We’re near the end of fall semester, which means that the days are getting shorter and my to-do list is getting looooonger. Between classes, intramural sports, homework, eating, trying to see friends just enough to keep from sinking into hermit status–and yes, even taking the time to shower–it seems like there’s just not enough time to get it all done. Combine that feeling with term paper due dates looming overhead, and it can be enough to make any introvert want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Not even for chocolate.
Okay . . . maybe for chocolate.
But never fear! If I have made it this far, then YOU can make it through, too.
I’m by no means and expert and I still have my moments when I seriously consider moving into a camper in the woods for the rest of my life, but I have learned a lot about dealing with my stress levels over the past three and a half years of college. Everyone is different, that’s for sure, but maybe you can relate to some of the same feelings that I experience. If you do, I hope some of my self-care tricks can be helpful to you, too!
Sometimes when stress is on my mind, it can be hard to relax and focus during the slow moments of the day, like while I’m getting ready for class in the morning. When I’m alone, I need to be using that valuable time to recharge, not spiral into anxiety about the rest of my day. I have found that putting on some music helps me stay positive! I pull up a playlist of my favorite songs and jam out while I’m brushing my teeth, and that sends me off to class in a more relaxed mood than if I had spent that time silently shuffling around.
This one is always helpful for me, but so hard for me to convince myself to do. Time is valuable, and since I am hopelessly dreadful at getting up in the morning, I usually have to take a chunk out of my evenings for showering. But when I do, I feel so much better. There’s not much work that I can accomplish in the shower, so I put on some jams and tell myself it’s okay to take my mind off my day for twenty minutes.
This is one that I know not everyone does, but journalling helps me process my thoughts and get my to-do list on a piece of paper. Part of my introvert panic is caused by not remembering when and where events are happening (or whether there is an event happening at all), so I keep a mashup of bullet journal / diary where I can quickly jot down all info for future reference. I am pretty much an emotional being who lives inside my head all day, so there’s no room for keeping a mental schedule, too. Keeping my journal in my backpack is a great way for me to note my responsibilities onto paper right away, which means I can get around to them when I need to, but I don’t have to worry about remembering them in the meantime.
Last semester my mom bought me an electric kettle, and it is probably one of the most-used items in my room. As an introvert it can be hard to fully immerse myself into class or hangouts with friends, so as strange as it sounds, having a coffee in hand can help comfort my social anxieties (and also give my hands something to do).
Even in my room during quiet evenings, homework is much more bearable when I have a cup of tea to sip on. Bonus points if it’s chamomile with honey, which can help calm me down and is thought of my many people as a mild sleep aid. Who knows if that’s true, but it sure doesn’t hurt!
Strangely enough, yes. Being able to mark a few little things off my list–like washing my coffee mugs, putting away laundry, making my bed–helps give me a small productivity boost before I tackle bigger things like an essay assignment. Plus, having my room and desk space clean and cleared off really helps me focus. Some clutter is okay, but the small ritual of tidying up can lift a mental load that helps me focus on my schoolwork.
Sleep when you’re dead. But nap if you can.
Exercise is important for me to stay healthy and spend time with friends. My main form of exercise is playing ultimate frisbee. My roommate and I are co-vice presidents of our college’s frisbee club, so it can be stressful to keep up with leadership duties, but the act of getting out on the grass and having some fun lifts a lot of tension and helps my mind to relax. Even as an introvert, this area of my social life isn’t always draining, because it’s a lighthearted time with friends but also a place where I know my role. It’s fun and exercise at the same time, so a win-win for me!
Because your toesies deserve to be wrapped in a soft blanket, too. Fuzzy socks are just as much a mental comfort as they are a physical one.
You may or may not be into essential oils–that’s okay. My mom gave me her little oil diffuser when she got a bigger one for our living room back home, and it has been nice to keep beside by bed at college. I don’t know much about oils but I think lavender and spearmint smell really nice, so filling up and running the oil diffuser is a bedtime ritual I have found to be relaxing.
You know who it is. For me, it’s my boyfriend or my roommate. Sometimes introverts need to talk, too. And I don’t mean going out and chatting with acquaintances at lunch (boo, hiss), I mean kicking back on a nest of blankets and pillows, snacking on a pop tart, and unwinding with a close friend who won’t judge your thoughts. It’s therapeutic and helps your mind explore issues that you maybe wouldn’t have thought about before. I think it’s also good for introverts to have someone to bounce thoughts off of sometimes, too, because too much solitary introspection can leave you spiraling down into even more stress.
So there it is! My quick list of comforts in this crazy college lifestyle. Do you identify with any of these? Or what are things you do to unwind that aren’t on this list?
Thanks for reading along–
Talk at y’all another time!
~ Linzi Loo