By Morgan Donohue (CAS’22)
It is easy to get caught up in school assignments, work tasks, club responsibilities, and general life commitments. Once the semester really kicks into gear and your to-do list gets longer, the urge to just work can get really strong. For me, little daily rituals and personal to-do lists help me make myself as much of a priority as my school work, and help me stay refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
In terms of daily rituals, I like to find parts of my day when I can be quiet, sit back, and take some deep breaths. I like to make sure that I drink water and do some stretching before I check my phone in the morning, and even then I only download a podcast to listen to during my run. When I make breakfast, I take it over to my comfy chair by the window and sit in a warm sunny spot to eat. I like to plan my day out while I drink coffee. At night, after dinner and dishes, I make a pot of tea and sit down to do the last of my work for the day. One of my favorite parts of the day is right before bed when I like to journal and then read before I turn out the light. I am currently working my way through Anna Karenina, a couple of chapters every night.
The great thing about little rituals like these is that they are built-in checkpoints in the day that, once you start, become routine. I do not have to carve out time in my day to sit down for this because it is infused into my routine. Even short moments let you relax, take stock, and prepare for the next thing you have to do.
I have also become a huge fan of personal to-do lists. Over the past couple of years, I started writing down a few things that I wanted to do each day, whether it was to do the crossword in the newspaper or to go out for lunch with friends. I do this every morning while I plan my day out over my coffee, and while the rituals I have let me slow down and check in with myself, my personal list makes having fun and enjoying non-academic and non-work activities a priority for me as well.
When life gets busy, it is easy to slip in to the habit of class, work, sleep, repeat. By making sure that you have your own time and priorities, you are more likely to be excited for each day and enjoy your classes and work even more than you would already. I believe that college is a great opportunity to find what balance means for you. I cannot recommend enough finding times to wind down during your day and finding a way to make your wellbeing as important as your assignments.