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Stress Busters


During these trying times, the entire Emory community is under immense stress. The staff of the Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library know this, and are experiencing it themselves, which is why we assembled a list of tips that will help you destress. Self-care might feel strange right now, but that just means it’s even more important that we give ourselves grace and ensure we’re staying mentally, physically, and emotionally fit.

Self-Care Tips


Be Kind to Yourself

Psychology Today asks “Why do we so often fail at self-care?”. Between work, family commitments, social obligations, and more, we often simply don’t have time to give to ourselves. Moreover, we often “feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves” (Davis, 2018). The first thing to do is realize you are incredibly important. Self-care is “necessary to remind yourself and others that you and your needs are important too” (Nazish, 2017).

Stay Active

Exercise is one of the most significant parts of self-care. Not only will regular movement keep you healthy, but it will also help you relax. Movement is so important, in fact, that Aiysha Malik, a psychologist with the World Health Organization, lists “Stay physically active” as one of her top tips for self-care (Huang, 2020). Anna Goldfarb at the New York Times recommends “bringing movement into tiny moments”, like doing squats while watching tv, or turning on some music and dancing (Goldfarb, 2020).

Get Enough Sleep

              We’ve all heard that we need 8 hours of sleep per night to stay healthy, but according to Emory’s own Office of Health Promotion, the “normal range is 7 to 9 hours” per night. Sleep is incredibly hard in these stressful times. You might feel the urge to merely squeeze your eyes shut and try to force yourself to sleep, but the Office of Health Promotion notes that being stressed about not being able to sleep makes it harder to sleep! They recommend that if you “find yourself still awake after more than 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy” (Office of Health Promotion, 2019).

Reach Out to Friends

              Larissa Marks at the Huffington Post recommends you spend “quality time with a quality person”. Spending time with someone can be very easy if you live with your partner, but if your bff lives across town it can sometimes feel like they live across the country! A text message is quick and easy, but phone call or a video call can really make it feel like your friend is there with you. Even scheduling a time to call someone, as strange as it might seem, is a great way to set yourself with a social activity tomorrow or later in the week. Setting up a call will give you something to look forward to and help keep your days from bleeding together!


Tchiki Davis, Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself, Psychology Today (Dec. 28, 2018),

Noma Nazish, Practicing Self-Care Is Important: 10 Easy Habits To Get You Started, Forbes (Sept. 19, 2017),

Pien Huang, COVID-19 Self Care: Tips From The World Health Organization, NPR (Mar. 26, 2020, 4:57 PM),

Anna Goldfarb, You Can Take Care of Yourself in Coronavirus Quarantine or Isolation, Starting Right Now, New York Times (Mar. 22, 2020),

Office of Health Promotion, Sleep: What You Need to Know, Emory University, (Oct. 24, 2019)

Larissa Marks, 20 Self-Care Practices for the Mind, Body and Soul, HuffPost, (June 06, 2016, 1:35 PM),



Action Items for Self-Care


Being Kind to Yourself

Schedule time to relax: Make sure you have at least 15 minutes set aside in your workday to completely relax. Get up and eat your lunch elsewhere. Get outside and get some fresh air. Do whatever you need to do to ensure you’re recharging.
Practice Mindfulness: Put your phone down or turn it off, find a quiet spot, and enjoy your cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Take an action in a slow and meaningful way. Let this task occupy your whole mind, and let yourself focus on and enjoy the entire process of it.

One helpful site is: "Do Nothing for 2 Minutes." 

Click the link the site to find a two minute timer which resets even if you move your mouse.

Call the site up, and let yourself do nothing for two minutes.
Take 10 Deep Breaths: Make sure you’re acting, not reacting, when it comes to stress. Taking ten deep breaths before responding to that next email will help clear your head, and keep you feeling calm.

Staying Active

Take a Walk: Getting outside and getting some fresh air is great way to clear your head and keep you healthy! If you have children or an older member of your family, this low-impact exercise can be a great way to help them stay healthy and participate in a social activity.
Stretch: You should be stretching “at least two to three times a week” (Goldfarb, 2020). Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, 60 seconds if that area has been feeling tight lately! Stretching is especially important after a workout, but even after a long day of sitting at your desk, a good stretch is perfect way to unwind!

Actions for Self-Care


Getting Enough Sleep

Take Time to Wind Down: The Office of Health Promotion recommends giving yourself some space to destress and relax before bed. Maybe this includes a nice cup of tea or a chapter of your favorite book – it’s up to you!
Build Your Sleep Environment: Make sure your sleep area isn’t one you associate with stress. If you’ve got a work laptop, keep it in another room to keep you from thinking about your next slew of emails. You should also “remove any clutter from your bed and surrounding area” to ensure a more restful sleep (Office of Health Promotion, 2019).

Staying Social

Walk and Talk: Do you miss your gym buddy? Were you thinking of getting one before so much closed? You can still have a fitness friend! Calling up a friend and having both of you talk a walk around your neighborhood is a great way to keep physically and socially active!
Form a Group Chat: From Facebook, to Discord, to Houseparty, there are so many different apps that allow you to communicate with a big group of friends. Facebook Messenger allows for the creation of group messages with anyone that has a Facebook account. Discord,, a web-based and app-based chat system allows for both audio and text-based conversations. Finally, Houseparty is an app that allows multiple people to video chat together. This app also allows members of your “house party” to play games like Pictionary and heads up together!