It’s easy for me to overwork myself to fulfill all my obligations. Sometimes, I even feel guilty when I haven't done everything that I wanted to complete that day, or I wasn’t as productive as I usually am. Even on days when I’ve done a substantial amount of work, I feel that I should’ve done more. “I could’ve started on that assignment that is due in 2 weeks,” and “Could I have job-searched for a little bit longer?” are some of the thoughts I have.
I’ve learned throughout the years that it’s important to make time for myself. Carving out time in my schedule to practice self-care has been essential. Self-care is "a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being” (Dorociak et al., 2017). Self-care is really any activity that takes care of your health: getting enough sleep, hanging out with friends, exercising, and even playing video games. One of my favorite self-care activities lately has been going on walks around campus. I often remind myself that I don’t always have to be doing something that pertains to school, work, or my other obligations. It’s okay for me to take a break and do things that make me happy.
Self-care during college is important for several reasons. Firstly, self-care is a way to relieve stress. After a busy day of classes, it’s nice to unwind and do an activity that is relaxing and or boosts your mood. For me, calling a family member at the end of the day always puts me in a good mood. Furthermore, self-care helps us to be more productive. Now, this might sound contradictory to my point earlier, but self-care throughout the day can give us a boost of energy to finish our tasks and even start new ones. This is especially important as we go through college, as our workload and responsibilities tend to increase each year.
Moreover, it helps prevent burnout. If we don’t make time for ourselves and engage in stress-relieving activities, we can get to a point where we are completely exhausted. I feel that everyone, including myself, has experienced burnout at least once in college. It’s not fun. Burnout can make us feel miserable and unable to fulfill our academic obligations. Lastly and most importantly, self-care is important for our health. Self-care can improve our mental, physical, and social health to name a few. Doing activities that you enjoy, eating healthy, and socializing are all examples of self-care activities that promote a healthy lifestyle during college and beyond.
Incorporating self-care into my schedule has made a world of a difference. As I reflect on my time here at MSU, I feel that I’ve become happier and healthier. I encourage everyone, whether in college or not, to start making time for themselves. Life is too short to not do things that make you happy.
Dorociak, K. E., Rupert, P. A., Bryant, F. B., & Zahniser, E. (2017). Development of a Self-Care Assessment for Psychologists. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(3), 325–334. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000206