Staff favorites: Entertainment-related self care

Shideh Ghandeharizadeh | Daily Trojan

As we near the end of the fall semester, now more than ever, it’s important we focus on ways to practice self-care. Although self-care is important regardless of the global climate, it is especially relevant amid the pandemic and health concerns; let’s remember how crucial our mental health is as well. Considering the new challenges students face with virtual learning, making time to focus on themselves and engage in self care to protect well being and happiness is valuable. 

We’ve compiled a list of some of our staff writers’ favorite arts and entertainment-related self-care activities, so get ready to take some notes and learn about ways to concentrate on yourself for this coming break. 

Although I’m not the best at drawing, I love getting to draw my favorite TV characters in college gear. I’m a huge cartoon fan, so I’ve done “The Powerpuff Girls” and characters from “Rick and Morty” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” It’s something that makes me happy and sometimes I’ll send the drawings to my friends who go to different colleges around the country. I’ll usually change the character’s appearance slightly, so they look more like the friend I am sending it to. 

Drawing characters allows me to stop worrying about life and just concentrate on the linework, which helps me center myself. I feel great at the end of it because I’ve taken some time to do something I like, and I also get to brighten up some of my friends’ days! I like that it’s easy to fit into my schedule, no matter how busy it is since I can pick up where I left off without any problem. I can do as much or as little as I would like at a time. It also gives me an excuse to try out different art supplies that I otherwise wouldn’t be using. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t think they are good at drawing because I find it is easier to work with cartoon characters than real people. 

— Jade Bolton, staff writer

In the midst of daily Zoom classes, my main focus has become prioritizing time spent outdoors to give my eyes and mind a much-needed break. A recent self-care activity that I like to do in between classes is going on a walk while listening to music or a podcast. One podcast that I have recently been diving into is Dax Shepard’s, “Armchair Expert,” where he interviews celebrities each week about the ups and downs of life. Setting aside just 30 minutes to walk outside and listen to a podcast helps me not only clear my head but also provides me with the opportunity to step away from my laptop. In addition to podcasts, I’ll usually listen to “feel-good” songs that help me escape the reality of quarantine, like Elton John’s, “I’m Still Standing,” and Billy Joel’s, “Only the Good Die Young.” Although technology has been extremely helpful in staying connected, hours spent staring at a computer screen can easily take its toll. 

Taking the time to close my laptop screen and take a break from social media and exercise has helped me stay active and present when the days become monotonous. Although I enjoy working out, it can easily get repetitive and boring if I don’t make it exciting by listening to a podcast or music. Looking forward to the new episode of “Armchair Expert,” or listening to songs I’ve recently added to my playlist are additions that help encourage me to get outside and makes an activity as simple as walking, more entertaining. Despite the fact that staying inside often seems like the easy choice, I always feel better after I force myself to move, get some fresh air and take my mind off of online work for a moment. Gaining that clarity becomes an essential part in maintaining my stress levels and focus for the rest of the day. 

— Olivia Flynn, staff writer

My favorite form of self-care is listening to music. Sometimes having the right song to listen to can completely change my mood or mindset, so I try to give myself breaks in between homework for opportunities to listen to music and destress. Currently, I’ve been listening to Fleetwood Mac’s self titled album along with “Rumours” during my breaks, and these albums create very relaxing environments for me. Specifically, the song “Rhiannon” is one of my favorites and brings me peace while I’m trying to grind out lab reports.

Besides Fleetwood Mac, artists I generally listen to for destressing include Wallows, The 1975, ASAP Rocky, Aaron May, Rex Orange County and Mac Miller for their various abilities to either energize or relax me. When I listen to music that I enjoy I’m able to shift my focus away from the stress of school and let myself be enveloped in the emotions of the songs. By taking the time out of my schedule to enjoy music, I’m allowing myself space to exist and think outside of school, and direct my attention to how I feel outside of my productivity. 

— Vlada Demenko, staff writer

When I feel like chucking my laptop against a wall after a long day of Zoom classes, I pick up a book and sit outside to read. Whether it’s for 30 minutes or two hours, taking the time to get some fresh air and to look at something other than a computer screen really helps me decompress. Right now, I’m in the middle of reading Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” and Richard Powers’ “The Overstory.” I’d highly recommend both of these books to anyone looking for a heart racing treasure hunt through Washington D.C. or for those looking to slow down and contemplate human beings’ relationship with trees. 

In our world of streaming services and social media, we’re all easily tempted to binge watch a TV show or mindlessly scroll through hundreds of TikToks in one sitting as a “break” from Zoom classes. If anything, this just adds to our daily tech fatigue. In order to prioritize my physical and mental health during this strange semester, I take the time to unplug — from texts, Instagram, Snapchat, Slack, email, everything — and reconnect with myself by jumping into a different world through the pages of a book. 

Catherine Orihuela, staff writer

Zoom fatigue has really been hitting me hard these days, so when my classes are over you’ll generally find me curled up on my bed listening to Frank Ocean or BTS and reading a book. Since I’m not able to go to my local library anymore because of the pandemic, I’ve been using Goodreads a lot more to get book recommendations. Although I miss the librarians who would always point me toward the newest releases or a book they particularly liked, I’ve located several Goodreads reviewers who seem to have the same tastes in books as me. 

Since 2018, I’ve participated in the Goodreads yearly reading challenge, and this year I’ve challenged myself to read 75 new books. Two of my favorite books I’ve read so far are Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” and Carol Rifka Brunt’s “Tell the Wolves I’m Home.” Both works are exquisitely written and deeply personal; I was turning the pages while holding back tears. Because I like to be a little dramatic while reading, I curate my playlist to the book I’m reading — for example, my reading session for “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” featured heart wrenching songs such as Frank Ocean’s “White Ferrari” and Current Joys’ “A Different Age.” I love to get lost in the pages of a book and it really helps me escape from my worries, even if it’s just for an hour. 

— May Song, staff writer