Fridays in Fort Collins might seem to center around beer and town life. But if you are not in the mood for the crazy and the fast-paced action, worry not, grasshopper. You can have your own unabashed “me time.” An added benefit: You avoid the dark side of Fridays on the town, whether it is the all-too- friendly person at the bar, or people nearly running over pedestrians. Here are a couple of suggestions. Obviously, if you have your own unique rituals that are not included here, go all-out. Friday night is a special time. Make the most of it. Seize the day, or night.
1. Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc. If you are in the mood to watch a good movie or show, going online offers a plethora of options. You have access to an array of shows and movies, suiting all moods and sensibilities. Want vampires? You got it. Rom-coms? No shortage of those. You can laugh like a hyena or weep incessantly without incurring the wrath of a moviegoer or dealing with someone talking on their phone at the wrong moment.
2. Coffee time: Sometimes, going for a nice cup of joe can be what you need. Bring your computer and study if you like. With a wide array of coffee shops in Fort Collins, you can find your own niche, a place that reflects your unique self. In a nice quiet setting with your coffee and no looming obligations, you can also mentally prepare for the coming week.
3. Read a book: Read something that speaks to you, something that is not required for class. Reading offers a multitude of benefits including mental stimulation, expanding memories, along with significantly reducing stress. Reading can help you escape into magical and bewildering worlds, and deal with the realities of our lives at the same time. You can go back in time. You can experience alien invasions. You can even ride a horse down a beach with a swarthy Italian guy. Reading is a powerful human connector.
4. Exercise: Go hit the treadmills at the Rec Center. Go for a nice swim or a long peaceful walk. Play soccer. Exercise, in whatever form, significantly reduces stress, enhances energy, improves mood and one’s sense of self-esteem. After a long week, this can seem like a gift from Santa Claus.
5. Go to nature: Thoreau once said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” Go into the woods and reflect on the beauty of our natural wonders. On top of that it is good for mental health. A 2014 University of Michigan study indicates that there are significant correlations between walking outside and decreased levels of depression. So if you got an F on a test, or a project turned out egregiously, go up to Horsetooth or Rocky Mountain National Park.
6. Write: Writing can be a powerful way to release stress and make sense of life. You do not have to be Tolstoy, poised to write another War and Peace. Although that is a great goal. Write whatever comes to mind. Write about your frustrations with the past week. Write about your hopes, your expectations. Spill out your most absurd fantasies. Make goals for the coming week. But write, young Jedi!
7. Have friends over: Having friends hang out does not have to turn into Animal House lunacy. Invite some buddies over and talk. Keep it quiet and chill. Keep connections alive. In an era full of enhanced electronic communication, you can certainly text and comment on Facebook posts. But nothing trumps the power of face-to-face connections. Exchange horror stories. Tell bad jokes. Friends have a lot to offer. You might feel instructors, employers, and peers may not understand or empathize with you. Friends, on the other hand, are a constant.
Collegian reporter Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dudesosad