According to the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care is “taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health.” At Hopkins, there are many ways to practice self-care with all the events around campus and resources available.

There were a lot of activities during Reading Week, the period between the last day of classes and the start of finals, when students are balancing studying and preparing final presentations with wrapping up club projects and events. One of my favorite activities was held by A Place to Talk, a peer listening group where anyone can sit down and discuss anything on their mind to trained student listeners. They host a “Rest Fest” each year with different activities for students to unwind and take a mental health break. This year, they brought a petting zoo to campus for students to enjoy! You can find A Place to Talk during the semester in the library and Wolman Hall.

You can use equipment like squash rackets at the Rec Center.

I’ve found getting regular exercise has been a great way to focus on health while boosting my mood. I played badminton in high school, so going to the Rec Center for a casual game is one of my favorite ways to release some pent-up stress. There is also equipment available to rent for free! This semester, I played squash and pickleball with friends for the first time. It was so much fun to try unfamiliar activities together even though none of us knew how to play. Exploring something new without pressure to be an expert reminded me it’s important to be carefree at times.  

There are also many fitness classes at the Rec Center that provide similar outlets to destress, such as high-intensity boxing and cycling. I enjoyed beginner yoga and barre, which is like a combination of ballet, yoga, and Pilates. This semester, I made it my goal to attend a group fitness class once a week and signed up for a barre class on Monday evenings after my classes. The instructor guided us in being mindful of our breathing techniques and movements. I always thought yoga was too quiet and dull, but it was relaxing to slow down and focus on the poses. Plus, if you stop by the Rec Center on Tuesdays, you can find Tillie the therapy dog, who is always so happy to see people, by the entrance.

Visit Tillie at the Rec Center!

For me, self-care means looking after my own mental and physical health by setting aside time for the hobbies that bring me peace. This can include different low-stress activities like taking a walk around campus as a study break and grabbing a baked treat from Brody Cafe. It can also mean trying new things with friends for a change of pace, which reminds me there is so much to experience around campus. Practicing self-care can become an easy habit with the different outlets that Hopkins provides!