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BWW Blog: The A-Z Self-Care List

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I decided to put together a list of favorite self-care activities (A-Z!) to share with all of you!

Hello Broadway lovers, theatre students and creators around the world!! Happy October, and for a lot of us that means fall!! ...And midterm seasons. I've been exhausted lately, and last week left me searching for the motivation to complete a seemingly endless number of online tasks, meetings, and tests. I felt like I was floundering, drowning in the blur of Zoom fatigue. My ballet teacher said it best: everyone's experiencing a general slump these days, made even worse by the fact we're all online. In times like these, we need to remember to give our bodies what they need and treat ourselves to a little self-care.

Hearing that actually made me stop and think- do I show myself enough self-care? Or have I been constantly getting caught up in the go-go-go (or should I say zoom-zoom-zoom) of it all? The answer is DEFINITELY door number 2. I'm awful at self-care, and frequently skip out on it in favor of scrolling through TikTok or panicking about an assignment. And while those activities are good in moderation (maybe not the panicking one), they don't really do much to relax me long term. I'm assuming a lot of you may feel the same way, especially about the wonderfully addictive hole that describes tiktok.

So, I decided to put together a list of favorite self-care activities (A-Z!) to share with all of you! While some activities are geared towards my theatre people, ANYONE can enjoy this list. Whether you're lacking motivation like me, exhausted, or just in need of a little TLC- read on! We're all getting through this together, so let's be kind to ourselves along the way.

Acting videos. They're like cat videos to us. Turn on Neil Patrick Harris's 2013 Tony Awards Opening number, sit back, and smile.

Breathe. I like to do something called the 4-7-8 method of breathing- in for 4, hold for 7, out for eight. Repeat, over and over. No matter how stressed you are, that pattern physically sends signals to your nervous system, telling it to relax. That breathing pattern helps me through moments of panic and anxiety, connecting and grounding me to my breath and body.

Cooking! I've been trying to get into cooking a little more (even though I'm awful at it). It's nice to have something to do with your hands that actually results in a finished product you can enjoy! If you're need of recipe ideas, definitely check out "Because I Said So- Cooking For College" (shameless plug for my mother/daughter cooking channel.)

Dance parties!!! I like to take a five-minute break, put on my favorite song and just wiggle around my room. It makes me smile, gets my energy up, and I get to listen to my favorite music!!

Eat a snack. Something you really enjoy, pull up a funny video on your phone, and just take a moment for you- with some good food! I once saw a quote that says eating a snack can change your mood, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Friends. Call a really good friend you haven't talked to in a while, and just catch up! This is something that actually really helps me feel better and more connected to the world around me.

Gratitude. When I'm feeling really overwhelmed, sometimes just listing three things that makes me feel grateful for the life I'm living bring me back to the present moment and improve my mood!

Hydrate!!! I never get enough water, probably ever. But, drinking water is actually known to lower stress and remove headaches and fatigue! What's not to love?

Imagine. Sometimes, escaping into a world of your imagination (ex. reading a book, writing a poem, daydreaming) really helps take the mind out of the present worries. Reading works best for me, when I finally get into a good book...I feel a little more relaxed.

Journaling! Or as I like to call them, "thought dumps." Someone once told me that our minds are like pressure cookers, just in need of a release every now and again. Put pen to paper and write about whatever comes to mind, this is something that really helps me cool off a bit.

Kick a ball. Or ride your bike. Or anything outside in the fresh air! Zoom all day is exhausting. Nothing changes my mood like getting a breath of fresh air, it's nice to see a world outside the screen.

Listen. One of my favorite grounding exercises I learned is to take 30 seconds to listen to the sounds of the world around me. I close my eyes and just try to hear anything and everything, it helps bring me back to the present.

Meditate! Even a 5 minute one always leaves me feeling a little bit calmer. Shine is a great app to try.

Nap. I am personally the worst napper on this planet, but my friends SWEAR by them for productivity and self-care necessity. And if you're really exhausted, getting your 3:00 shut eye can be just the thing!

Optimism. I like searching for good news in the world, it makes me feel a little better when there's an onslaught of bad news. Good News Network and The Today Show's segment on positivity are the places I typically go!

Podcasts! It took me a while to get into podcasts, but now one of my actual favorite self-care activities (when I make the space for one) involves listening to my favorite podcast (Backstage's In The Envelope) while I color, draw or just look out the window and listen!

Quote break. Searching quotes on Google doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but if you have a favorite quote or positive affirmation- taking a moment to really read over them or recite them! I like affirmations, they make me feel like I'm setting the intention to do and be better.

Random Act of Kindness! Something that makes me the happiest is when I do something nice for someone else. It really grounds me and puts the possibilities of the day back in my control. Go tell someone you love them!

Social media break. Seeing everyone's stories on Instagram and Snapchat often send me into a whirlwind of comparison, especially when I see people living at college (I'm at home this semester). Sometimes it really works wonders for my mental state when I switch off Instagram in favor of reading a book or talking to a friend! (I need to do this one more often, for sure).

Television!! On my most stressed out days, nothing relaxes me like a good episode of my favorite sitcom (*cough cough* Parks and Rec). One of the reasons that art is so powerful and special is the escape it offers us from the crazy world we live in. And it's okay to just escape and relax sometimes! So, turn on a funny TV show and laugh a little.

Understanding people. I have a few friends and family members who I know that I can open up to whenever I need to talk, with the mutual understanding that we're there for each other. Talking to someone who understands me and what I'm going through helps remind me that everything is okay. If you're in need of someone to talk to, my inbox is always (always!!) open- reach out and let's get through this together!! (vettegirl17@verizon.net)

Visit socially distanced! It's so much harder to see people right now, something that has been really difficult for me. But sometimes my friends come over and sit 6 feet apart on my driveway- and it's actually the highlight of my day! Little things like this.

Watch something that makes you laugh. I know I said TV earlier, but I wanted to emphasize that this can really be ANYTHING- a favorite YouTube compilation, TikTok video or just videos of your baby cousin!! I love watching blooper reels from my favorite sitcoms on YouTube- watching other actors have fun and break character makes me so happy.

X....if you think of a self-care act that begins with X, PLEASE let me know. Thank you.

You got this. Sometimes, taking a minute to write down or reflect what I appreciate about myself, or reminding myself of all the things I've done and can do...it puts the power back in my hands. I might be slumping right now, but I will get through this. And the same goes for you. Take some time to appreciate YOU!! You are special, unique, wonderful.

Zen. I had to ask my friends for help on a "z," because I couldn't end the A-Z article on Y!! But at the end of the day, do whatever makes you happy, relaxed, and a little closer to achieving a greater level of personal zen! Self-care looks different for everyone, but that's what makes it so valuable and personal!

Take care of yourself everyone, however that looks to you! These are difficult times! And it's okay if you're in a slump, I've been (and am!) there a lot. But I have no doubt that we will get through this together. My inbox is ALWAYS open (vettegirl17@verizon.net), whether it's with questions or you just want to talk! Here's to a peaceful rest of October, full of happiness and giving ourselves that care we need!

Love,

Leah



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From This Author Student Blogger: Leah Packer