Going on a run, talking to your best friend on the phone, or journaling for 20 minutes every night can all be forms of self-care. In the dictionary, self-care is defined as “care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.” However, self-care is so much more than that. It is about improving one’s overall health, which includes the physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual elements of an individual’s well-being. To make is simpler, self-care is just a term used to describe ways that make your own self feel happier, healthier, and a balanced life.
Since we were children, we are taught to brush our teeth every day, have annual checkups, and go to the dentist twice a year. These are all typical tasks that are assumed in everyone’s lives. We share recommendations about medical doctors and talk about the last time we had a cavity, but what if people were as open to share recommendations about their therapists or the last time they had a panic attack? Most people are unable to define or even know what self-care is because it is not often talked about.
One of the best ways to incorporate a better understanding of how to take care of yourself mentally is by discussing it with other people. Each person has a different system or does different things to maintain their own mental health. Some common tactics include writing, meditation, and giving yourself a reward.
When in doubt, write it out. Storytelling in a safe place might be all you need to feel better after a busy day. You can also write lists, draw in journal, or use an online diary platform like wordpress.com. Writing can be a time to focus on yourself and for self-reflection. As college students, life can get hectic, so writing down your problems or creating solutions is a great and simple form of self-care.
Mindfulness and meditation are becoming more mainstream and also easy ways to improve your overall health. Whether you just focus on your breathing for twenty minutes a day or join a yoga studio, you will feel more relaxed and at ease with your inner being. Also, being more mindful will also help you do better in school and at work. A happy mind is a less stressed mind!
Treating yourself during a tough week is also a significant self-care tactic. If you are someone who goes to the gym every day, take the day off and go to the nearest coffee shop to buy a latte. Making time for you allows you to perform short check-ins to see how you are feeling and doing. It gives you an opportunity to make sure that you are doing well in all aspects of life.
Other self-care tips can be found at DePaul resources. DePaul also offers counseling services if you feel like you might need more help than just incorporating self-care into your daily life.