This week was “spring break” and it has been a welcome time to rest and relax for myself, and I’m sure for thousands of other students as well. Because of this, I wanted to write about how important it is to practice self-care. As students, we are all deeply invested in and committed to our success academically and career-wise. It is normal to experience a moderate level of stress or to prioritize school over other things. However, letting these demands become too overwhelming for you or never taking a break can be harmful. I’ve noticed that some of my friends, as we approach graduation, are experiencing stress but not making enough time for care for themselves.
I think it is far too easy of a pattern of behavior to fall into. You tell yourself you will eventually make time for yourself but you “just have to get through this exam/this paper/this project,” and then you put it off to the weekend, or an upcoming break, and then you somehow never seem to get around to it. It may not happen right away, but eventually you will begin to notice a detrimental change in your mood. Your coursework might even begin to suffer because you find yourself falling behind due to the pressure you feel.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to “give myself a present once a day.” It can be anything: treating myself to a latte, an afternoon nap, a nice meandering walk around campus after classes, playing basketball at CRCE, reminding myself to eat healthier/greener choices, or just setting aside time to go do something with friends. It is important to continue to do the activities you enjoy or help you to relax, rather than burn yourself out from focusing all of your energies on your internship search and classes and forgetting about your needs. You have to be able to step back and relax once in a while in order to keep your mind sharp. Remembering to practice self-care regularly will help you feel better each day.
You will find that the campus community and staff here are very supportive of students and care very much about our well-being and offer a variety of classes and services. You can find more information about campus well-being services here.