Olivia Field/Old Gold & Black
Olivia Field/Old Gold & Black

Learning How to Prioritize Self-Care

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions, filled with promises to treat our bodies and minds better. Come February we tend to lose motivation to fuel these resolutions. The issue here is not the lost February motivation, but the fact that we need a new year to treat ourselves better.

Self-care is the most important thing you can do to lower stress, see better performance in your work, maintain your passion for day-to-day activities and improve self-love. I have constructed reasons and chances for anyone looking for a revamp on their self-care ritual to dive into and see results.

The easiest way to incorporate self-care is to avoid making it feel daunting. We live in a time where it feels hard to breathe due to how overwhelming our lives feel. There is no need for another reminder to pop up on your phone or in your mind about taking steps to put your health first, it should be second nature. That is one of the best measures in self-care — finding a routine that becomes so easy to incorporate that you forget you are integrating it.

This routine could become steps such as packing books up the night before, doing a face mask while watching an episode of TV or something as simple as deleting junk mail. Little tasks each day contribute to an overall relief of stress, greater ability to be organized and clearer thinking.

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In high school I visibly looked overwhelmed and stressed every second. One of the best things I did for myself was to take a social media cleanse. For a year I had nothing but Facebook to keep me up-to-date on my friend’s whereabouts. This may sound impossible, mainly because we live in a world almost defined by how we appear on social media, but once you step away, it will become evident how toxic and life-controlling every app is. If taking steps to delete your user handle is too much, just try to have a tech-free day once a week, putting your phone down as you walk to class or avoid looking at your phone while falling asleep. Slowly leaning away from your reliance on checking these apps will feel like a weight taken off your chest.

The activity everyone loves to hate is an endorphin raiser and ensures a better night’s sleep. Working out is a way to feel better about yourself, but it goes beyond a desire to shape your appearance. Physical activity stimulates your brain. It is so difficult to leave your dorm bed watching Netflix; we are all aware of this. Wake Forest happens to have a newly redone gym alongside personal trainers, work out classes, cardio machines that have access to Netflix and a rock climbing wall. If this is not enticing enough, a great way to also get up and go is making yourself a playlist on your music streaming account. Just doing 20-30 minutes of cardio daily will continue you on a positive path to self-care and barely takes a slice of time out of your day. Another great tip that goes along with physical activity is to drink 80 ounces of water daily to help keep you off of caffeine, keep you hydrated for your workouts and classes and flush out toxins within your body.

Lastly, an easy way to construct a better life with self-care is the ability to say yes and no. A great way to weave this into your life is by keeping positive and kind people around. It is important to devote time to friendships, but it is also important to give yourself time to be alone and just be you. Saying no to things that add too much onto your workload is entirely fine.

Everyone leads a busy life where just one more thing can tip them over. Managing obligations, friendships, outside activities, all while working is doable if you have time to unwind. It is not selfish to put yourself first. It allows you to make yourself a better person that people will appreciate next time you say yes to a group gathering.

If there is anything to take away from this article, it is the fact that you matter. Your mental health matters. All that you are matters to someone on this campus. You are more than your academics and social media status. Choose to help yourself and transform your life by incorporating some part of a self-care routine into your day-to-day life. You will see improvements in friendships, grades, stress levels and overall clarity. Form the best relationship with yourself that you can.

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