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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Stevens chapter.

When I began my first year of college, I was determined to become the person I had always wanted to be. I was going to wake up early, go for walks, meet new people, try new foods. Long gone was the old version of me who used to overwork and overstress myself. The new me was going to take the time needed to make sure I put myself first and enjoyed the little things. 

As often happens with resolutions, it didn’t take long before the stress of school and work began to set in and achieving the goals I had set out for myself began to feel impossible. Before I knew it, I was back to my old habits of doing work all night, feeling groggy all day and completely neglecting my desperate need for rejuvenation.

According to Katherine May, bestselling author of Wintering, there are many reasons why we tend to slip back into old patterns. May’s book details her journey through overcoming periods of burnout, telling us the key to combating this phenomenon is to ask ourselves one simple question- what soothes us? Whether it’s meditating, playing an instrument, watching the clouds or just simply being, we have to first find what it is that actually brings us peace.

May also explains that we often spend far too much time trying to take care of ourselves the “right” way instead of actually just taking care of ourselves. She explains that for her, years ago when she was trying to learn how to meditate, she was instructed to do so twice a day, not before or after sleeping or before a meal. Even though these rules seemed easy enough at first, following them became much harder than she expected.

May explains that she spent so much wasted time upset with herself for not being able to follow the exact routine. She felt like she had failed- the rules seemed easy enough, so what was it that was standing in her way? 

She later realized that this was because these specific rules were written by someone else. Someone who had never walked in her shoes, who didn’t know what it meant to be Katherine May. Inspired by her new revelation, May set out to create her own definition of meditation. She began meditating sometimes in the middle of the night or while taking a walk in the woods, whenever she felt she needed to. Kate found what worked for her. 

Though it’s easier said than done, it’s important to reflect on your self care goals with grace, and to find what suits you specifically. Take some time for personal reflection and find what gives you peace, and what gets in the way of you doing it more often. 

The year is coming to a close, but we don’t have to wait until 2024 to start prioritizing self care. Let’s end 2023 on a note of dedication to ourselves and finding the things in life that make us truly happy. 

Emily Johannan is a 3rd year Biomedical Engineering major at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Emily was drawn to HerCampus because of her desire to bring light to important causes at Stevens and the surrounding area. In the future, Emily hopes to use biomedical engineering and her desire to write to pursue a research career in the field of women’s health.