Although I practice self-care today, that has not always been the case. During my earlier years of high school, I had no idea what self-care was. Though I was stressed and overwhelmed at times, I thought that these were normal feelings that I was supposed to push through on my own. Most often, situations that did not go according to my plan caused me to become stressed, and I became unable to cope with my feelings. The stress would render me unable to focus on the tasks I needed to complete.
I was first introduced to self-care in my sophomore year. During finals week, my mom prepared little treats for me after I finished studying every day that week; Monday was a peppermint bubble bath, Tuesday was my favorite chocolate, Wednesday was candy apple lotion and Thursday was peppermint hot chocolate. Though I do not think these little tokens directly affected my academic performance, they did ease my stress and calm my nerves. I then started enjoying moments of relaxation during the day, such as painting my nails, dancing to my favorite song, searching for silly videos of llamas and reading for pleasure. Although these were small actions, they allowed me to feel calm.
After that year, I became more attuned to my mental health, and now one of my favorite ways to practice self-care is to either go on a run or play lacrosse. Both activities have not only proven to reduce stress, but they also increase body positivity. Running is something that I have always loved, especially when I am not in a good mood or have had a rough day. The feeling of my feet hitting the pavement and the air circulating through my lungs is unlike anything else. While running, I feel stronger and more in control, which also helps relieve my stress. Running makes me feel in control because I am able to control how far I run and how hard I push myself.
After running, I always feel more relaxed and better equipped to take on any challenges that may come my way. I’ve found that these tactics work to improve my own mental health and are my personal forms of self-care, but they may not work for everybody. It is important that you find what works for you so that you know how to take care of yourself when life does not go according to plan.
Being mindful of my wellness has had a significant impact on my day- to-day life. When I prioritize my mental health, I find that I am more focused during school and when completing tasks. I have also found that I am able to enjoy spending time with my friends and family more because I am not as stressed about school or extracurriculars. Also, I am not as moody throughout the day and am able to sleep better at night.
Though watching silly llama videos may not be your de-stresser of choice, finding a way to implement self-care into your life is important and can benefit you greatly.