Keith Dai, Music Columnist

To me, self-love is essentially a temporary retirement into peace and quietude through my hobbies and interests, a necessary go-to whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, emotionally or mentally.

First, I clear away any distractions, and when any task I’ve been working on is now filed away, I pull up my repertoire of classical music playlist on my phone, setting the ambience. Shostakovitch would have to wait; some light piano tunes are a perfect background music.

Next, I take a quick stretch before I settle in (a quick reminder to never sit for too long!) Then I’d pull up a book and take a fantasy break from my work to delve into escapism through worlds of fiction. Physical books take the prize for me, but e-books are fine as well, if you are unable to access any.

A range of potential break lengths can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, mostly depending on my track of time. It is a good idea to set a timer, such as thirty minutes, especially if there is still work to be done afterwards.

Reading eases my brain into a higher creative and concentration level after anything requiring intense mental usage. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories and visualizing the author’s narration, which helps me in my writing as well, in addition to understanding the world through other people’s shoes. Once I am satisfied with what I have garnered through my reading, I can return back to my work with a more positive outlook on whatever I’m frustrated with.