I scrolled through Instagram one day last week, like I do most days. As I clicked aimlessly through stories while waiting for class to start, I notice a commonality among almost all of them–a motivational phrase, a beautiful picture, or a lunch date, all titled with words about creating a happier today, treating yourself, and the final one in big letters titled SELF CARE.
The message still resonated with me as I put my phone away for class, and I found myself pondering what self care looks like to me. For me, self care has always been a phrase all across social media, but with no good textbook definition. My personal definition of self care means time in which I working on nothing but myself and my mental health. I feel I have done a much better job at self care as a current third-year student than I did in my first year. Now, I am a consistent meditator and I wake up each morning to journal and sit alone with my thoughts for 10 minutes. I avidly use exercise as a stress reliever, using lifting and cardio in tandem to calm my nerves. However, to be completely transparent with you, I was not good at self care my freshman year.
In my first semester, I ran off of Monster Energy, coffee, and Ohio Union quesadillas. I would stay up into the wee hours of the night, wake up early, and slowly grind both my physical and mental health down. This lack of awareness for my own health wasn’t because I enjoyed feeling awful; rather, it was more due to me not knowing about ways to relax and enjoy time. For those of you struggling with self care like I was in my first year at Ohio State, here is my get right guide for all things self care.
STEP 1: Find what makes you happy!
We’re all very different people–for some, a meal with friends is the best thing in the world; others would rather sit in relaxation and watch TV for 30 minutes. Whatever that is for you, you know yourself better than anyone! Find that thing that really allows you to take a deep breath, clear your mind, and truly relax.
STEP 2: If it’s something new to you, create a plan of attack!
Let’s say you really wanna start working out as your form of self care–great! However, part of what may be keeping you from implementing this plan is the fact you wouldn’t even know where to start. My advice is make a plan of attack so that when you get in there you know what you’re doing. Do some research online–find a weight lifting program, watch videos on how to do the exercises–and finally, go in there an kill it! Creating a plan will boost your confidence and allow you to truly relax instead of being nervous about doing the activity.
STEP 3: Consistency!
So, you practiced self care today–that’s great! But that doesn’t mean that you can forget about it for the rest of the semester. Instead, make sure that you take a little time out of each and every day in order to work on you! Remember: consistency is key!
Overall these three quick and easy steps for self care can really make a massive impact. In my experience, I found homework more enjoyable, my friendships more fun, and overall my life in a better state when I learned to take care of myself everyday! For everyone reading as well I just want you to know: you got this! It’s November and the semester is winding down–finish strong and kill it.