Let’s be clear: self-care is not a luxury. You will not function well as a grad student if you aren’t sleeping, eating and cultivating positive relationships with others. It’s true that there will likely be times that you have to push through exhaustion and be anti-social to get work done but if that’s your entire grad school experience, there is something wrong. Reach out and get help.
Here are a few free things that you can do in under an hour that can help you reset physically and mentally:
- Download a single episode of a great podcast. Put on some comfortable shoes, take a 20-minute walk. Find a place to sit and people-watch while you’re listening. Stay away from your desk/home for the entire duration of the episode.
- Turn on some music or your favorite show on a streaming device. Make an “everything but the kitchen sink” soup with any vegetables and proteins you have in your fridge. Take the time to cut and measure things to give your brain something else to focus on for a bit.
- Go to your local library and pick up a book you enjoyed in your childhood. Stay in the library and read the first three chapters. My go-to is Harry Potter 😊.
- Send three emails to people who’s work you admire. Be specific about who you are, what you’re studying and why you think their work is valuable.
- Send text messages to at least five people you haven’t spoken to in at least two weeks. Let them know you’re thinking about them and why you appreciate their friendship.
- Write a personal bank account (PBA) list. This is Sean Covey’s idea from Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The basic idea is to think of your actions as “deposits” and “withdrawals” and aim to have more deposits than withdrawals at the end of the week.