What is self-care?
If we check Wikipedia, the ultimate hub of college knowledge, self-care is defined as “any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.” That’s a lot of fancy words for “actions done by someone to keep themselves healthy.” In terms of mental and emotional health, self-care is a series of steps and procedures that every person should have in order to deal with troubling events, feelings, or actions.
But what is it? What do you do in order to practice self-care? Lots of people have lots of different definitions of what self-care is. Some say it’s exercise and yoga, some say it’s eating ice cream and watching Netflix, and others say that it’s simply laying down and sleeping. But here’s the thing: self-care can be anything and everything. If it makes you feel good, or happy, or safe, or even simply takes your mind off of things, that’s self-care.
As college students, self-care is something really important. I’m only a freshman, but I’ve already met a plethora of staff members, professors, and upperclassmen who emphasize self-care and making sure that your own health comes before anything else. We are currently at a stressful point in our lives – all through our childhoods and high school we’ve been told that CollegeTM is the pinnacle of our existence, and that it will impact the rest of our ~60 year future. We also experience an incredibly stressful environment every day – college, for some, is our first experience with so many things: multiculturalism, illicit substances, political discourse, time management, responsibility, etc., etc.
It’s a lot to cope with. But it can be coped with, and it must. I’m one of the lucky individuals who already knows her self-care rituals (hint: it involves sleeping in, using my phone, and drinking ginger ale), but a lot of people don’t. If you don’t know what your own personal form of self-care is, ask yourself one simple question: “What do I like to do?” What’s something that, if given free time, you actively pursue or even simply drift towards in times of trouble? Do you have some activity, place, or thing that makes you feel “at home” anywhere you go? If you know the answers to these questions, that’s a good start on your journey of self-discovery.
The next time you feel burdened, or under stress, or just not well mentally or emotionally, I encourage you to try and practice self-care. Order some Chinese food! Spend two hours playing that game! Go work out! Attend a play! Skip a class! To quote the words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, “Treat. Yo’. Self.” Whatever you need to do to prevent a total college breakdown, please, do it. Your wellbeing is infinitely more important than any other thing in this earth.
And now, more than ever, self-care is important. Not just for students, but for everyone – your professors, advisors, and faculty are not above the human flaw of emotion, they’re just like us. Every single person on this campus undergoes stress, and trouble, and a bad day now or then. So please, keep yourself safe. Practice self-care, and reach out to someone if you feel it is not enough.
Thank you, and have a wonderful week.
-Stella Lucina Castor <3
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