic. I couldn’t imagine how I would communicate or have a way to be in school without virtual communication.
Although it isn’t the same as face to face communication, it is better than being completely isolated. Our lives have become centered around technology, and we can sometimes lose touch with the real world. Some things online can be superficial, so it is healthy to give ourselves a break.
It can be difficult shifting from learning in the classroom to learning online. We have been forced to adapt to the circumstances and we have evolved as a result. I have become more technologically efficient and have found the positives in it. With the changing work environment, we are spending more time looking at a screen. I sometimes remind myself to blink and periodically look away.
I remember my first Zoom call last year in the spring. I didn’t know how to mute myself or turn off my camera. Now it has become easier working with Zoom. I know how to mute myself, turn off my camera, change my background, and work with the software. Some of the fun backgrounds are the beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. Zooming has become second nature for me.
Finding the positives in negative situations can be hard, but it is helpful to think about everything I am grateful for. When I write in my gratitude journal, I am reminded how blessed I am. Having shelter, food, water, and education are things that shouldn’t be taken for granted. In general, keeping a journal is a good way to reflect and improve. I like to write in a journal and set goals for myself.
It is commonly heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I think it is different for everyone. It isn’t easy to break out of what we are used to and reach out of our comfort zones. Exposure to new and difficult things, like setting aside time in our schedules for self-care is worth the effort. An inspiring quote by Theordore Roosevelt is, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
It is important to dedicate time for ourselves, our health, and to find a work-life balance. When we have a lot going on, it can be draining to not take a little time to relax. However, forming the habit of taking time from our schedule for self-care is extremely beneficial.

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