For students, self-care is often an afterthought when juggling classes, jobs, and extracurriculars. Expensive spa treatments, yoga classes, and beach club memberships aren’t always an option when living on a college budget. But have no fear: enjoying some quality “me-time” only involves a few key elements. Keep it simple and inexpensive with these tips and tricks.
When tourists visit Miami, they usually come with one thing in mind: to relax and let loose.
With palm trees, turquoise water, great food, and stunning views, the city seems like a paradise for people seeking respite from their stressful lives.
As college students, however, our day-to-day lives don’t always involve sipping on margaritas by the beach, and we often have a tighter budget than most visitors. Sophomore Skyler Mahoney said that finding time for self-care doesn’t always come naturally, especially for students with busier schedules.
“You definitely have to make time for it if you’re taking difficult classes,” said Mahoney. “I have to go to bed a little later just so I can get my homework done and still have time to calm myself down and relax.” Valerie York-Zimmerman, certified mindfulness teacher and founder of Miami Mindfulness, also struggles sometimes with planning “me-time.”
“I am able to take time once I have decided something is valuable and worthwhile doing,” said York-Zimmerman. “When I first began meditating, I scheduled meditation appointments in my calendar just as I scheduled business appointments.” But once you’ve created a slot in your schedule for some self-care, where do you start? Yes, you could always book a mani-pedi appointment or go to a pilates class, but
what if your funds are running a little low? Or what if you just want to stay home?
Yoga instructor Jennifer Byer wants students to understand that self-care doesn’t have to break the bank. “A lot of times people think self-care is a luxury, like going to get your nails done or going to get a massage, and all of that costs money,” Byer said. “It doesn’t have to cost money, and it’s not a luxury.” Aromatherapy is a science-backed component that helps make the perfect pampering session. Scented lotions, bath bombs, candles, and essential oils can be used to give your spa day another dimension of relaxation. Try using lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and chamomile, which are all revered by aromatherapists for their relaxing aromas.
For some, a bubble bath is an essential part of any spa day. There’s something so “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” about reclining in a mountain of bubbles. Temperature-wise, it’s best to stick to warm water while winding down, as colder temperatures can spike your adrenaline levels and make it harder to relax.
Additionally, giving yourself a facial massage with your favorite skincare products and a jade roller is a great way to loosen up facial muscles and prevent stress lines. To really take it up a notch, incorporate some music. Try listening to manifestation frequencies or ocean sounds, which can be found with a simple Spotify search. If you prefer lyrics, ambient house, soft rock, and old torch songs can also help elevate your vibe. But really, whatever genre that’s comforting for you will do the trick. Slow R&B, soft indie, and classical music are all appropriate genres for your spa day.
Relaxation doesn’t have to be all healthy and serious though. Byer said the key to being truly mindful isn’t being perfectionistic about any specific element, but rather to ask yourself: what does your body need right now? Does it need a rest? Does it need a bath? Does it need some chocolate ice cream? Basically, you do you. If your idea of taking a break is opening a tub of Ben and Jerry’s or sipping on a glass of rosé, then go right ahead.
You can also take this time to journal, meditate, watch your favorite show, paint your nails, call a friend — whatever soothes you the most. There is no “correct” way to have a spa-day, and its completely open to interpretation. Mahoney loves to combine her me-time with quality social interactions by calling a family member or playing with her roommate’s dog. York – Zimmerman recommends “being willing to experiment with different formulas, exploring your own experiences, and studying the results
for yourself,” when searching for the perfect wellness routine.
Any amount of time devoted to self-care is enough to make a difference, but York – Zimmerman says that even 20 or 30 minutes of some form of meditative practice helps her college clients “clear their foggy minds” and feel more reenergized. “If you’re just ‘go go go’ all the time, you don’t have time to sit and absorb what you’re learning at school or reading in a book. You don’t have time to process it,” said Byer. “I have realized that I’m no good to anybody if I don’t take care of myself.”
With midterm season quickly approaching, it’s more important than ever to find a sliver of time for yourself to kick back. “If you have five minutes to scroll on TikTok, you have five minutes to just sit there and appreciate everything,” said Mahoney. “You need to start somewhere!”
Even if it’s just taking a hot shower, lighting some incense, or playing your favorite record, try taking a moment to indulge your senses in some much-needed relief. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself later.
Staff Writer Virginia Suardi whipped up these spa day recipes out of basic ingredients that are perfect in a pinch!
Avocado hair mask:
This hair mask recipe is great for shine, moisture, and damage repair.
Bonus: you can also use it as a face mask – just omit the coconut oil to prevent pore clogging!
• 1 avocado
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 2 tbsp honey
Blend ingredients until smooth. Apply to damp hair from roots to ends, and leave in for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and shampoo & condition as normal.
Brown sugar body scrub:
This sugar scrub is amazing for exfoliation, boosting blood circulation, and providing a stunning glow. (And it smells amazing!)
• 1 cup brown sugar
• ½ cup coconut oil
• ¼ cup honey
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Use on wet skin, avoiding sensitive areas. Follow up by moisturizing with sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil, or your favorite body lotion.
Matcha face mask:
Yes, you read that right: you can use matcha as a face mask! This mask is great for controlling oil production and promoting clear skin.
words_virginia saurdi. design_roberta macedo. photo_nina d’agostini.
This article was published in Distraction’s Fall 2022 print issue.