I'm sure you heard of this term so much you're probably tired of it, but I'm going to talk about it anyway because nine times out of 10, you need it.
Self-care. That's it. That's the Tweet.
So, what exactly IS self-care? The formal definition of self-care is, "the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's health." This is pretty self-explanatory but is actually super unique and complex. It has a different definition depending on who you are.
As a college student, I pride myself in basking in self-care, my 'me time' where I can be selfish with what I want to do, but not for the wrong reasons. As a college student, life is stressful. Add the COVID-19 pandemic into the mix, and sometimes, it feels as if my brain could just explode any second.
Every day there's something new that comes up that you have to get out of the way, which can take up a lot of unexpected time. Whether it be a pop quiz, roommate issues (or family issues if you are now relocated back home due to the pandemic), boy problems that confuse the f*** out of your brain... the list goes on and on.
This can lead to a low mental state where you just lose yourself and become disconnected, a breeding ground for mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression.
This is where self-care steps in to save the day. When you are feeling your most vulnerable, you have to force yourself to be kind and gentle with your mind and body, even though it may be challenging to do so. Maybe you'll beat yourself up even more as to why you are feeling this way and decide you must get over it, but that is a totally normal part of the process.
I know I do this a million times over, which screws things up even more and causes me more distress than I am already feeling. It simply does not work, but easier said than done, am I right?
Nurturing yourself could include: going for a walk, drawing, watching your favorite movie, cooking your favorite meal and so on and so forth. All are perfect ways to not only stay active but to follow COVID-19 guidelines as well since these activities do not require any major socialization.
I started getting into the routine of going on a half hour jog after completing my remote studies for the day, going to sleep earlier and muting my phone periodically in order to keep my mind focused and at ease, and honestly, I feel great. Self-care is specifically designed for YOU and YOU only.
As long as you are not intentionally harming other people or yourself, then it is totally OK. Being alone can aide in self-reflection (the emotional side of self-care) and alleviate stress in the way so there are no external factors that are distracting you. This can include writing in a personal journal or meditating. Really honing in to that "me-time" where YOU are the sole focus.
Alternatively, the physical side of self-care, which includes exercising, is a great way to boost endorphins and overall strength not only in your body, but mind too. Consider either taking a daily walk or run around your neighborhood or community or starting a specific training regimen that best suits your needs. You can find an abundance of exercise videos on YouTube that are uploaded by certified trainers. It's free, and you can remain in the comfort of your own home/backyard, too.
If you find struggle in any of this, consider discussing thoughts and feelings with family, friends, a mental health specialist or anyone you trust.
No one is alone in this fight.
So, whatever it is you may be experiencing, push through, the situation is temporary and feelings lie to us a lot of the time. I'm not saying to not cancel out all types of emotions whatsoever because after all, we are human, we feel things, which is why it is important to identify these sensations and either build upon them or work on them.
1. Identify what is making you feel different.
Figure out what is making you feel different than usual!
2. Write these things down either in your phone or your journal
Categorize these from what impacts you the most to what impacts you the least.
3. Narrow down your list.
Take the top three that are most important to you and expand on them.
Reflect on why these reasons are having a (serious) effect on you. Keep in mind, you may not be able to change every situation, but you can at least attempt to change your mindset towards it.
5. Research, Research, Research
Research some ways that you can find online or in a book that best suit your needs if you are stuck. One that I like to pick up is the self-help book: "Self-Care for College Students," by Julia Dellitt
You got this!
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