By R.A Brock
Staff Writer/ Copy Editor
On Valentine’s Day, many of us think about flowers, candy and stuffed animals. We think about the people we love most and our significant others. We put so much time into loving other people that sometimes we forget the most important person in our lives, ourselves.
It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Between endless coursework, working jobs and interacting with other people, somewhere along the way we forget to practice “responsible” me time.
I am talking about self-care. Around the university, many hear this term a lot but don’t actually know what self-care entails. There are many ways to practice self-care and reap the benefits.
Self-care is the act of taking an active role in protecting and preserving one’s well-being and happiness, especially in times of stress. Without self-care, it is easy to become overburdened by stress, anxiety and sadness; this can lead to burnout. Not practicing self-care can also contribute to worsening symptoms of pre-existing mental health issues.
How can we love and interact with others without first loving ourselves and interacting with what is going on inside our minds and bodies?
Some ways we can practice self-care include getting adequate sleep. While this can be hard as a student or professional, it is so important to get restful sleep. Stress can cause our sleep to not be restful. Too much sleep can leave us feeling like we never slept at all. It is important to find a balance in our sleep cycles.
Another way to practice self-care is by making sure our hygiene is in check. By keeping ourselves clean we feel better and are more confident in our appearances. A hot shower or bath can be so relaxing after a stressful day. By maintaining hygiene, we are less susceptible to getting sick during this season.
Exercise and better nutrition also contribute to having more energy to get us through the day. Sometimes when we are busy and on the go, it’s tempting to put trash in our bodies like fast food and empty calories. It is important to make sure we are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and enough protein, especially in the morning.
Sound body, sound mind. Besides the physical portions of self-care, it is important to take care of our minds too. Meditation, for as little as five minutes, can be beneficial in relieving stress caused by our day-to-day activity. Sometimes we need to slow down or step away from something for a little bit to maintain productivity.
Most important of all is taking the time and measures to promote these methods of self-care. We wonder when we will actually have time to do all of this during such a busy day, we need to make time for it, make it a routine. We work hard and deserve some time to maintain the machine that is our body.
So this Valentine’s Day and beyond, whether or not we have someone special in our lives, it’s time to be better to ourselves and take our time for once, loving ourselves.