I am the first one to admit that I am not very good at taking care of myself. My coping mechanisms tend to take over my life, and, unfortunately, most of them are not the healthiest options out there. (Stress eating and procrastinating to avoid your problems, anyone?)
However, I’m a big proponent for self-care, and so I thought I’d take the time to focus on the positives (for once) and talk about some things that I actually am doing to take care of myself. Especially in light of recent resolutions about my lifestyle.
First of all, I enjoy quiet time. Being still, finding peace in the stillness, that’s wonderful to me. Sometimes,quiet time means meditating. Sometimes, it means going off alone somewhere to face myself or my thoughts. I have found that walking, or listening to music in my room, reading a book, or even cleaning the house can be perfect ways for me to seek that quiet time.
Second, I go to counseling. This really should be first, to be honest. Just the fact that I’m receiving counseling puts me at greater ease with myself, but of course that’s not all of it. If you think about it, people always are willing to shell out money to better take care of their bodies; money to gyms, trainers, diet services, you name it. Why aren’t people just as willing to do that for their minds? That’s really what counseling (or therapy, if you prefer that term) is doing: it is a professional helping to take care of what is going on in your mind. Because of that, I think I’ll always go to counseling, whether I’m suffering from anxiety or not.
Third, I talk to my loved ones. Isolation is a real struggle for me, as my initial reaction is always to hold things to myself and struggle through them on my own, so making sure that I’m talking to my family and friends is incredibly important. They tend to give me perspective on myself and life in general that I have either overlooked, forgotten, or never heard of. Knowing that I’m not alone and that I have loved ones around me is invaluable.
Fourth, I schedule my time. Now, I’m not saying I schedule every part of my day, but when things get overwhelming, I structure a stretch of time in my day to give me measurable goals and rewards to help me get through whatever work I am doing. This is a trick that any college student worth their salt knows about as the 50/10 rule: spend 50 minutes doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and then take a 10 minutes break. I never have been able to completely master the 50/10 rule, but that doesn’t stop me from trying!
Fifth, I go on walks. Not only is this good for my physical health, but it is a great way to clear my mind and bring better focus on my projects at home. Physical activity helps with mental clarity, you know.
Finally, and I’m sure you’re not surprised by this, I blog. Writing out my thoughts, taking the time to piece them together into a semi-readable narrative, helps me organize my own thoughts and feelings and decide what to do about them.
So, there are six ways that I take care of my self and try to keep myself sane. They are all things that you could find in a simple Google search, I’m sure, but these are the things that work best for me. At least for now. Who knows? I might have to expand or change my self-care practice as I continue to change as a human being.