I asked around to a couple of my different friends how they take care of themselves. Some told me they take medication or read, others told me they cry it out. I wanted to write about the different ways different people take care of themselves.
I interviewed three people, who will remain anonymous and be changed to "A, B, C" because their self care plans should remain private unless they themselves chose to disclose it. Everyone who answered my questions is a knowing participant in this article.
A: is a newly graduated high school student who will be attending a university in the fall.
B: Is a newly graduated college student with a degree in psychology.
C: is the oldest of the group, and has been out of college with a degree in hand for over a year.
1. How do you take care of yourself when you're overwhelmed?
A: "I either read, watch Netflix, try to talk to someone and if none of that works, I cry it out."
B: "I find things that allow me not to think, so my brain can rest."
C: "I'm a smoker. But if that isn't available then I try something like sleeping or kayaking, my college therapist taught me to have multiple outlets."
2. What emotionally exhausts you easiest?
A: "Mostly when I'm alone with myself. There's nothing to distract me when I'm alone."
B: "Relationships, trying to keep everyone around me happy."
C: "Being the bigger person when I shouldn't have to be. Apologizing when I shouldn't have too. Or faking an extreme sense of happiness for an extended period of time."
3. Would you utilize counseling or therapy given the opportunity for it?
A: "No, I didn't in high school so I wouldn't now."
4. Would you utilize group therapy methods?
A: "Yes. I feel like talking to someone who knows what I'm going through would help."
B: "Personally I don't like them, it's not for me."
5. How do you feel college will/has impacted your mental health?
A: "It will make me tougher, I dealt with a lot of difficult things during my senior year of high school and it pushed me to want to succeed further. School is a distraction."
B: "It took a big toll on me, I was very stressed out and overwhelmed. I learned how to properly manage my time though."
C: "It exhausted me at first, I struggled adapting to the new schedule and the new freedom I had. I experienced a lot of things most college students don't have to and that really impacted my mental health in a negative way. Having a good support system makes all the difference."
6. How does your work place impact your mental health?
A: "I like my coworkers and my job, it doesn't do much damage if any."
B: "Pretty much the same as school."
C: "Work is tough on my mental state, specifically when children are in. I always imagine people on an embalming table. It feeds into my depression substantially but I resort to my outlets to break out of that."
7. What do you think you could do to make your self-care plan better?
A: "I want to work out more to take care of my body and help my mind. I need better ways to occupy my time."
B: "Setting aside time for myself each week to just enjoy myself."
C: "Find an outlet that I enjoy as much as sleeping."
8. What is the thing that makes you feel most at peace?
A: "When I can just laugh and relax with my mom."
B: "Knowing I was able to comfort someone effectively."
C: "Being out on the ocean with my boyfriend."
9. How do you feel about other people talking about self care?
A: "It's good to share stories of self care because you could get an idea on how to better help yourself."
B: "It's very important and it's something everyone should do."
C: "Self care is so important and should be discussed."
10. If you had to suggest one thing to everyone about to enter college on how to stay sane, what would it be?
A: "Try to find people that understand and can help you through your first year. It's better to have someone than to be alone."
B: "Learn to prioritize. Know what is important and what isn't."
C: "Read the syllabus, leave your high school partner, and do the homework. Find the people you like and have a great fucking time, it flies by and you'll always be reflecting and regretting but it's about being human. Most of all, enjoy it."
There you have folks, three different stages of life all between the ages of 18-22. One's about to start the most exciting time of their life, one just ended their college career, and one has been reflecting on their university experience for over a year now.