One of my biggest pet peeves is when people discuss self care and say, “Everyone needs to selfish once in a while.”
Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
Self care is a freaking necessity.
Surely, you’ve heard the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty glass.” Well, that’s not just a metaphor, it’s the truth. If you never take time for yourself but keep giving and giving, you are going to burn yourself out. When you’re burned out you can’t help anyone. You can’t keep exhausting all of your energy for other people while neglecting your own needs.
Self care looks different for everyone because we all have different schedules and workloads, different interests, and respond to different stress factors….differently. Basically, what I’m saying is you have to find what works for you. What soothes one person may not work for another. Take a look at the situation that you’re in, what’s causing you stress and come up with ways to decrease that stress. (*Note: you don’t have to be stressed to exercise self care)
Self care does not only include your physical health but mental health as well. A lot of people still cringe at the mention of mental health. If you are one of those people, you need to cut that out right now. The stigma surrounding mental health is a part of the reason that so many people leave theirs neglected. Everyone has to take care of themselves mentally, just like they would physically.
Like I said, everyone has different stress relievers but here are a few things to remember/ suggestions on how to keep your energy up:
- Make a playlist
- If you’re the kind of person that really connects through music, make a playlist of your favorite songs for when you get stressed. Ones that motivate you, energize you, and that help you get through whatever you’re going through.
- Take some time to catch up on work/school
- Example: When I was still at my university I was a RA, I ran three organizations and in my last semester I was taking an extra class plus a science lab. Sounds like a lot right? Well, sometimes it was. Every now and then when I felt overwhelmed with everything or started to feel like I was falling behind I would take a day to play catch up. I would make a list of EVERYTHING that I needed to accomplish for upcoming assignments, exams, and events and complete them in order of what was coming up first. At the end of the day, having so many things crossed off was like a weight being lifted off of my shoulders.
- I would recommed doing this before you fall behind so that you can get ahead but life happens and it doesn’t always work out that way.
- Find a hobby
- A good hobby could pretty much be anything as long as you find it enjoyable. I read a lot. And I blog (obviously) so those are my two main things. But you could knit, write novels, play a sport or an instrument. Or what about coloring books for grown ups? Not gonna lie, it’s pretty relaxing. Whatever you feel like doing.
- Have some alone time
- Again, this depends on what you find relaxing. So maybe you want to go to a spa, get a manicure, shop, some people find that cleaning calms them.
- I like to go to the library, buy some books, stop at a Starbucks and write a little bit. If I’m in a really good mood I’ll be productive too.
- Stay hydrated
- People say this all the time and I think that sometimes it’s not always taken seriously. You must stay hydrated. I feel so sluggish if I don’t it makes a huge difference sometimes.
- Exercise (if you have the energy)
- This doesn’t necessarily mean go crazy at the gym and I know that when things are hectic we just don’t have time for a full total body workout. That’s okay but the little bit of time that you can spare, use it. Even if it’s just 10 minutes. Even if it’s just five. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stand up from your desk and stretch your legs, roll your shoulders a bit and relieve some tension.
- Catch up on sleep
- I know that it’s recommended that we get 8 hours of sleep but I rarely do. In between classes sometimes I would take a power nap and sometimes in made all the difference, especially before night classes.
- Talk to someone
- Call a friend, go to counseling or therapy. Never ever ever be afraid to ask for help. Don’t miss sessions with your therapist.
- Take your medicine
- If you have any sort of prescription for your physical or mental health don’t forget to take it. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to. Just make sure you take it.
- Say no – THIS IS IMPORTANT
- If you’re feeling down, you’re exhausted, and/or you just want to spend time alone do not let other people talk you out of it. If your friends are asking you to go out but you’re swamped or just don’t feel like it, tell them no. You don’t have to say yes all the time. You do not have to compromise you health to make someone else happy. If they don’t understand that, then they are not worth your time. This is especially important for those with chronic illnesses, reserve your spoons!
- Eliminate negativity and toxic relationships
- If one particular “friend” is really stressing you out. Distance yourself from them. If that one person only calls on you when they need something but never shows up for you, it might be time to cut your losses. This sucks to have to do but it’s a relief once its over.
Those are just a few of things that you can do but as I’ve said it depends on you. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Listen to your body. Never let someone tell you that taking time for yourself is selfish when in reality you’re doing what needs to be done. If you have any other tips for self care feel free to let me know what they are!