With the endless cycle of work that we put our minds and bodies through every day, setting aside time to nourish and replenish ourselves is imperative in sustaining our well-being. In our busy lives, people often neglect to provide their mind and body with breaks to relax and re-center, instead opting to overextend themselves. Just as we eat and drink to give ourselves the fuel we need to function at our best, indulging in practices of self-care functions as a reset to restore one’s happiness and reduce stress. Acts of self-care focus on connecting with and improving one’s physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual health. While trendy practices such as skincare, adult colouring, yoga and meditation are circulating throughout the media, self-care can be as simple as watching your favourite movie, cooking a new recipe or going on a walk.
Despite the positive benefits of self-care, our society unfortunately chooses to shine a negative light on those who put themselves first. Oftentimes, people label anything that has to do with pampering yourself or acknowledging your own needs as vain or selfish. As the mark between self-love and selfishness has become an indistinguishable line, the mention of self-care automatically exudes negativity. In truth however, sometimes the right thing to do is be selfish. It is okay to say no to the needs of your friends and family in order to take time for yourself, especially if you feel as if you have been spread thin. It is okay to want to spend some time alone to recharge. Just because you choose to put yourself first does not mean that you are disregarding the feelings of others. I often find myself putting everyone else’s needs before my own, for the fear of letting others down and coming off as a ‘bad person’. Re-conditioning myself to not feel guilty about putting myself first is a struggle that I endure every day, but I recognise that losing or giving up parts of myself is not worth it. Loving and taking care of yourself will allow you to show a deeper love for others. If you are unwilling to give yourself the time of day, how should you expect to wholly give yourself to someone else?
When implementing self-care into your life, I found it was important to try different methods in different environments in order to truly understand what would work best for me. It was only until the beginning of my third year at Queen’s that I decided to take the time to implement self-care habits into my everyday routine. Some forms of self-care that I incorporated into my daily life are: reading a chapter of a leisurely book every night before bed, listening to my favourite song right when I get up in the morning, doing some form of physical activity each day and dedicating at least five minutes of my day to relaxing. During exams, I find that decluttering and re-organizing my entire room is a mindless way of mentally unhooking myself from overwhelming stressors and a physical way of regaining a sense of peace. For me, self-care transports me back into the present moment and reminds me that the love I show to myself is comparable to no other. It is about continuing to improve and support myself so that I can continue taking the right steps forward in becoming the most successful and strong version of myself.
[bf_image id="q8yvlh-gi1s48-2at2sl"] Be selfish every once in a while! Don’t let yourself get to the point of burning out. Choose to take accountability for yourself, in whatever capacity that means for you. Just remember that your health and well-being should always be your first priority. If you are looking for a good place to start learning more about how to implement self-care into your daily life, the importance of maintaining your well-being or to simply have a constant external reminder to give yourself the love you deserve, follow @thefabstory on Instagram!