The Importance of Integrating Self-Care into your Schedule

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Hey Duke Students!

It’s almost Spring and that means beautiful weather! I know I’m ready for more blue skies and less freezing cold days. Personally, I feel best mentally when the weather is nice and take every chance I can to relax outside when I’m not in class, doing work, or at an event. I find that taking a moment to myself to just breathe, have a cup of tea, read a non-class related book, or sit outside and draw, has really positive effects on the rest of my day. Honestly, taking the time to do things like this allows me to clear my head and be more prepared for classes and application writing, when the time comes.

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January was Mental Health Awareness month, but I think it’s important to be aware of your mental health every month! A lot of people don’t understand that mental health and physical health are incredibly intertwined. Taking care of your body can improve your mental health and even when your mind is just so cluttered that you don’t feel like doing anything. There are definitely days where I would much rather take a second nap than go lift weights in Brodie Gym, but after forcing myself to go get some exercise, I feel much more productive. This increase in productivity is seen in the progression I’ve made in my career path, and if you try to stay active, I think you’ll see similar results. The days during which I have minimal physical activity tend to be my least productive days.

Most of us spend a lot of the time sitting in class, sitting at a desk at work, sitting on the couch to study, and laying down to take quick naps between more class time spend sitting. All of the time we spend exercising our brains takes away from the amount of time we have to exercise our bodies. In turn, this decreases our productivity in classes, in the office, and while studying. So, while you might not think that skipping the gym this week is a big deal, your mental health might feel differently.

There are also so many non-physical activities provided on campus to help you clear your mind. Duke Koru is one of my personal favorites because the session focus changes each week, giving the program some nice diversity for those of you who don’t like repetitive routines. The Wellness Center also provides many opportunities for mental relaxation and detoxing, including the Oasis and the CAPS center for interpersonal strategies for mental release.

Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities! I know it’s really easy to get stressed out with classwork deadlines, work shifts, early mornings, late nights in Lilly, application due dates, resume building, and everything in between. All students deserve a moment to recharge, and Duke understands that. You’ll thank yourself when you see just how much more you can get done with a healthy body and a clear mind.

Go get your self-care on and advance your career with a more positive attitude!

Happy relaxing,

 

An eager (but relaxed) first-year

 

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