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August 20, 2023

Why I took some time for myself this summer

By Azalia C.
, 16
, from San Antonio, TX

Summer is that time when we can finally take a break from the stress and business we have during school, and instead do something just for ourselves. This summer, I went on a unique adventure that I highly recommend for anyone who wants to take care of themselves.


As the school year came to a close, I realized how much stress and pressure I had been carrying around. Between classes, exams, extracurriculars, and social obligations, I hardly had a moment to breathe. It hit me that I needed to prioritize my well-being and take time to reconnect with myself. I could have overscheduled myself and a lot of people said I needed to build my college resume, but I really felt that the best I could do was go on what I started calling my “self-care retreat.”


I had no clue where to start, but after looking around on Google, I found a local retreat program designed specifically for teenagers seeking a break from the daily grind that was focused on mindfulness and personal growth. That’s exactly what I wanted to gain from the experience before school started up again.


The retreat began with mindfulness and meditation sessions. Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t exactly a pro at sitting still and clearing my mind. I’d never done meditation before or anything like that, but the facilitator was incredibly patient and helpful. It was hard at first, but pretty quickly, I learned to appreciate the power of being present in the moment.


But I’d say the most challenging aspect of the retreat was the digital detox. Yeah—no phones, no social media (lost all my Snap streaks), and no TV. At first, I admit I felt a little lost without my phone, but as the days went by, I realized how freeing it was to disconnect. Instead of scrolling mindlessly, I engaged in face-to-face conversations. It made me realize just how much I was missing out on by being glued to my phone all the time.


As the retreat came to a close, I found myself feeling calmer, more centered, and surprisingly proud of the progress I had made. More importantly, I had gained a deeper understanding of who I was.


Now that school is starting again, I want to bring as much of this new mindset into my daily life as possible. While I know I won’t be able to completely stop using my phone or meditate for hours every day, I can certainly prioritize self-care, set aside time for mindfulness, and have more genuine interactions with my friends. That might not be something to put on my college resume, but I think it’s even more important.

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