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As we approach the end of finals, many of us are awaiting our long, overdue break. With the end of our hard work, we reward ourselves with “self-care.”By the social media definition of what it means to “self-care,” it may include your typical face mask, binge-watching marathons of your favorite show/movie, or bouts of sleeping in on day's end. I feel that many of these activities are fun and enjoyable, of course, but I believe that self-care goes beyond the cozy, pretty aesthetic that one can post on their story.

Self-care is different for everyone. This can mean going on a run after the mental fatigue of Zoom calls, munching down on a snack to gain a little bit of energy, or a nap to help kick-start your study sessions for later in the day. These are all valid ways to help yourself physically. 

Listening to your body and knowing what you need to do to push yourself is so important. This would also include crying and reassuring yourself when needed as well. I know, from personal experience, that there are times when you cannot bear to look at your assignment because of the other troubling things on your mind. And that is perfectly valid too. For those who need to hear it, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. Feel your emotions and let them run their course.

And with that, there are ways we can help ourselves more than physically. I know that many of us could use a mental break as well. If you are like me, I mindlessly scroll through TikTok videos before class, after class, and even during, at times. Not having to think about anything and just letting your mind focus on the video in front of you can be comforting. But, I also know that letting yourself scroll through endless pages of social media can end up doing more harm than good.

Taking breaks from technology can surprisingly help you in ways one cannot think of. Even if that break is merely staring up at the ceiling or looking out the window for a few minutes, it can give a good reflection, making your mind clear and ready-to-go. 

Talking to others or, at least, being in the presence of someone else is also another great way to take care of yourself. As an introvert, I never considered this fact because people usually drain my social battery if I’m with them for a longer period of time than I expected. But since most of us are in quarantine, it gives me so much energy to talk to the people I care about and have been wanting to catch up with. Whether it is about studying for the same material that benefits both of us, venting our problems for hours, or sitting in silence as we quietly do whatever, it gives me serotonin nonetheless.

It is up to you to determine how to best take care of yourself, what works for me may or may not work for you. However, taking things at your own pace and having a few bumps in the road is all part of the process. It is okay to give yourself the space to do what you need to do. How you choose to spend your time and get yourself back into the momentum of things is what it truly means to self-care.

Jazyle (she/her/hers) is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco. She is a Kinesiology major with a Child & Youth studies minor currently located in Daly City, CA.
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