The first month of school is going to be stressful for some, and for others maybe not just yet. The thought of new professors, new classmates, or even a new campus to some can be overwhelming and sometimes we just need a break. Don’t worry if that is you, because taking a break is good. Despite it being the first month of school, self-care is still important. Many campus initiatives encourage self-care tips at peak times during the semester like midterms and finals – and that’s important. But in my opinion, I think it should be promoted throughout the semester because we all know that no matter what week it is in university there always readings to be done or an essay or lab that is due.
What is self-care exactly? For me, self-care refers to any type of activity that allows you to take time for yourself to support and inspire your healthy ways.
Why should you make self-care a priority?
Self-care should be a priority in our lives because without it we can end up mentally and physically burnt out. When we have no self-care in our daily lives it can lead to bigger things like anxiety and depression, or worsen existing illnesses.
You should not feel guilty about taking part in self-care activities. You are on your own journey and it is essential to take time for you. I know most of us put others before ourselves – but how can we help others when we have nothing to give?
For some reason when I ask people what they think of self-care, a common response is always resting or “being boring”. That is not what self-care is all about. It is about doing the things in life that you enjoy, making your life happier.
It is also important to remember that what self-care is for one person may not be the same for you. For example, I really enjoy hanging out with friends, painting my nails, and watching movies. My boyfriend would rather go to the gym or catch Pokémon.
How to make self-care a priority:
Take time to do what you ENJOY regularly
Usually, we treat ourselves when we have done something well or have accomplished something. Sure, rewarding ourselves for a good grade is amazing and I am not saying that you should not do this. But, encouraging yourself to take part in activities or practices that you enjoy on a daily or regular basis can kick start your self-care journey to a great start.
Reflecting on the present
Do I need to take a break? Am I pushing myself too hard? Reflecting and taking a step back allows you to see things maybe in hindsight you could not. Through all the busyness of the first month at school, try to reflect on how you are doing. Do you see that you need to pamper yourself more or start eating a healthier diet? Reflection can allow you to notice these small but important things.
Learning how to say “no”
This step was particularly hard for me to learn, but over the past year I have gotten more confident to say “no” to something. This means being okay with missing out on things sometimes, or focusing on yourself first. I am not saying do not say yes to helping people – but as a flight attendant would say, if you don’t help yourself by putting on the oxygen mask first you are no help to other passengers.
How do you practice self-care? Let us know @RUStudentLife.