Separation of School and Self-Care

A 'Day in the Life' photo essay of a student who stays busy, but also encourages self-care

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Separation of School and Self-Care

December 2018. Photo by Emmaria Young.

December 2018. Photo by Emmaria Young.

December 2018. Photo by Emmaria Young.

December 2018. Photo by Emmaria Young.

Emmaria Young, Staff Reporter

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I’m Emmaria Young, and I am a senior at WCHS. I am currently doing some major credit recovery of 14 online classes, as well as the eight core classes that I take at school. So, if anyone understands the stress of life, it would be me–which is why I am a huge advocate for self-care. I know not everyone feels like they have the time to incorporate a full day of pampering, so I am going to take you through a day in my life to show you small ways to add self-care in your daily life, while also balancing the workload of being a student.

My after-school routine starts at 3:50 pm. This is when I arrive home from school. Photo by Emmaria Young.

The first thing I do when I get home is let out my dogs. This is the first step I take in adding self-care to my daily life. Playing with the dogs allows me to let out any frustrations or stress from the school day to kind of ease my mind.

This is my ten-year-old dog named Twix. He is always excited to see me when I get home, so I have to show him some love before I get to work. Photo by Emmaria Young.

Vandy is my brother’s dog. He is very hyper and has so much puppy energy. Vandy really helps to distract me from any stress until I am ready to deal with it. Photo by Emmaria Young.

On some days I will take a nap between 4 pm to 4:45 pm. I think sleep is a very important step in self-care as well as keeping your brain healthy. A 45-minute nap really helps to give an energy boost as well as improve concentration for when I have lots of schoolwork to do.

My dog Twix and I laying down for an energy-boosting nap before chores and homework. Photo by Emmaria Young.

After my nap, I will lay around procrastinating. Eventually, I get up to do a few chores to help my mom when she is busy working. It is also nice to just be able to work in a clean environment. For me, if I do small chores before I start doing homework, it really helps my mind be in the mood to work and focus.

My messy kitchen sink that needs dire attention. Photo by Emmaria Young.

My incredibly clean kitchen just 20 minutes later. Photo by Emmaria Young.

My last and favorite chore of the evening is to water all of our plants.

I love to water this plant specifically because it is a succulent, and they fascinate me the most. Photo by Emmaria Young.

By 5:30 pm, I begin looking at my to-do lists and my planner to see the most important things I need to do. I also pull out all of my folders so that I can go ahead and organize my papers before I even get started. Personally, it is more beneficial for me when I write assignments down with due dates, rather than trying to remember them because I always forget something. It is a habit I definitely recommend adopting.

My to-do lists are always this long and thorough. Each item has a designated time frame. If it is not starred then it can hold off another day if I do not finish all of my assignments before 7:30 pm. Photo by Emmaria Young.

Halfway through my work, I will put some caffeine in my system. I can not have coffee past 3 pm or I will be up all night, so I drink a cup of green tea.

Green tea is a miracle tea. It has so many healing properties as well as helps give a slow activating energy boost that is not overpowering. This is definitely a self-care drink, that I think should be tried. Photo by Emmaria Young.

Also, a good way to allow yourself some peace while working hard and stressing is to allow yourself breaks. Every 25 minutes of focused work I allow myself 5 to 7 minutes of free time that is not distracting to my brain. So I don’t watch TV, I do not get on my phone, and I don’t listen to any distracting music. That is all for my free time.

Halfway through my workload for the day, it always seems so overwhelming but once it is all in a planned out format it is less daunting. Photo by Emmaria Young.

I only let myself do focused work roughly for about 2 hours. After the clock hits 7:30 pm I come to a stopping point no matter if I am finished or not. That is the end of homework time for me. Giving myself a set window for a designated work time helps to train my brain to know when it needs to be the most focused and on a task in order to prioritize time.

After all of my work is said and done I will eat dinner with my family between 7:30 and 8 pm. This is the beginning of my free time and appointed self-care. During this time I will eat dinner, shower, maybe watch a movie and I will journal or plan for the next day.

Dinner was homemade chicken tenders, green beans, sweet potatoes, and yellow rice. I love to cook with my mom since it is our only family time since we are both so busy during the day. Photo by Emmaria Young.

I finally get ready and settled into bed by 10:30 pm. In order to completely feel relaxed, I will journal how I am feeling and write some goals I have for life. Oil diffusers are also something I highly recommend. They are incredible for aromatherapy, and they help to clear the mind. Lavender and peppermint together really help to calm my body and release any tension or stress I am felling. My number one tip is to let your phone or any other devices charge on the other side of your room away from your bed. It forces you to stay off of it and allows your brain to fully de-stress from the day and get ready for sleep.

Lavender and Peppermint oil in a diffuser really help set the mood for bedtime. Photo by Emmaria Young.

The absolute last thing I do before I go to bed is to open my blinds and look at the sky. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is transcendent as well as peaceful.

The last thing I see before I fall asleep is the moon in all of its glory. It always helps to keep me in a good mood when I wake up the next morning. Photo by Emmaria Young.

I hope that this day in my life can help you learn to include daily practices of self-care in your life. just remember that needing self-care is not selfish. it is something that everyone needs in order to feel peace and to feel rejuvenated in times of stress.