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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

This Week in Wellness: Self-care

Photo by Rylee Dolezal.

It shows up in countless self-help books, infinitely many YouTube videos and a seemingly endless number of articles on health-and-wellness sites. There’s even a whole event at New Student Orientation (NSO) dedicated to it. But what exactly is self-care, why is it important and how can students make time for it when between schoolwork, on-campus jobs and everything else while many barely have time to get adequate sleep?

Wikipedia introduces it as “the maintenance of one’s personal well-being and health,” and the Oxford English Dictionary defines gives its more common definition as “the activity of taking care of one’s own health, appearance, or well-being.” A common thread through these definitions is that self-care is personal and as a result must be customized to the habits and preferences of the person practicing it.

So, how can students fit self-care into their daily schedules? One strategy that I like to use is to schedule 15 to 20 minute blocks of time into my day that are not to be used for any kind of schoolwork. During those blocks, I hang out in a quiet spot, maybe watch my favorite TV show and work on a knitting project. This is a more effective way to relax than procrastinating in my opinion, because the designated non-work status of these breaks removes the guilt that comes from pushing off an assignment. Also, 20 minutes is the ideal amount of time for a brief, refreshing nap. As I wrote a few weeks ago, any nap between 20 and 90 minutes will likely cause you to wake up in a deep stage of sleep, which may cause you to feel more tired than you were before you fell asleep.

Another easy way to take time for yourself is mindfulness meditation. There are many meditations available online well under 20 minutes; it’s not at all difficult to find a wide selection that take less than five. Getting into a regular meditation schedule can give you something to look forward to each day if you prefer to do it towards the evening, or a pleasant way to wake up if you prefer morning meditation.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which activities make you feel the best and give you the most effective break from your daily routine. If you’re not sure what works for you yet, though, try something fairly general, like a simple meditation or a visit to the JRC’s Wellness Lounge, as a place to start.

This week’s book:

Set in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Elise Blackwell’s “The Lower Quarter” is a beautifully-written novel that falls somewhere between being a neo-noir mystery set in the art world and a slightly more old-fashioned, hard-boiled thriller with plenty of twists. The story is told between the shifting perspectives of four main characters, whose lives intersect in varying degrees of depth throughout the book.

This week’s music:

Recorded in early 1960, “Ella in Berlin” captures Ella Fitzgerald’s positive and enthusiastic spirit, perhaps better than any other live album from her career. Two of the songs on this album have risen to legendary significance in the history of vocal jazz: “Mack the Knife,” from which she forgot several verses while on stage and made up new words, with correct rhyme scheme and rhythm, on the spot, and “How High the Moon,” which is considered by some to contain one of the best scat solos of all time.

This week’s recipe:

Roasted carrots

This recipe takes very little preparation, and it’s fairly difficult to mess up; just make sure not to overcook the carrots.


– Whole carrots (the amount is not particularly important; you can get a medium-sized bag for about a dollar at Hy-Vee).

– Salt

– Olive oil (I recommend extra-virgin)

– Other spices, if desired

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.     Wash the carrots (do not peel) and slice lengthwise. Cut into one-inch chunks.

3.     Toss carrots with olive oil and salt.

4.     Arrange carrots in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

5.     Roast in oven for 40 minutes, or until tender.

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