The many to do’s and responsibilities that life entails can make it challenging to find that special and necessary time for your own self-care. And being a student adds a whole other element to the endless to-do list. But, even on top of all of all of that, the non-traditional mom has one responsibility that comes far before any other. This leaves her without any leeway time for the self-care. Or, she has a very limited amount that comes late into the night or in the wee hours of the a.m. Self-care is something we as human beings all need if we want to avoid becoming crazy, sleep deprived, mean and confused monsters.
The definition of self-care may differ from person to person, but it is one thing that we all need so we can make sure not to lose sight of who we are, where we are and why. I’ve gotten to the point many times when it’s been so long without any self-care that the world seems to be crumbling down on me and I’m suffocating underneath it all. At that point, not only am I not doing any good for myself, but for the people who surround me as well. I always begin questioning everything, thinking it’s all wrong while judging myself by thinking I’m doing a horrible job at it all.
Empathy is one thing that can make it harder to find the time for self-care because of how guilty it makes you feel for even thinking about needing some time for yourself. Because the suffering and injustice never takes a break and children are still starving and war still kills. If your anything like me, this is how my brain works and it’s so hard to turn it all off. What can we do to give ourselves the self-care we all need?
Our bodies are affected by everything we think, feel and do. Even if it’s just our brains we are using, the body gets hit with it all. Being a retired–yes, I am 31 and have already retired from one career–massage therapist, massage and bodywork is one self-care technique that I absolutely adore and would recommend to everyone. Bodywork helps to relieve any and all including: stress, pain, anxiety and relaxation.
Exercise is another self-care tactic that I follow regularly or as often as possible. Any physical activity is good for the body, mind and soul. The list is endless. Making a conscious effort and decision to walk or bike to campus is one easy way to not only get a little exercise, but fresh air as well. One of my favorite perks of being at CSU is the free rec center membership that comes with being a full-time student. It’s just steps away from the student center and offers classes, locker rooms, showers, a track, pool and any exercise equipment you could imagine. After getting in a good workout, relaxing and unwinding in the sauna or steam room is an amazing way to end or start the day.
It’s hard to find time during the chaos of semesters for regular meditation and mindfulness, but there are easy ways to squeeze it in. Walks are a wonderful way to combine both exercise and mindfulness in one. For me personally, walks are a good way to unwind with a bit a quiet me time to reflect, or even just be. A therapist recently told me that even driving can be mindful. Fulling engaging and following every single word while listening to your favorite tunes in the car is one way to squeeze in a few minutes of practicing mindfulness. Fully engaging with and appreciating your surroundings while driving is another mindfulness practice that, again, can be done on the go. It’s the act of allowing yourself to become fully present in the moment while also being mindful of whats around you.
I know it might be hard for all of you in your early 20s to hold back on parties and social life. For me, saying no to people or events and activities when I am already feeling overly busy and consumed is a healthy practice that gives you more time for yourself. It also gives yourself a confidence boost in knowing you can say no.
There is an app called CALM that you can download. CALM offers help and guidance in getting in that mindfulness time. The meditations are never longer than ten minutes, and really do help the mind find that special place to sit quietly and peacefully.
I hope these self-care tips help many of you find what works for you so that we can all make it to the other side whole, happy and sane.
Collegian Blogger Ashley Haberman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave a comment!!