Jessica Zhou, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is upon us… and  whether you’re for or against the commercialization of expressions of love (which is a whole other can of worms), as the endlessly fabulous Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle like to say, “Treat yo’ self.” Now is the best time you could ever have to pamper yourself with some TLC!

While Tom and Donna like to luxuriate in the more lavish things, it’s also important to touch up upon the basic things, which often times can seem like luxuries as the over-scheduled, under-rested students we are.  It is more than possible to feel like royalty with the simpler pleasures. That being said, self care should not be a luxury, but instead an established norm that you should strive to continuously meet.

Home Spa Treatment

Bath Bombs

Feeling tense? The next time you treat yo’ self to a nice hot bath, try throwing in a bath bomb. For the uninitiated, bath bombs are basically bundles of glitter and joy and fragrances and other beautiful things that *explode* when you throw ‘em in a bathtub! I think I’d cry happy tears if bath bombs tasted as good as they looked (do those cake-shaped bath bombs not look really tasty to you, or am I just really hungry?). Lush and Etsy are both solid options to buy from, and there are plenty of nifty DIY tutorials floating around on the internet as well.  Alternatively, consider bath salts, or your classic bubble bath to spice up your next soak. (Live a little!)

EZ Self Massage

Feeling tense? Massages are a great way to loosen up knots and alleviate some aches caused by the daily grind. Thankfully, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home to try this simple massage. Ah, the humble tennis ball. Unbeknownst to most people, there is so much potential hidden within this unassuming neon ball when it doubles as a handy self-massage tool. According to ThankYourBody.net, this unexpected method is so effective because it loosens tight muscles “either by rolling through muscle chains or working with specific pressure points for a sustain period of time.” The key to deep massaging any sore areas of your body is to apply pressure, and then roll said body part over the tennis ball. For more specific instructions and explanation, go to http://www.thankyourbody.com/tight-muscles-tennis-ball-massage/.

Just for Funsies

Post-its/Little Mirror Messages

Maybe you might not love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye, but having one of his quotes taped on your mirror is a surefire way to inject a little confidence into your day. If you’re not a particularly big fan of #Yeezus, any sorts of positive, inspiring, meaningful quotes work just as well. Put them eye level in places you think you might benefit from little positive reminders as you go about the day: on a mirror you use when you get ready in the morning, by the door as you’re leaving for school, on the wall by the desk where you work away on school assignments. Think of them as little spurts of encouragement from present-You to who-knows-how-far-into-the-future-You: you’re the best cheerleader you could ever have!

8tracks Playlists/Dance Party

If you tell me you’ve never had a one-person dance party within the comfort of your room, I will ask you why YOU LYIN’. If after this confrontation you continue to vehemently deny the existence of such a fun activity in your life, I’ll mentally play horror movie sound effects, gasp in astonishment, and lock you in the newspaper darkroom so you can get a-dancing. Maybe Homecoming just isn’t your thing, but what’s keeping you from busting out those moves behind closed doors? Aside from the fact that music and movement have been proven to boost mood, relieve anxiety, enhance attention, and more, being able to get up from your desk and shake it out (I had to) also improves bone and muscle health and increases coordination, agility, and flexibility. It’s a great way to slip in a bit of exercise while studying. Optional, but highly recommended: a disco ball in all its sparkling, multi-colored glory. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, browse the “bedroom dancing” tag on 8tracks (full of personalized playlists created by other users), hit play, and dance your heart out.

Squee! The Power of Kawaii!

It’s pretty much a given that looking at images and videos of adorable animals (I’m giving you the side-eye, Buzzfeed) boosts your mood. What if all of that gazing at cuteness for extended periods of time could lead increased productivity? Researchers at Hiroshima University have found that looking at cute things can have a positive effect on our behavior, namely, an increase in attention to the task at hand. “This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing,” the study stated. Generally, it was determined that the more baby-like something was, the “cuter” it was. The internet and animals have had a long, winding relationship that continues to this day, which is why there are literally millions if not billions of pictures, gifs, and videos floating out there for you to use for some attention-boosting, assuming you don’t get carried away and end up procrastinating for a couple of hours.

More Healthy Things

Mother Nature Indoors

According to the University of Minnesota, nature reduces stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, relaxing muscles, and boosting your immune system. We are biologically programmed to “find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing,” which explains why being in a natural setting leads to an increase of pleasant feelings, meaning you should totally go for that stroll in the park on your way home. Fortunately, there are ways to incorporate elements of nature in your work environment for similar stress-relieving effects. Even for those without a green thumb, it is more than possible to take care of many different types of low-maintenance houseplants which in turn filter the air indoors of any toxins, continuously cleaning the air, in addition to increasing oxygen levels. Plus, having plants indoors increases humidity, which is shown to reduce the amounts of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.” Mother Nature’s got your back, friend.

H2Woah, you thirsty?

Being thirsty isn’t exactly a good thing, in the colloquial and traditional sense. The latter, however, is pretty easy to address. Staying hydrated “helps our circulation, makes us feel better, helps rid our bodies of toxins and prevents constipation,” says Paula Burke, clinical dietitian at MetroSouth Medical Center of Blue Island.  According to the Center for Disease control, 43% of adults drink less than 4 cups of water, when the recommended has been approximately eight 8-ounce glasses a day, which translates to 64 ounces. For reference, a typical Arrowhead water bottle is 16.9 ounces, meaning you’d want to drink about 4 bottles worth of water throughout the day to remain hydrated. It’s also important to keep in mind that certain drinks, such as soda, iced tea, and coffee, are diuretics, meaning they pull out more fluids from your body (as in, you’re going to pee more) and more water should be drunk to compensate. No worries though, here are 50+ apps for that!, because staying hydrated is pretty darn important. Pretty obvious stuff, but while dehydration won’t result in you shriveling up like the houseplants sitting pretty on your desk. However, it still has a significantly negative impact, considering 70% of our bodies are water (meaning if you like water, you already like seventy percent of me, wink wink).


Lack of a bae still getting you down? Taking another cue from Parks and Rec, after treating yoself to some much needed TLC, gather some of your friends for a Galentine/Palentine’s day brunch February 13th, and then take advantage of the discounted candy and stuffed toys overflowing drugstore aisles on the 15th. What a time to be alive!