These days, life is pretty fast-paced. Between school, work, and extracurricular activities- all modified to account for COVID precautions- students have a lot to worry about. Add personal obligations and everyday concerns into the mix, and you have a recipe for soul-crushing stress. The solution? Taking time to focus on yourself. It can be difficult to step back and take stock of what’s stressing you out, but there are ways to make self-care easier to accomplish in our constantly moving world.
Firstly, you need to know your limits. A lot of emphasis gets placed on “the hustle”, which is the idea that you have to be productive at all times, even (and quite often) to the point of overworking yourself. Unsurprisingly, that’s not good for you! Your value as a person doesn’t depend on how much work you do. Listen to your brain and body, and take breaks when you need to.
Second, be kind to yourself. You’re not going to be perfect at anything- nobody is! It may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that not everything will come easily to you. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes and imperfections. You’ll have more chances to try again and improve. In the meantime, focus on the little things you’ve accomplished, like completing your homework or making someone laugh. On some days, even just getting out of bed on time deserves congratulations.
Third, spend time with the people you care about. It can be tough to socialize in the midst of a pandemic, but positive social interactions greatly benefit your mental health. Whether you’re meeting with your friends outdoors or chatting with them online, being around them can boost your mood.
Finally, remember to take care of your body! It’s hard to maintain a healthy mental state if your body is telling you that something’s wrong. Make sure that you eat regularly and drink plenty of water, and that you shower and brush your teeth. Taking care of yourself can also boost your self-esteem! And make sure to get a healthy amount of sleep. Even if you can’t fit in the recommended eight-and-a-half hours, a little sleep is better than none at all.
Self-care doesn’t need to be as complicated as it’s often made out to be. There’s no perfect solution to everything that worries you, but taking small steps towards better mental health can make a big difference. Remember to breathe, remember to rest, and most importantly, remember that you matter!
Senior Erin Wilkinson is a staff writer for the 2021-2022 yearbook. When she isn’t drawing or writing, she enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends.