BY ALEXA CHERRY
I don’t watch the show Parks and Recreation, but there is a series of screencaps I continually see from it online where two of the characters are flouncing about yelling, “TREAT YO SELF.” I assume they’re yelling, anyway. It’s difficult to tell when the subtitles are always in caps. The premise of this argument seems to be that life is too short to spend struggling through each day. Instead, you should “treat yo self” to one thing every day, because you work hard and you deserve it.
Now, I am all for this mindset, but it’s difficult to achieve in college. We are not full-time parks and rec employees with steady incomes; we are college students, and as such we cannot afford to stop, drop cash, and purchase things to “treat ourselves” just because we feel we’ve worked hard or had a bad day and we deserve it. Even if you think you can afford it, you probably can’t. I find this is a good rule to live by that results in me having more grocery money at the end of the week.
Alright, now that I’ve been the Debbiest of Downers, let me return to this most wise of adages. You do need to treat yourself, but it doesn’t have to be by spending money! Self-care is one of the most important parts of daily life, not to mention young adulthood, and it’s something that is really frequently overlooked in favor of a myriad of things that get in the way: social activities, late-night studying, early-morning studying, work, etc. There are some weeks when everything else in your life seems more important than you, and that’s just not the case. You’re in college to better yourself, not wear yourself to a harried frazzle of a human that can recite entire textbooks verbatim. So settle down and let me tell you about some low-key, inexpensive college ways to “treat yo self.”
In these chillier winter months, one thing that’s great to do is have a long, hot shower. Make it an impractical shower; I mean, get yourself clean, but also use your nicest shower gel. Use shower scrub, if you have it. Afterwards, apply half a bottle of lotion to your person and take your sweet time putting it on. Boys, I don’t know if you go in for this. If you do, fantastic! If not, do whatever the male equivalent of lotion is. I don’t know, take your time shaving or something. Anyway, after your shower you’ll be warm and toasty, and you’ll smell fabulous. If that doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will.
Something else important is to make sure you take care of yourself medically. If you hurt somewhere, if you’re really sick, make an appointment to see the nurse. If the nurse can’t help you, go see a doctor. If your teeth are hurting, make a dentist appointment. This is something I’m learning to do, so I encourage you guys to follow in my footsteps! Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in past months, you can’t just ignore a medical problem until it goes away, because it probably won’t. Get it looked at, you’ll be better off for it. And sometimes you don’t even have to make a doctor’s appointment. For example, taking simple steps like drinking a lot more water, cutting down on caffeine (cutting it out entirely is an impractical quest in college), and taking vitamins will help you out a lot! If you just take Vitamin D, you’ll start feeling better. Even when the sun comes out here, we are literally too far from it (considering the rotation of the earth) to get any of its nice solar benefits, like warmth or vitamins.
Finally, I think that tidying up your environment is another great way to treat yourself. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a clean person when I’m at home. I’ve been sleeping in a beanbag lately because I did all my laundry recently and it is currently compromising my bed, waiting to be folded. But once it’s folded and put away and I’ve tidied the rest of my room, I know for a fact that I will be a much happier person. While I am mostly fine living in a chaotic environment (to a point), when everything is clean and I can actually see my carpet, there’s a not-inconsiderable part of me that sighs in relief and feels at one with the universe. It’s a lot easier for me to focus on homework because I don’t have to clear a space at my desk before I sit down, I feel better waking up in the morning because I don’t have to navigate piles of stuff on my floor, and I’m less stressed because I can find important work, school, and internship documents when I need them instead of rooting through piles of papers that I have “neatly” stacked around the room. Trust me, cleaning is a painful process while it lasts, but once it’s complete you will be much happier with yourself and with life as a whole.
And those are only three ways you can treat yourself on a college budget! Feel free to think of other things you do to cheer yourself up or calm yourself down. These are two things that I imagine are restricted mostly to my feminine audience, but I find that painting my nails and straightening my hair are other relaxing activities that make me feel better about the universe. If you think of any, feel free to send them in, and maybe I’ll do a follow-up article with your suggestions!