Friday, May 6, 2016

Self Care in the Dead of the Semester

At first I wasn't sure what to title this with — #obsessed, Food Friday, or MDIP. It's a bit of everything, so we'll see how it goes, but it may be for the best to do a plain, uncategorized post. The context of this shopping trip is Dead Week, the week before finals, when Berkeley students have nothing and everything to do all at once. For me, this meant meetings and events and projects to attend to, and my stress levels were through the roof. Worse yet, the stress left me with little attention to pay towards self care. Suddenly, on Wednesday, I found myself heaped upon my bed, utterly burnt out and wasting away, feeling icky both mentally and physically (I hadn't showered for three days, it's gross, I know). This was too far. I pulled myself up with an emphatic, "Ugh." It was time to do something about this mess, both me and my room.

After a thorough shower and complete restoration of my desk to a functional work space, I made plans. Captain America: Civil War was coming out on Thursday, and I needed a face mask. Emma, who's also a big Marvel fan, had expressed that she wanted to see the movie at the first chance possible, but we had only made tentative plans. "This is self-care," I told myself. "I can't work on my project due Friday if I'm not relaxed," I rationalized. It was going to happen, no matter what. And it did. Thursday morning, after checking off a slew of to-dos and popping my laundry into the machine, we headed off to Bay Street (or as I like to call it, Bae Street). The movie wasn't until 7pm, so we had four hours to shop and eat. I traded in five old Lush pots for a new face mask, my regular, Love Lettuce, and picked up a sample of the Sacred Truth face mask (to refresh and brighten), which I've never tried before. I also bought a solid shampoo bar, the Montalbano, which will be easier for transportation when I'm traveling this summer. It smells like lemons and I can't stop sniffing it (I've always had a weakness for citrus scents). I grabbed a catalog on the way out too, and it smells just like the Lush shop.

After Lush, we browsed around in Forever 21, finding nothing of interest. We meandered up the street to Aerie, which was having a 5 for $15 undies sale. You can never have too much underwear. I spent too long being indecisive, so with an hour left, we finally ended up in H&M. I picked up a $10 pair of jeans and some loose grey trousers (on sale for $5). I also found a $35 cardigan on sale for $15, so I bought it. You can never have too many cardigans.

With half an hour left, we needed to get food before seeing the movie. Moving upstairs, Emma suggested Fuddruckers. I had never eaten there before, but I trusted her judgement, so in we went. They had an interesting assortment of burgers, including elk and buffalo burgers. I decided to play it safe, with a grilled chicken, which was absolutely amazing. The portions were huge, so it was a good value, and the meat was perfectly tender. With ten minutes left to the movie, we inhaled the food in record time and sprinted to the theatre. It was packed, but luckily a pair of guys realized they were in the wrong theater, and we got their seats. The movie was amazing, but I won't talk about it to avoid any spoilers. By now, it was almost ten, and the sky was pitch black. This was probably the latest I've been off campus independently, but we were right on time for the bus, which took us straight back to campus.

It was an exhausting adventure, but completely worth it. Self care is a necessary part of life, and sometimes I forget that because I'm so preoccupied with work. I need to remember that it's ok to not be working on a project, and to go out and have fun and forget about responsibilities. Very few, if any, people are designed to be 100% productive 100% of the time, no matter what kind of workaholic they may be. And self care doesn't have to be anything extravagant, like a two week tropical vacation. It's spending time with friends, shopping, watching a movie, sniffing lemons. ◊

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