5 Self-Indulgent Ways To Practice Self Care
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Health and Wellness

5 Self-Indulgent Ways To Practice Self Care

Because YOU are your most important investment

5 Self-Indulgent Ways To Practice Self Care

As the looming demands of adulthood bring endless challenges to our lives, it can be difficult to find time for yourself. With the never-ending flood of homework, exams, stress from work, and taxes, self-care is often moved to the back burner. Even though studies have shown the benefits of getting sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and exercise on work performance and well-being, many people still never take time for themselves until they're utterly exhausted and burnt out. This is due to, in part, a culture that demands work at the expense of personal well being, contributing to long-term effects such as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Personally, as a graduate student attempting to juggle research projects, teaching, lab management, mentorship, and personal life goals, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care in my own life. Here are 5 of my favorite self-care activities.

5. Paint Your Nails

Painting my nails always reminds me of good company and conversation. When I was 5 years old, I used to sit on the floor of the kitchen and watch my grandmother and aunts paint their nails at the kitchen table. It was a way to bring the women in our family together and have conversations that were just for them. Similarly, in college, my best friends and I would sit on the floor of our dorm rooms and paint our nails. We'd spend time venting about our struggles and sharing our future life goals, all while shaping nails, trimming cuticles, and choosing a color. Even now, making that all so important decision forces me to clear all other thoughts in my mind other than "What do I want?" Additionally, painting nails requires some skill and precision developed over time, allowing me to completely focus on the task at hand (pun intended).

4. Write in a journal

As a form of self-care, writing in a journal is a common suggestion that I never really thought would work for me until I actually tried it. Personally, I find that my thoughts are so hectic and swirling in my mind, that I often ruminate on things, letting them build inside me. Talking to others definitely helps this somewhat, but writing forces me to slow down, my thoughts coursing faster than my hand can write. Writing down the events of the day acts as a transfer of information from my mind to the page, and I can let go of those emotions, knowing that they are safely contained within the bound covers of the journal.

3. Read a good book

When I was younger, I used to read every day. In high school, I would look forward to finishing my homework so I could resume reading my novels. Now that I’m in graduate school, I read far more academic journal articles than novels these days. My pile of books sits on the bottom shelf of my nightstand, begging to be read. In carving out time to practice self-care, I can set a timer for 45 minutes at the end of the day and lose myself in the adventures of Robert Langdon in Dan Brown's latest mystery novel. Reading right before sleeping also reduces the amount of time I spend on my cell phone.

2. Bake your favorite treat

Baking is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day. The precision of measuring out the ingredients and the excitement of trying new recipes always makes this activity enjoyable.This past winter, I would cook or bake something during every snow day (which ended up being quite often, thanks New England!). This practice gave me the opportunity to incorporate some self-care into days that are never truly a day off when you're still expected to work as a graduate student. However, working on a snow day is made a bit more tolerable when you're enjoying a delicious baked good, such as some mini Oreo cheesecakes.

1. Do a face mask

An important aspect of self-care is to remove oneself from usual work tasks and completely immerse yourself in a soothing activity. For me, a face mask is the epitome of self-care. Since I wear glasses (and cannot see without them), doing a face mask quite literally forces me to not do anything except close my eyes and relax. For a $3 purchase at CVS, a face mask is an excellent investment for your mental health and well being.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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