Unfiltered: The Realest Self-Care Essentials from Upperclassmen

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Unfiltered: The Realest Self-Care Essentials from Upperclassmen

Unfiltered: The Realest Self-Care Essentials from Upperclassmen

Self-care is an essential aspect of college life and adulting in general. As you navigate the pressures of coursework, clubs and social life, it’s of course important to prioritize your health and well-being. But where to begin? To help guide you, we tapped a group of upperclassmen to spill their wellness tips and beauty hacks. From essential daily practices to five-minute routine product lineups, these juniors share their tips to staying healthy at Penn.Unfiltered: The Realest Self-Care Essentials from Upperclassmen

Lola Thrower

Lola is the Web Editorial Director for The WALK. She is a junior from San Francisco in the Huntsman program, concentrating in Finance.

If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what products would you use?

Most days, my makeup only takes 5 minutes cause I am perpetually running late! After skincare, just undereye concealer, the Charlotte Tilbury blush, eyeliner and/or mascara. If I just have 5 minutes, I’ll put my hair up with a claw clip.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that’s made the biggest difference in your skin?

Simplify the routine, be mindful of oil in products that can block pores, and hydrate with serums. Everything depends on skin type and season, but for me, in summer or home in California, I do a serum and a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to not clog pores. Also, I learned from Jen Hollander (you can find her on instagram!) that moisturizers can inhibit our skin from naturally hydrating and regenerating, which leads to dullness and dependency on those products. I am also conscious of over-exfoliation. I think it’s really cool that there are so many acids to accelerate skin cell turnover on the market, but I am cautious of doing too much. Basically, don’t feel pressure to do everything all the time.

What is one product that is always in your bag?

Some kind of chapstick and spray hand sanitizer, which I use a dozen times a day!

What beauty or makeup products make you feel confident?

Eyes are my favorite feature to draw attention to, and I think doing something with our eyes can make us seem more awake and engaged. I love eyeliner.

What is your go-to exercise routine?

Running mostly, and I go to Solidcore.

What self-care practices do you prioritize in your daily or weekly routine?

Breaking a sweat every day, trying my best to get sleep, and finding something fun every week.

How do you manage stress or anxiety in college?

Routine really helps me. I drink water first thing in the morning and then tea, which I love, and I make my bed every day. One thing I’ve realized over the last two years is how much fostering positivity toward others enhances my well-being. Just having friendly conversations or short interactions with people is incredibly helpful and a nice way to feel connected to others. When I’m dealing with stress, I like to check in with friends from high school and chat a little about things unrelated to Penn. For me, it’s about routine, feeling connected to others, and projecting positive energy.

Zoe Millstein

Zoe is the Web Managing Editor for The WALK. She is a junior from Philadelphia and majoring in Urban Studies. 

What’s your best beauty tip of all time that I may not have heard before?

Use a lighter to heat up your eyelash curler before using it. This way, it acts like a curling iron for your eyelashes and they stay curled all day or night!

What is your go-to exercise routine?

Walking, running, or biking on the Schuylkill River Trail. Especially with a friend!

What self-care practices do you prioritize in your daily or weekly routine?

Journaling! While it may seem time consuming, it is always helpful when dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress or anxiety.

Michael Lentskevich

Michael is a junior from Glenview, Illinois. He is pursuing concentrations in Legal Studies and BEES in Wharton.

Are there any wellbeing trends or practices you don’t buy into? 

I think that any aspect of well-being should be extremely personalized to cater to the needs of the individual. Any trend may be extremely liked by some but not suited for others. I think the current trend towards alternative milks/meats as a more healthy version of those products is a hard sell for me. While they might make some sense from a climate change perspective, arguing that they are better for most people is strange. From a scientific perspective, we intake iron a lot better from meat than from any plant source and there are additional vitamins found in those products that are not found in the substitutes. Everything should be in moderation, of course, but I think too many people conflate environmental and personal health claims. 

What are some of your favorite skincare or haircare products? 

