Abi Hillrich

Self-care is a term commonly tossed around everywhere we look—in blog posts, in conversation with friends, and all over social media. If you’re unfamiliar with what this term really means, all of the various information can be extremely overstimulating and confusing. Even if you know what self-care is, it can be difficult to sort through all of the input to discover how to find the best form of self care for you. Hopefully this guide will give you a better idea of what it means to take care of yourself, and what actions you could take to benefit from this important human need.

What is self-care?
A simple definition of self-care is something done for you and by you. This strategy of taking care of yourself works to combat the reality in which we often care for others more than ourselves. Though being selfless is important, we tend to overdo it in many ways. The extroverted, success-oriented ideal of American culture tends to push people further than they can handle. Self-care is the act of taking time to figure out what you need, so you can be the best you can be.

The trend of self-care stems from the rise of consciousness of mental illness and introvertedness. When enough people started speaking up about their own personal struggles, it became evident that some sort of measures needed to be taken. Self-care proved to be the best avenue, with obvious benefits and incredible results. Taking good care of yourself is proven to reduce anxiety and improve mood, as well as physical health. It allows you to “recharge” and unload from whatever stress you may be experiencing.

What can I do for self-care?

Exercising is great for you. It keeps your body healthy and burns excess fats. Exercising also affirms a regular sleep schedule and keeps your body functioning normally. It is even proven to improve mood and provide relaxation by stimulating chemicals in your brain.

Getting enough sleep is a crucial part of your health, though it can be extremely difficult at particularly stressful times in the semester. Being sure to get the required 7-8 hours of sleep most nights can provide you with new energy and keep you motivated.

Meditation or Mindfulness Activities
Meditation allows you to attain control over your mental processes. Though extremely difficult at first, regular meditation reduces stress and increases happiness. It also increases self-awareness and concentration. There are many meditative apps available that only require about 10 minutes of time a day (Headspace; Simple Habit; Stop, Breathe, & Think).

An Activity You Enjoy
Whether this means reading, going for a short walk outdoors, or listening to new music, taking a break and doing an activity you enjoy works wonders.
Healthy Eating
Eating healthy can be extremely important for keeping up your energy. A balanced diet that includes things like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can also improve your mood and make you feel a lot better. (Another form of self-care is eating something that you really enjoy; do not be afraid to break the rules every once in awhile.)

There are so many great forms of self-care. It can be fun to experiment with multiple types to find out which one works best for you. The benefits of taking time to care for yourself are huge; self-care is an important development in how we view ourselves, and can be life-changing. As someone who regularly takes time for myself, I encourage everyone to try self-care in order to discover how it can improve their life.

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