It’s midterm season for most of us, which means that we are going to be stressed and burnt out. As a result, the majority of us will want to have a self-care day or days to relax after a tough couple of days. Usually what comes to mind as an act of self-care is treating yourself to a nice outfit, a night mask, or night out; however, Nedra Glover Tawwab, a therapist points out that there is more to self-care than just treating yourself to something. Nedra defines self-care as taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical health; it is “a set of self-nurturing acts that replenish your mind, body, and/or spirit.” Additionally, Tawwab explains on an Instagram post that treating yourself in only a temporary solution while real self-love is an ongoing process. In the same post, Nedra offers some acts to do in order to give yourself some well-deserved self-care. I I have shared some of them below.
Practicing Positive Self-Talk
Psychology Today explains self-talk as that inner voice that follows us around in our head and talks well into the night. Sometimes that voice can be supportive and positive, while other times it can be self-defeating and negative; this voice combines conscious thoughts with unconscious beliefs and biases. We love our inner voice when it is positive and boosts our confidence, but we are human and are prone to have negative self-talk. That inner voice will have someone thinking things like, “ I am a complete failure” or “ I am too dumb.” These negative inner monologues can be unrealistic and harmful; they can lead someone to become inactive because they feel useless.
However, the good thing is that these negative self-talks can disappear when we challenge them, this means we have to acknowledge them and replace them with positive inner monologues. It is easier said than done, but little positive affirmations can go a long way and can grow into bigger things. Be kind to yourself, you are doing so much and are living your life the best you can! Tell yourself things such as, “ I am hard-working” “ I am intelligent”, or “ I am able” because you are all those things and much more.
PsychCentral states that setting boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and an overall healthy life; it is a skill that many struggle to learn, use, and manage. The site provides pointers offered by Dr. Dana Gionta, a clinical psychologist who focuses on helping others with boundaries.
One of the suggestions is that we name our limits. This means that we need to identify our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional limits; we need to identify what we can tolerate or not as well as what makes us comfortable or stressed. Dr. Gionta says that our feelings help us identify what our limits are. Another pointer offered by Dr. Gionta is to give yourself permission to set boundaries and put effort into preserving them, do not feel self-doubt or guilt about how others will respond to your boundaries. According to Dr. Gionta, boundaries are not only just signs of healthy relationships, but they are also a sign of self-respect. A final pointer by Dr. Gionta is to start small with boundaries that are not threatening to you and then increase to more challenging boundaries. These are skills we have to develop that do not come to most of us naturally, but any progress is progress.
Back to Nedra’s Instagram post, another tip she offers for self-care is saying no. I myself struggle with this because I like to help and please others even if I do not want to do it or cannot because I have enough on my plate. Nedra says that we should say no to things we do not want to do, are not contributing to our growth, or rob us of our time. An example of this can be saying no to a night out with friends when you do not feel like going out or simply want to spend time with yourself. A common thing that happens as a student is your friends always inviting you to parties and although it is fun to go to parties, sometimes you need to stay in to read for your class or study for that test. Some people will go out instead of studying or doing homework because they do not want to be the party pooper or the boring friend. I have been there before, but then you end up being stressed because you needed that time to study or catch up on work. Sometimes it is essential to say no to things and people, your real friends and family members will understand; you do not need that extra stress.
Self-care is a necessity that sometimes we feel we do not deserve, but we do! Do not neglect or deprive yourself of positive things and feelings to please others. Take care of yourself first. Give your body and mind that rest it needs to get you through tough times and life. Live the healthy and peaceful life you work so hard for.