I really love the entire Murad series for acne control. Unfortunately, college with all of its stress and difficulty of keeping a consistent sleep schedule leads to some breakouts and Murad has really helped me keep it under control. It’s all about consistency, as with most skincare products, but Murad is easy to use, isn’t too aggressive or drying, and the effects are always quick. 

What are some of your favorite self-care resources, such as books, podcasts, or apps? 

I use SleepCycle to track my sleep patterns and it has been a game changer. Very typical business student of me, but… you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Keeping a track of how much I sleep, the quality of the sleep, as well as factors that could affect it has allowed me to really understand what affects me and what doesn’t and how I can ensure that I can get the best sleep despite any finals or assignments. It also has an alarm system that wakes you up in a way consistent with your REM cycle which has also drastically improved my mood and readiness in the morning. 

How do you manage stress or anxiety in college?

This one is particularly tough since there are so many stressors at college. I think managing stress or anxiety comes down to managing your mental health as a whole. If you body is well fed, well rested, and is in a positive social environment it becomes a lot easier to manage stress without doing anything else. Sometimes that’s exactly what I do – if I am feeling stressed, I make sure I had a lunch or that I had enough sleep and then look if I am still stressed about something. I also try to live 1 hour at a time which can be difficult sometimes with long term goals like preparing for finals or job searching but my motto is that by surviving the next hour you eventually survive the day. Breaking down the stresses by that component has been very helpful to me. I also have days when I do nothing but spend time with myself reading, resting, or doing some arts. I think this allows me to slow down and remember that despite everything I always at least have one supporter – me. 

Alyssia Liu

Alyssia is a junior from Parsippany, New Jersey. She is majoring in neuroscience.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that’s made the biggest difference in your health?

Drink water and get good sleep! With a busy college schedule, it’s sometimes hard to prioritize sleep, but I try to see it as something that is on my to-do list rather than something I need to do after I’ve finished my tasks for the day—essentially prioritizing it as much as my school work. 

How do you take care of your mental health while at college?

I manage stress by taking deep breaths, going on walks with friends, and by always remembering to do things one step at a time. I take care of my mental health by going on walks with friends! It’s really nice to get some fresh-air and catch-up with them as a bit of a study break. Also, having a latte sometimes while studying is nice!

In one sentence, what does self-care mean to you?

To me, self-care means being intentional about listening to my body. 

Ashley Song

Ashley is a junior Clarksville, Tennessee. She is pursuing concentrations in Finance and Behavioral Economics in Wharton.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that’s made the biggest difference in your skin/health?

Drink lots of water, and get good sleep! It’s super common advice, but it’s widely shared for a reason. Your body needs water and rest, and trying to compensate for either in other ways is hard to do. You’ll feel more alert, be more engaged in your classes, and experience more of the things around you when you’re hydrated and well-rested.

What is your go-to exercise routine? 

I love trying out various workout classes across the city, but I usually only have time for them on the weekends. So during the week, I try to go to the gym at least every other day. I also keep an exercise mat in my room in case I want to do anything like yoga; it helps keep me active when I might not have time to go to the gym that day. 

How do you take care of your mental health during midterms and finals? 

During midterms and finals especially, I find that it’s really important to get enough sleep so I can properly retain and recall class concepts. I usually schedule blocks of the day that are specifically dedicated to studying; when a time block is over, I step away from my notes entirely and take a break until the next block or the next day. This helps me prevent burnout, and it also helps me protect my sleep schedule during midterms/finals season. Overall, prioritizing rest helped me maintain my mental health even when I have a lot of academic stress.

Any other parting pieces of advice for freshmen and sophomores?

In college, there will be weeks where each day is stressful and other weeks where you have a ton of free time. And balance may temporarily not exist, and that’s okay. As long as you prioritize what matters to you and schedule time for self-care, you will be content at the end of it. In the big picture, what is most important is taking care of yourself and not letting the hustle of college disrupt that. 

Featured image courtesy of the BBC.

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