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Want To Know What’s Better Than Self-Care? Introducing; Before-Care

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.

Let me tell you some of the best advice that my therapist gave me this summer! But, before you jump to conclusions, I am not saying that self-care is bad for you or unnecessary. It is tremendously valuable for your mental health, physical health, spirituality, and emotions. But I have some direct insight from a licensed professional to help nudge you in the right direction and combat your rough days before they happen!

Having a stressful day? What better to do after a lousy day than to run yourself a bubble bath, light a candle or incense, do a hefty skincare routine, or journal? 

Well…I actually have the answer to that question.

Regarding self-care methods, let me educate you about why before-care is better than aftercare. The examples that I addressed above are forms of self-aftercare. I can simply explain this method as a self-care strategy that you do after times of distress. But, I learned the key to what is better than self-after care.

Practicing BEFORE-CARE

Do not wait until after you have a bad day to take care of yourself — do it before! If you journal, how often do you journal after having a bad day? I can take a guess that you journal more frequently when you are feeling sorrowful instead of when you are feeling content. Let’s change that!

Try to practice some form of self-care every day, no matter what is happening that day or what emotions you are feeling. Practicing some form of self-care, no matter how big or small, will help improve your current day and the next day. Furthermore, it will help you to better combat issues and situations that may arise in the near future. For example, if you engage in a different or the same self-care activity every day, such as running yourself a relaxing bubble bath on an average delightful day, your chances of being able to overcome tomorrow’s challenges will skyrocket. Since your mind and body are relaxed, content, loose, and untroubled, your upcoming struggles will not destroy your day as they would if you were tense, stressed, time-constrained, and distressed.


Too busy to partake in an activity that takes longer than five minutes? No worries! I have some spectacular self-care activities that take little time or effort. Although journaling is a fantastic way to reflect, you can also mentally reflect on your day, emotions, relationships, struggles, etc. My personal favorite method of mental reflection is rose, bud, and thorn. I know it may sound strange, but it is insanely effective in boosting my mood and making deeper connections if you choose to participate with another individual. Take under a minute to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Rose: What is my favorite part of my day?
  2. Bud: What am I most looking forward to tomorrow?
  3. Thorn: What is the worst part of my day?

You can also substitute “day” and “tomorrow” with another length of time, such as “this week,” “next week,” “this month,” and “next month.”

Reflecting every day helps me to accept what happened, how it went, how I feel, and feel at ease with the day. Make sure to try it sometime! I instantly feel more content and satisfied with my day after critically thinking about the highs and lows. Some other effective examples are setting a timer for five minutes while you journal, tidying up your room, making yourself a cup of tea, participating in breathing exercises, taking five minutes away from screens, preparing yourself a snack, writing your younger self a letter, meditating, taking a shower, washing your face, charging your crystals, stretching, painting your nails, doing your makeup, and basically anything that will is healthy mind and body. I want you to receive the advice that I did to take control of your life and be proactive!

I understand that seeking a therapist can be difficult. Most times, searching for a therapist using a third-party resource has a low success rate. Additionally, determining if a healthcare company is both reliable and affordable takes a large amount of mental time and energy. But don’t worry, I found a place that provides both without going through the hassle of doing the research for yourself. I personally put my trust in Thriveworks where you can use their match system to find what therapist is the best fit for you. Their design makes sure that you have multiple options from their company that use your insurance, specialize in what you need help with, and meet your preferred demographic. As a young woman who struggled to navigate her life, I preferred having a middle-aged female therapist who resembled a mother figure. It was perfect! Check it out for yourself!

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Brook Masse

U Mass Amherst '23

Brook Masse is a Senior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is majoring in Digital Marketing, Media, and Society and minoring in Psychology. She enjoys taking Communication, Marketing, Sociology, Legal Studies, and Psychology classes. You can find her thrifting, taking a walk, drinking coffee or boba, socializing with friends, or painting when she is not writing.