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Learning to Choose Yourself: Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

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 U Mass Amherst chapter.

College is a time in everyone’s life that is filled with stressful, new, and important changes in your personal and professional growth. You are meeting new people, making memories, taking career and leadership opportunities, and trying to set yourself up for success. While all of this is great and fun and exciting, there is a crucial element that I think we often forget to take care of within all of these things: ourselves. Prioritizing our mental and physical well-being is a key component in all of those elements that often get overlooked.

If you’re a people-pleaser like me, you may struggle with being able to do things for yourself for the fear of disappointing others. Whether that be going out on the weekend with friends or trying to attend a friend’s game or club event on top of another busy school week, trying to make time for everyone or everything can feel impossible at times. While you don’t want anyone to feel neglected or unappreciated, it is important that you don’t feel that way about yourself, either. There will be more nights to go out and party, more opportunities and chances to further your career and academics. By taking care of yourself first, these things can become even more enjoyable when you get to experience them later on.

There are so many ways you can treat yourself and make your mind and body feel better. Exercising is something that doesn’t need to take up too much time but is extremely beneficial. You don’t have to lift heavy or run five miles to feel those benefits either. A walk outside in the fresh air or some yoga in the morning to start off your day can release endorphins and help you just genuinely feel better. Another thing that doesn’t take up too much time is saying daily affirmations about yourself. The key is to actually assume these are true and not say them just to say them. Often times they help me project confidence on days when I don’t feel as good. Although it can sound silly, it works. I’ve felt more productive, more confident, and overall better about myself when I start my day off with these.

Sometimes self-care goes beyond just an hour at the gym or some positive reinforcement. Sometimes we need a night or even a day just to worry about ourselves. This can look different for everybody. Personally, I love my alone time. I like curling up with a cup of tea and a face mask or teeth-whitening strip on and putting on yet another re-run of One Tree Hill. For some people it may be spending a night scrapbooking or crafting; for others, it might be reading or writing about your favorite series or trope of the month. Whatever it is, you shouldn’t feel bad about doing it. If something gives you joy, don’t allow others to try and persuade you to do anything otherwise.

Overall, self-care is something that is ultimately up to you individually and how you choose to do it is no one else’s decision but yours. Your friends, family, and partner are great additions to your life, but if all of them went away, you’re only left with yourself. Why wouldn’t you want to be kind to your only guaranteed lifetime companion? Prioritizing your wellness will only lead to more and better opportunities in all other aspects of your life.

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Olivia Vadnais

U Mass Amherst '25

Hi everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a freshman at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I am very excited to join HerCampus this fall! I love reading, Taylor Swift, sports (especially basketball) and hanging out with friends and family. I am a management major and hope to end up double majoring in journalism as well.