Midterms are fast approaching and the smell of stress is in the air. We’ve begun to hunker down in the libraries, packing our bags in the morning with the expectation that we won’t return before 2 AM. We’ve stocked up on candy and Red Bulls to keep us awake and took the plunge to make sweatpants a semi-permanent fashion statement. We are up to our ears in everything from Chaucer and Foucault, from integrals to Game Theory, from lymphocytes and carbonyls. We are rapidly approaching panic mode.
In order to stay sane in this high-pressure time, it is imperative that you allocate a small portion of your day to the things that make you feel good. This is, of course, all within reason — we all have academic duties to fulfill. If you’re running on coffee and Red Bull during 12+ hours in the library, you probably won’t trudge home in the morning having done your very best work. You won’t retain the information that’s being forced (SN2ed for all of you orgo kids) into your brain, or produce the fabulous essay you had in mind when it was assigned two weeks ago. So be good to yourself. Taking the time to blow off a bit of steam should only help to make you more productive and make the work you’re doing more meaningful.
Self-care is about doing your absolute best, but still remaining human. And doing things that humans do. Like sleeping. And eating real, nutrient-rich food. And showering. And watching an episode of TV every once and a while. Maybe taking a break in the midst of studying to watch this Mythbusters clip about the Titanic (it’s only a minute long, but be warned…these are gateway drugs). The point is, doing a small something that makes you feel good is critical for your health: have a mini dance party and shake the stress out, or maybe even pick up a free Mindfulness Meditation CD from Health Services.
You’re probably wondering, though, why such tame pursuits are being mentioned in this column. That’s because we haven’t arrived at the most exciting form of self-care imaginable: MASTURBATION.
Masturbation has a whole slew of health benefits from relieving stress, to aiding in sleep and quieting chronic pain, to potentially preventing cancer! So why not engage in this formerly nefarious activity? If roommates are your trouble, not to worry! Keeping in contact with your roommate and knowing their schedule will allow you to squeeze in a bit of “me-time.” You know your roommate will be spending all night in the library? Perfect time for you to have the room to yourself! Your roommate has orchestra every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10? Perfect! Why not take yourself for a bi-weekly spin?
If your roommate really never leaves the room, it’s okay, every once in a while, to do it with them present. It has been done before, trust me. With a Chem 33 book as a shield, no less. If you can, wait until they’re asleep. And while you can’t scream like a banshee and pretend to be a porn star as many of us are wont to do, you can at least take the edge off until you have some privacy.
I would never recommend that masturbation become a chronic habit that gets in the way of your school work and social life, and would certainly not like any of your sessions to reach John Street status. But giving yourself a chance to unwind, whether it’s through intense yoga or equally intense masturbation, is critical. Give yourself a bit of self-care throughout your study sessions and you’ll find these hard times becoming more manageable. Keep up the good work, folks. You can do it!
Stay safe and self-caring,