Saying that Columbia students are stressed is like saying Crumbs cupcakes taste good: It's almost a laughable understatement. I mean, come on, Crumbs cupcakes are glorious.
Our overextended, overcommitted, and high-maintenance selves are even more frazzled than usual during Columbia's never-ending midterm season. When sleep is a precious commodity and jeans versus sweatpants is a daily debate, food becomes both a great comfort and the bane of my existence. I'm not alone when I say that, when I'm not too busy to forget to eat, I'm stuffing my face.
But in addition to being unhealthy, overeating also makes you feel pretty shitty. Remember when food took the form of regular meals, instead of the three donuts you drowned your sorrows in? Well, I don't remember either. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you eating healthy in New York, especially at Columbia, is easy. But there are definitely little things we can do to make food feel good again. And to those of you who have it all figured out, feel free to stop reading and go be your balanced, healthy jerk-off self. (Kidding. But seriously.)
One thing that has started to heal my relationship with food has been to just eat the cupcake. Whether your vice is French fries, cookies, or Sour Patch Kids, if you beat yourself up for eating "bad foods," you are doing exactly zero people any good. Just eat it. And enjoy it. That's why its called comfort food, duh.
That said, please keep your wits about you. One or two cookies after a hard day? All right. The whole bag? Maybe less productive. And you probably ate it so fast that you don't even remember what they tasted like. Now you are overstuffed, irritated, and, likely, mad at yourself. Eat slowly, and eat in moderation. Speaking from experience, there is definitely a threshold for comfort food: More cookies do not equal more comfort.
Though it's fine to indulge, don't forget that fruits and veggies exist. Although assuming you are going to actually buy groceries, might be a joke, you should take advantage of the produce at the dining halls. Go at the beginning of the week, when everything is fractionally less sketchy. You will feel a whole lot better about yourself having an apple in the morning or between classes rather than going hungry and semi-passing out in your 2:10 p.m. class.
If you have access to a kitchen, one of the most relaxing, self-loving things you can do is cook yourself a meal. Whether it's scrambled eggs, a grilled cheese sandwich, or something fancy like broiled salmon, taking the time to cook every once in a while makes you feel a lot like a well-adjusted adult, not to mention that it's an important skill for, you know, life. Unlike Chipotle runs or late-night trips to HamDel, it puts you back in control over what is going in your body. Plus, it's one of the most justifiable forms of procrastination: "Uh, sorry I'm not doing work right now, but I have to eat so I don't DIE."
I know, I know, it's hard to eat good food that makes you feel good. I know you're on a budget, a diet, and an impossibly tight schedule—but we all are. Self-love is such an important practice right now, when we're just figuring out who we really are. So whether it's through food, or some other form of stress reliefexercise, or painting, or playing Mario Kart—don't forget "care about yourself" on your long list of things to do. I know I'm corny as hell, but in the end, you're really all you've got, so let yourself eat cake.
Krista White is a Columbia College junior majoring in theater. Noshing on the Big Apple runs alternate Fridays.