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MIT blogger Ankita D. '23

self care by Ankita D. '23

define it or perish

as i’ve previously mentioned on the blogs, sophomore fall is wrecking me. every day is a grind, and keeping up with academics is about the only thing i can do right now. i’m getting enough sleep, but i don’t exercise (oops) or read or explore Boston like i did this summer…which makes me think of how much time i had this summer to do things!! i took advantage of it for sure, but wow, being in the middle of the semester and looking back makes me feel like i’m in another universe right now.

i mean, if this were a normal semester, i’d be dancing upwards of six hours a week and walking to classes every day, but now i just sit in my room psetting. sure, i dance occasionally since my team, Mocha Moves, is having members choreograph/learn dances for a virtual set, but it’s a “mess around for 20 minutes and sit down for six hours” kind of deal. in terms of a daily workout, it’s definitely inadequate. *_*

honestly, since i’m so stressed about academics, anything that’s extracurricular is frustrating at times. i just want to get homework done!! and do nothing else!!!

but ever since a little while ago, when my personal life, erm, imploded, i’ve realized the importance of ~ self-care ~. indeed, sometimes, you have to put things that make you happy over being productive! *astonished gasp*

so even though the period where my relationships were going to shit sucked, it helped me discover and focus on the things that make me feel like a person. and honestly, finding these means of self-care so early in the semester helped me navigate the second month of it a lot better.

my self-care constitutes:

  • watching nostalgic shows/movies — a sequel to my favorite childhood anime, Inuyasha, is currently airing. when i heard about it back in summer, i started rewatching the 196-episode original series IMMEDIATELY. i didn’t get very far (~80 episodes) before the semester started, so i decided to watch just the final season, which is 26 episodes. it took me more than a month to get through them since i’m so busy with academics, but i found such solace in the sporadic episode or two whenever i was tired and wanted to be alone.
  • playing guitar — i started in quarantine and have gotten a lot better since March! i can play F chords now, which is a total game-changer…guitar is such a wonderful way for me to relax, as i’ve learned. it’s so cathartic and nice because there’s tangible progress involved. sometimes, i can play songs that i wasn’t able to even a day or two ago, which is a nice morale boost when i’m suffering under the burden of three impossible psets.
  • seeking meaningful human encounters — a great thing about living with six people is that there’s always someone available to give you a hug. when i was being emo a few weeks ago, one of my roommates invited me into her ~vibey~ room to listen to an album, and it really helped me de-stress. it was such a simple, low-effort interaction—we just laid on our backs, stared at the ceiling, and focused on the music—but it meant a lot to me. these are the kinds of things that happened naturally throughout my freshman year that i’ve sorely missed.
  • cooking — there’s something consuming about cooking that makes it an excellent means of distracting oneself. it also is productive since, well, you make food for yourself that you won’t need to make later. one literal Wednesday afternoon, i made roasted vegetables and a sous vide steak in my Instant Pot and ate it all in one sitting. it was so…random, and yet so fulfilling
  • skincare — this one’s a given. a roommate and i did face masks, painted our nails, and watched Twilight one weeknight, and oh my god, it did so much for me. i also have found a charcoal peel-off mask that works—for the first time in my life since my literal birth i don’t have blackheads—and it’s become my default means of taking a step away from work when i get stuck.

now that i have so little time, what i do with it is so much more important. i’m glad that i’ve found these means of feeling like a person when i’m angsty and want to do nothing but sCreAm because i’m not understanding a concept even after someone’s explained it to me for 45 straight minutes. this semester is tough, but i feel like i have my shit together, at the very least.