With midterms, projects and quizzes galore, we often forget to take healthy breaks and make sure we don’t burn ourselves out. Channeling our inner imaginators is an excellent way to ensure we give ourselves the care we need to keep on keeping on.
Create your own feel-good playlist
Music is super therapeutic, but there’s no better feeling than having complete control over what you’re listening to (or are going to listen to). Try making a few playlists with your favorite songs to help you relax and make you feel good. Then, press play and listen on repeat! We suggest investing in a good, comfy pair of noise-canceling or audiophile headphones to ensure the best experience.
Bake or cook a recipe with your own twist
Throw away that worn-out recipe (well, not entirely), and try making some food in your own way! Use a traditional recipe as a base for some of your go-to comfort foods, but customize it to what you’re vibing with at the moment. For example, if you’re craving some mac and cheese, make it the way it’s usually made but use mozzarella instead of cheddar, or add some sour cream and green onions on top.
Nothing gets those creative juices flowing quite like doodling. There’s a good reason why you do it when you’re bored in class: Your creative side is obviously trapped and wants to be freed. Sometimes just letting your imagination run wild across the margins of your notebook papers is all your mind needs to de-stress.
Go for a walk
You can’t go wrong with a brisk walk around the city of Berkeley. Head down to the Berkeley Marina or Fourth Street and stroll through the shops; there are a ton of cute, boutique-style hideouts that’ll definitely put you in a magical mood. Walk around campus to the parts you usually don’t explore. Take in the trees, people lying in the grass and squirrels planning sneak attacks in the branches above you — try to forget about your worries.
Exercise seems like a chore, but dance makes it fun! Find a style of dance that gets you moving and that you genuinely have fun doing. While dancing may not be everyone’s go-to for de-stressing, we suggest trying it anyway! With dance, you’ll be setting aside some “you” time to take your mind off of whatever is plaguing you at the moment. It’ll boost your Berkeley brain by releasing endorphins, so you’ll feel great while doing something great for you.
Make a DIY face mask
Sure, face masks that come in tubes and packets are great, but it’s an otherworldly experience making your own! Search up a recipe online that combines common household ingredients such as honey, milk, eggs, cinnamon, baking soda, coconut oil and more. There’s something special about mixing your own face mask and making yourself feel like a Hogwarts student in professor Snape’s Potions class! Slather on your creation, relax in front of that show you’ve been meaning to catch up on and let the stress melt away along with your dry skin.
Complete a coloring book
This isn’t for the faint of heart. A creative challenge that’ll almost surely drain your stress is tackling an entire coloring book. The feat will definitely take up a good chunk of your time, so you’ll have plenty of time to distance yourself from your worries and go to town with some markers or whatever your artistic weapon of choice is.
With UC Berkeley being as academically challenging as it is, it’s necessary to ensure your mental health is — and stays — in good shape. Don’t forget to unplug from the academic world every now and then. Tap into your creativity and do something for yourself!