The concept of self-care spans across so many facets of life that it seems critical to productive living, but how has it become so skewed? You can read psych articles about the benefits of actions and activities rooted in self-care, refer to holistic books and resources for healing your body with good foods, and even color out a picture or two in the newly popular adult coloring books. But do these mean anything if our intentions and purpose for self-care are not thought of? Here, I am not going to tell you where to buy a coloring book or give suggestions on WHAT to do, but give guides for how to identify where to put time and conscious effort for self-care in a daily routine.
- Self-Care as a Priority, Not Distraction- It’s way too easy to call social media, a nap, or putting off work as self-care. A major issue with popularized self-care is that it is a fad: something to do only when you are currently stressed. This is a short-term solution that creates long term problems and stress. Making self-care actions, activities, and thoughts a priority, as part of your routine, is being proactively helpful to oneself.
- Moderation and Compassion- The ways that we cope with stress and anxiety sometimes can get out of control, taking up substantial portions of our day. After coming out of the tunnel vision for the time we have been stressing, we may feel guiltier than we did before. Indulgence is part of being a human and a college student, and should be included in life, but need not be used to self-sabotage. Being patient and compassionate with oneself during times of stress is critical to developing patterns and behaviors that emphasize self-appreciation and growth.
- Stresses and their Outlets- Being honest with oneself about where our anxiety is coming from is necessary for finding and directing ourselves in the ways of routine self-care. Actions that emphasize conscious intention can be anything that directly confronts our anxieties. Asking yourself some of these questions might help you find your outlets: What is something I wake up thinking about? How can I direct that energy into being productive for my mental health? Is there something that I can do to incrementally decrease my anxiety today? How can I show appreciation for my vulnerabilities today?
Stay gentle and bold!