Juggling class, homework, and work can be overwhelming. When you finally get a day off, it can be tempting to spend it in bed watching movies on Netflix, even when you’ve got a to-do list that’s a mile long. You should probably clean your apartment, start on that laundry you’ve been putting off, or run some errands, but you’re so burnt out that just leaving the house feels like a herculean task. As difficult as it is to get out of bed on your day off, there are ways to balance the self-care you desperately need while also making sure you get some things done. Here’s how to make the most out of your day off:
Photo: Gregory Pappas on Unsplash
1. Sleep in. Sure, you’ve got a lot you need to get done today, but there’s no reason to rush. You deserve some time to yourself, and there’s no need to force yourself up before 11 am. It can be draining waking up to your alarm clock every morning, so try setting it to go off a few hours later. If your alarm clock is an app on your phone, try setting the alarm to a softer, more soothing sound to ease you out of your sleep instead of jerking you awake.
2. Make a list. After you’ve gotten up, it’s time to organize your thoughts. The best way to make sure you get to everything you’ve been putting off is to make a list. This is the perfect time to get your groceries for the week, make your doctor’s appointments, and plan out the rest of your week. The most overwhelming thing about having a lot on your plate is not being able to define it finitely. It seems like you’ll never get anything done, but putting it down on a physical list not only ensures that you won’t forget anything you mean to do, but it also reassures you that it doesn’t go on forever.
3. Clean your quarters. Whether you’re living at home, in a dorm, or in your own apartment, your off-day is the perfect time to get around to cleaning your living space. You’ve probably built up a lot of trash, clutter, and laundry while bouncing back and forth between school and work. All the junk is starting to stress you out. It can be hard to focus on getting things done when your workspace is a mess. The best way to concentrate is to have a clean environment. Throw away all those food wrappers, gather up all that laundry, and put everything away that’s been sitting out.
4. Catch up where you’re behind. If you’re behind on homework or need to study for a test, your off-day is the perfect time to catch up. Time to finish that reading, take those notes, or fill out those worksheets. Or, if you’re all caught up, this can be the perfect opportunity to get ahead. That way, if the upcoming week throws too much at you, you don’t have to worry about getting behind.
5. Take care of yourself. You’ve been going non-stop, barely keeping up with everything that’s on your schedule. The stress of trying to balance both school and work is taking its toll. It’s time to reward yourself for all your hard work this week by doing whatever it is that makes you feel refreshed. Maybe you could take a bubble bath and finally finish that book your friends have been telling you about. Maybe you’d feel more relaxed lying in bed and watching a movie. Maybe you need a night out with some friends. Whatever it is that makes you feel recharged, today is your day to treat yourself.
In a society that pressures you to put the pedal to the metal all day everyday, it’s important to remember that you need some time to yourself. Don’t let your work and school obligations keep you from focusing on what’s really important: yourself. You won’t always be taking classes and you won’t always be waiting tables, but you’ll always be living in your body, so you need to be sure to make time to take care of it.
Forrest Palmer is a Transgender Man dedicated to using his writing platform to advocate for minorities within the LGBTQ+ community. He has been writing short stories since the fourth grade, attended an audition-only fine arts high school for creative writing, and is continuing his journey as a writer as an English major in college.