13 Oct Feeding Friendship in Mid-Term Season
Mid-term season is a stressful period for students in every program, as the heavy workload leaves limited time for relaxing between study sessions. Last winter, I spent hours every day alone at my computer, working through readings, essays, and presentations —and I was miserable.
Then, I received an invite from a friend to make falafel at her place. It seemed like the perfect break from studying, and I instantly accepted.
When I arrived, she was taking fresh ingredients out from her fridge. She pushed a bunch of parsley and some garlic cloves into my hands, and I was put on chopping duty, while she set up the speakers and preheated the oven.
“As we empathized with each other, our conversation became an outlet to release our stress…”
We spent the evening cooking, listening to music, and chatting about the week ahead. As we empathized with each other, our conversation became an outlet to release our stress, stretching from the funniest thing we’d seen on the internet to the specific challenges of our programs to our long-term ambitions.
A few hours later, we split the finished product between us and headed back to our studies.
It was a productive form of self-care, —the term “productive self-care” sounds oxymoronic at face value —which eased the burden of grocery shopping and cooking for the week. While face masks and bubble baths are lauded as the height of self-care, I often find they’re a way for me to procrastinate, pushing my present stress towards a point in the near future, as opposed to actually alleviating the stressors. In participating in an act of productive self-care, something that was both constructive and relaxing, I was able to positively influence my mental health by enjoying the process of getting stuff done.
Typically, I go about my routine independently because it’s the most efficient way to accomplish everything I need to do, but this experience showed me the value in collaborating to achieve mundane tasks. The way you approach each task on your to-do list can turn even the most exhausting item into an act of self-care. When it’s convenient, involve your friends in your productive time —study, grocery shop, or do your laundry together.
“Friendship offers a wealth of positive benefits, including support and a sense of belonging, which are still accessible in difficult times —good friends don’t disappear when the party is over, but are readily prepared to bring some reassurance on tough days.”
Friendship offers a wealth of positive benefits, including support and a sense of belonging, which are still accessible in difficult times —good friends don’t disappear when the party is over, but are readily prepared to bring some reassurance on tough days. Mid-term season doesn’t have to be a completely boring or isolating experience. Regardless of what’s causing you stress, there’s likely someone else in your inner circle facing a similar challenge who would be thrilled to share the burden.
As we didn’t have to worry about feeding ourselves in between classes, we had one less thing to stress about that week. In fact, we were able to use our spare time to meet for lunch on campus a few days later —both pulling containers of homemade falafel from our bags —and take another much needed break together.
Months later, I’m still so thankful my friend recognized our shared stress because it changed the course of my entire semester. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by my various commitments, I leaned into friendship to get the support I needed to be successful.
Want to try meal-prepping with your friends? Check out the Muse Cookbook to discover our favourite recipes!
Header Image Source: analeovy via Instagram