Humankind’s sense of self is an extraordinary thing. We, humans, have the ability to solve complex problems, communicate with each other through language and feel intense emotions. We have the ability to love and to hate. Although there is much controversy on whether or not humans are the most intelligent creatures to roam our planet, I think it’s clear that humans are amazing and highly interesting creatures.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Spiderman in which Uncle Ben wisely tells Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” As cheesy as it may sound, Uncle Ben is definitely right. With so much going on in our busy lives, such as school, work and relationships, it’s our responsibility to pay respect to our bodies and our minds.
Self-care is defined as any activity that we do with the intent of taking care of our emotional, mental and physical health. Whether it be working out at the gym to release endorphins, reading a book that makes you feel good inside, talking to your therapist, or cooking your favorite meal, self-care can lead to tremendously positive effects such as improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety levels. Self-care isn’t all about solely the self either despite its focus on oneself. Through learning how to better yourself through actions that help you, you also gain the knowledge to care for your friends and family as well. The flight attendants’ instructions to place your own oxygen mask first rings just as true on the ground as it does in the air. Once we start taking care of ourselves, we can care for others as well.
It can feel so easy to become lost in the sea of the 7.35 billion people in the world, or even on our campus where the student population is 34,000. Sometimes we can even feel displaced in our close-knit friend groups. As busy college students, we have classes to attend, social gatherings to go to, work to pay our rent and tuition and friends to hang out with. With only 24 hours in a day to complete more than a day’s worth of tasks, it would be surprising if you didn’t feel burnt out every now and then. Not only are human’s footprints slowly expanding across our planet but so are our stress levels. According to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey conducted in 2015, no other generation feels as stressed as Millenials do. In our day and age, the plates begin to pile up extremely fast on the dinner table that is life due to soaring student loan debts, career-market fluctuations, the current status of our society and even just turning on the news to a screen streaked with tragedy. Self-care has always been important, but we need it more than ever in the 21st century.
Take the time each day, regardless if you are feeling overwhelmed, content, exhausted, or enthusiastic, and engage in self-care. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for even the smallest actions. After all, it’s sometimes the smallest details in life that make all the greatest impacts. It could be choosing to not go to that party and instead stay in to read that book you’ve always wanted to read and relax. Maybe it’s waking up an hour early to make a good cup of coffee while planning out what the rest of the day will bring you.
Self-care looks different for everyone.
But it definitely works for everyone.
As humans, we have the great power to accomplish so many amazing things. We also have the ability to self-recognize when our batteries are severely drained, when we are hurt and when we desperately need to rest after a long week (or maybe even a long day!). If Spiderman can save New York countless times, I think we can all do Uncle Ben a favor and take some time each day to do some self-care!
Take care of yourselves, ladies. #selfcareisnotselfish <3
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American Psychological Association (2015)