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Redefining Self Care During The Worst Semester of My Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

The meaning of self care has changed in the past year. In the past, my definition of self care was dependent on media and what other people were telling me it was. I knew it was important, but it was never something that I focused too highly on. It took a god-awful school year for me to change my tune. For me, this semester snuck up rather quickly. Somewhere between August and now, I’ve found myself drowning in overdue assignments and readings to catch up on. Between three jobs and five classes, “self care” went from a Sunday skincare routine to maybe getting to bed before 2 AM on the days I have to work early in the morning. Disregarding the need for downtime contributed to a lot of unnecessary stress over the course of the first few weeks of classes, and quickly I became aware of how important self care is. 

Redefining self care is not an easy task. Let’s break down what “self care” is. Its two basic components are “self” and “care.” The dictionary definition is dependent on its name- care for the self. In the easiest terms, self care is all about taking care of yourself. Paying attention to your wants and needs. The implication of self brings about one important observation concerning the concept of self care, and that is that the definition changes based on who is defining it. In order to redefine self care in your life, you should ask yourself one important question: what do I need right now? The answer to that question is your answer to redefining self care- it is completely dependent on what you need. 

That seems like an easy enough concept, but taking care of your needs is more work than it initially seems. It’s important when you think about self care to think about the ways in which you might be limiting yourself from what you actually need. Self care doesn’t have to be trying a new diet or gym routine. Maybe it’s listening to your One Direction playlist on repeat. Maybe it’s spending 15 minutes listening to your favorite podcasts. Maybe it’s getting a sugar plum danish at Starbucks. Big or small, it’s just about helping yourself get through the day. Nothing more and nothing less- and keeping it simple lets you do that. 

It’s also important to think about what shouldn’t be considered self care. Consider if a balance exists between self care and your available resources. I’m all for a retail therapy shopping spree, but you shouldn’t be spending money every other day on Depop or at Plato’s Closet (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience here..). Think of self care like a part of your day rather than a reward. It doesn’t matter if you get all your tasks done for the day- you still deserve to take care of yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. Advocate for yourself to yourself- and I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but consider how often you tell yourself no and how many times you’ve stopped yourself from enjoying something. Be your biggest advocate, because no one else is going to do it like you will. 

Early Childhood Education | Psychology 4th year student at CofC, fan of cats, coffee, and New Girl