It’s that time of the semester again. You wake up to an annoyed roommate and your tenth alarm, cans of Red Bull strewn across your bedspread. You’re seeing red in the bathroom mirror: bloodshot eyes, inflamed cheeks, and a burgeoning patch of pimples. Welcome to Hell Week.
But stay with me for a second. Let me talk you out of those pajama pants and all the Venti-sized Caramel Macchiatos you’re thinking of downing. There’s an unspoken rule in college that the worse your workload gets, the worse you have to look. Well, it’s time to flip that paradigm around. With increasing stress and fatigue, your body needs more love and attention, not less.
In this article, I’m going to let you in on some of my very own ~SOS self-care fixes~ to make even your grossest all-nighter moments shine. But here’s the thing: nothing comes for free. Although phrases like “emergency tips” bring to mind flashing lights and a swift response, even the simplest routine requires some time and effort on your part. The good news, though, is that I’ll be walking you through all of it!
- Getting out of bed is usually the worst part of the day when I’m sleep-deprived, but I find that a glass of cold water or the prospect of eating something sweet like dark chocolate, especially from Pure Fare’s Chocolate Fig Bar, gives me the motivation I need to detach my head from the pillow.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I take a refillable 1L water bottle with me throughout the day. Imagining the water giving me better skin and a more replenished body encourages me to continuously drink from it.
- Coffee or no coffee? I don’t like the idea of over-caffeinating. I actually don’t drink coffee at all, ever. So while I think a cup of joe in the morning (ideally without too much milk, cream, or sugar) makes a respectable, low-calorie fatigue fix, personal bias tells me to suggest some alternatives. The first would be a steaming cup of honeyed tea. Sure, it has a lower caffeine content than coffee, but it’s certainly more healthy and refreshing. The second is a bottle of cold-pressed, organic, 100% juice from Lumi. The juices come in different fruit flavors, as well as in “nutrition shot” form so you can stockpile your strength and energy. Look no further than the 1920 Gourmet Grocer to grab your favorite flavor today.
- Power naps actually work. I take 5- to 20-minute naps at intervals (between classes or homework sessions, for example) whenever I start yawning too frequently, and it’s one of the most effective ways I know to become completely awake sans-grogginess. But don’t try these too close to your bedtime!
- Tired eyes are the worst. They look visibly red and feel awfully sore. To remedy this, I’ll soak two cotton pads in hot water and rub them into my closed eyelids. For something so simple, this fix is tremendously soothing. On the other hand, if you want to improve the puffiness or dark circles around your eyes, under-eye masks like the Peace-Out Puffy Under-Eye Patches are a lifesaver.
- For breakfast, I eat something healthy and high in carbs to get the energy I need for my classes. For me, that means whole-grain toast (maybe with peanut butter) or brown rice (with eggs on the side).
- Frequent health-snacking discourages me from zoning out or wanting to sleep. Show them off on Locust; pull them out in class. Fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, Greek yogurt, hummus and veggies–you name it!
- You need a healthy, balanced, and filling diet, and this is especially true on days where your body isn’t feeling its best. To make sure I don’t burn out, I’ll often eat better than I usually do on bad days.
Breaking out? Suffering from bad hygiene?
I don’t know why, but after every intense academic “ordeal,” I feel grimy. It’s like I had a full workout session and then never took a shower. If I emerge with worse skin than I started out with, my frustration at all the imaginary muck just intensifies.
- In the morning, I wash my face using Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser, which claims to be especially good for morning use and sensitive skin. When rinsing off, I start with lukewarm water and end with cold water. If I don’t have time, I’ll just gently blot my face using CVS Health’s Oil Absorbing Sheets, and then splash it clean with cold water.
- If I’m breaking out, I make sure I never touch the area with my hands. I also keep oil blotting sheets like the ones mentioned above close by. If the region becomes too red and irritated, I’ll put acne patches over them. I find patches from Neoderm especially effective, as they adhere very well and are almost invisible against the skin. In the evening, I put a small amount of acne cream (Nadixa Cream) over the affected area.
- In need of an extra boost? If after everything my skin is still unsatisfied, I take out my Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask. It only takes 5 minutes and washes off like magic, leaving my skin more plump and dewy than before. Overnight masks from Kiehl’s are another time-saving alternative. Just lather on a dollop and hop into bed!
- If you’d rather save that nice, hot shower for after your workload subsides, invest in dry shampoo (see Batiste Dry Shampoo) and 24-hour deodorant (see deodorants from Secret).
Have 10 minutes to look presentable?
- Pick and stick to only the least time-consuming of the routines I’ve outlined above.
- Dress monochrome and for comfort. You can never go wrong with black. Sure, shirts and jeans are great, but flaunting black from head to toe makes your thrown-together outfit look more premeditated (and badass). Also, I don’t ever stray from soft and stretchy fabric, because anything remotely uncomfortable is bound to irritate me when I’m only half-awake.
- Opt for a no-makeup makeup look. For detailed instructions on how to pull off the “no-lipstick lipstick look” in particular, check out my previous article here. Or you could just skip the cosmetics altogether. If I just want some light coverage on my skin, I’ll use Benefit Cosmetics’ The POREfessional Face Primer, and leave everything else untouched.
- Get rid of that bed head! I can’t speak for everyone’s hair type, but I personally use Biosilk Silk Therapy Serum to rein in all my flyaways. I’ve also heard good things about John Frieda’s Frizz Ease products and Bed Head’s hair smoothing cream (check out After Party). If you don’t have time, use a hairbrush, water, or a strategically-placed Penn hat to avoid looking like you went hiking in your sleep.
Good luck, and stay glowing! I hope your near future is filled with all the sleep you need.