A junior-year guide to self-care

October 11, 2023 — by Anika Kapasi
Graphic by Amy Luo
My favorite types of self-care! 
Self-care takes on many forms, each just as essential as the other: social, emotional, mental and physical.

Picture this: It’s Friday night and it has been one of the most tiring and mentally draining weeks of your life. You have managed to survive three AP class tests, an in-class essay and, of course, you can’t forget completing what should be an illegal amount of APUSH notes. 

As you face high academic pressure, all while balancing extracurriculars and friendships, life becomes stressful in a very short amount of time. For me, junior year has been more taxing than I could ever have imagined. Fortunately, I have found that self-care nights have never failed to make life feel just a little less hectic. 

My self-care nights mostly consist of blasting pop music in my room and putting on a sheet mask (that I look undeniably goofy in) while attempting and failing at different nail-art designs I find on Pinterest. My face mask recommendations are those that exfoliate and hydrate the skin, especially the inexpensive Que Bella ones from Target with aesthetically pleasing pastel packaging. At the end, I always follow up with a lengthy skin and hair care routine, which gives me a lasting confidence boost and leaves me feeling naturally pretty.  

Some days, I have found that self-care takes the alternative form of coming home from school, taking an “everything shower” — washing myself head to toe, deep conditioning, shaving and exfoliating with body scrubs — and laying under the comfort of my warm blankets with my favorite movies and TV shows as a way to shut out the world. Eating junk food, chips and candies is also a must to feel better. For me, scarfing down Milky Ways, Reese’s Pieces and Garden Salsa Sun Chips while binging Gilmore Girls has always done the trick. 

Regardless, my self-care nights cannot be complete without sipping freezing cold water through a straw. There’s something uniquely rejuvenating about getting an extra cold dose of hydration — and the aesthetic of the water cup and calming properties makes it an absolutely refreshing necessity to get the full self care experience! 

Over time, though, I’ve realized that while designated “self-care” nights do help me get mentally and emotionally back on track, there are also other stress-reducing activities that I consider to be equally important.

Working out has always been one of my favorite ways to reset and increase productivity. Whether it’s weight lifting at the gym or participating in a yoga class, finding ways to stay healthy is necessary to physically care for myself. 

Sometimes, I run 3 to 5 miles around my neighborhood or at the Congress Spring’s soccer fields — I know that distance sounds horrible — but I’ve found that when I get into a rhythm, it is actually a surprisingly tranquil and euphoric experience. The endorphins released trigger a positive feeling, or a “runner’s high,” and l find it to be a great way to relieve tension.

For a while, my definition of self-care meant finding ways to alleviate stress on my own. However, as I started to figure out which people I click best with over the past few years, self-care has started to also mean just hanging out with my friends. 

Spontaneously going out to McDonalds after football games, grabbing boba after school or going hot tubbing at night with them always leaves me with a smile on my face and these outings have honestly become some of my favorite memories. The reason that the social aspect of self-care is so imperative to health is that you start to realize how difficult it is to deal with stress and your struggles alone. It’s fulfilling to be able to lean on others and support them in return. 

While different methods work for different people, these are some of the most reliable ways I have found to take care of myself, boost my self-esteem and make life feel just a little less chaotic!

Tags: junior, life
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