We live in a society where self-care is not a priority anymore. Everything is so fast paced and we are expected to get everything done on time, without complaints, and completely perfect. Theoretically speaking, this sounds great and efficient, but we are humans. We get sick, we have other things going on in our lives, and we need rest. Our bodies are not simply designed to keep going and going and going… Eventually, after a few days, weeks, or even months of constant going, your body is going to start yelling at you to stop. Often times, we miss the warning signs that our bodies tell us. That little sniffle or sore throat soon turns into the Flu and before we know it we physically cannot get out of bed. This is why self-care is so important! It is also something you can do for free and practice every day. Self-care is completely personalized, tailored to your needs, and essentially whatever you want it to be.
The reason I was inspired to write this post is because I am in the midst of what us college kids call “hell week”, AKA finals week. Since it is quite possibly the most stressful, anxiety provoking, and crazy time of the year, I wanted to share some insight on self-care and why I think it is important. As I sit in my dorm at 10:18 pm writing this, with bags slowly growing under my eyes, I think to myself, what are my favorite forms of self care?
Personally, I am a huge fan of naps. When I say I am a huge fan, I mean that I take at least one nap a day. My busy life needs to come to a halt sometimes. As someone with anxiety, allowing myself a nap can be really hard at times. Thoughts that often run through my head are that I am wasting time I could be spending studying, I could be spending time with friends, I could be working out, and a whole other load of guilty thoughts. In the past, I would let guilt like this affect me much more. I have learned over the years from many people that listening to your body is so important. If you are tired, you should sleep. Being extremely tired and trying to study or workout just doesn’t mix. In other words, if your body is not rested, you are not going to be able to do things efficiently. Simply find an hour of your day where you have no responsibilities, lay your head on the pillow, and just rest your mind.
I also love watching movies, organizing my room, reading, listening to music, going for runs, and online shopping. These are just a few examples of things that make me feel good. A big part of recovering from an eating disorder is letting yourself enjoy things again. With this disorder comes along the need to punish yourself, or deprive yourself from things that are pleasurable. In my case, I felt and still feel sometimes, that I am undeserving of good tasting food. The excuse would be that I didn’t burn enough calories that day from a workout, I didn’t do well on an exam, so on and so on. I used my life mistakes to dictate my food choices, which when I am sitting here writing this, makes no sense. Food and pleasure do have a weird relationship, but they don’t have to. Anyway, letting go of the punishment complex of your disorder is very hard to overcome. It takes a lot of time and encouragement from others to help you enjoy the things you used to. You never have to earn food, it is merely nourishment that feeds the well being of your body.
Like the title says: all you have is you. You need to take care of yourself because you don’t get a back-up body. Although we might put school, working-out, our friends, family, and other things at the top of our priority list, our health should be up there too. You do not need an excuse to take a nap, or get a coffee, or even buy yourself a new outfit. Self-care is not just for when you are sick, stressed, or sad. I believe everyone should try to incorporate one form of self-care into their everyday life. I guarantee you will feel more energized, happier, and more motivated if you learn to take care of yourself in small ways.
For all my friends taking finals, you got this. If no one has told you yet today, you are intelligent, powerful, and capable of anything.