November is the busiest time of the year, especially for students. Most of you would agree that there are many homework and chores we have to work on during this month.
When working on school projects or daily routine, it is hard to find time for yourself. It is important, however, to have breaks in between and use that time for self-care.
So, what is a self-care, and how people can benefit from it? Some people may mistake self-care with self-improvement; however, these terms are not the same. Self-improvement means working on ourselves in order to improve ourselves, our habits, physical appearance, or mental health, etc.
Self-care is a different term. It is a special time when you can allow yourself to relax, be stress-free, and have a nurturing experience of life. It is important to have self-care time in your life because it helps to increase the level of energy, mood, and decrease the level of stress and anxiety. Self-care helps to avoid “burn-out” moments.
Some may think that drinking, eating or surfing social media can be a part of self-care, however, that’s a mistake. These tasks may help you for a short period of time, but it’s not beneficial for your mental health.
Different people may prefer different self-care routines. Some people choose to be more active during the self-care time, others prefer a relaxed mode of self-care. But the main goal of a self-care is to feel good.
It is important to understand that self-care is not just a separate activity, but it should be a part of your life, your daily routine. Also, self-care does not have to be a long process, you can use 10 or 15 minutes in a day for your self-care.
There are three areas of self-care, according to healthline.com, such as body care, inner self-care, and care for your community.
Body self-care includes nutrition, exercise, and sleep routine.
It is well-known that our nutrition is a major part of our well-being. It’s important to eat healthy in order to be active and feel good. It can be hard sometimes to avoid delicious French fries, burger and coke; however, we all know that this kind of food is not very healthy, and you will not get important minerals and vitamins from it. Thus, it’s important to eat food which can help you to get more energy and stay healthy. According to healthline.com, a whole-foods-based diet with supplemental fish and quality fats and nuts and whole grains has been shown in randomized controlled trials to have an impact on multiple conditions, from mental health to physical health. If it’s hard for you to eat healthy meals every day, you can try including one fruit or vegetable in your diet and eat it at least once a day. Also, drinking water can help you to stay hydrated and healthy throughout the day. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding a slice of lemon, orange, cucumber, berries, or mint.
Exercise is another part of self-care which can help you to feel good physically and mentally. It does not have to be something complicated, especially if you haven’t exercised in the past. It is important, however, to be active in your life in order to stay healthy. Think of small changes: go for a walk around the park, start doing a short morning exercise, stretch and complete a few lunges or squats during your school/work break. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car a little bit farther and enjoy a small walk from a parking lot to the store/classroom/work. Remember, being active is a good and simple way of your self-care routine.
Many of us know how crucial it is to have good quality sleep, but not many of us have a proper amount of sleep time. In order to have a high-quality sleep, try to avoid bright lights, stop looking at your phone/laptop, and don’t drink too much before bed.
Creating comfort can also help you to have a high-quality sleep. Finding good pillows and comforting bedding will enhance deep sleep. It is scientifically proven that good quality sleep improves the immune system and decreases the inflammation in your body which decreases the chance of getting mental and physical illness. Thus, it’s beneficial to sleep in order to stay healthy.
When thinking about inner self-care, it’s important to focus on our emotions, feelings and thoughts.
For some, going to a therapist can help to explore their feelings, emotions, and thoughts. It’s totally okay to ask for help from the counselor because sometimes it can be hard to navigate it all by yourself. If you feel overwhelmed at school or work and want to share your thoughts with someone, but you don’t feel like sharing it with your friends and family, you can schedule an appointment with a professional counselor or therapist. In case you didn’t know, UND has its own Counseling Center which provides services for students. Thus, don’t be afraid and schedule an appointment.
If you want to learn how to manage your worries, stress, or anxiety, stress management can be beneficial for you. You can learn some stress-management tools which will help you to manage your emotional reactions, disturbing thoughts, and it will help you to cope with stress. You can find some mindfulness classes online or mindfulness apps that will teach you how to be present and explore your emotions and feelings. For example, the Welltrack app is a good mindfulness source which can help you to process your thoughts and feelings. It has many useful tools such as meditations, thought diaries, mood checks and many useful self-care videos.
You can also use mind-body approaches like yoga and tai chi in order to learn how to control your mind and body, how to stay positive, relaxed and healthy. There are many sources on the internet where you can find a variety of yoga and tai chi classes. You can search YouTube, Prime Video, or google search. There you will find different kinds of videos. Personally, I enjoy practicing yoga. It helps me to stay healthy and positive. I am using YouTube and prime video. On YouTube, my favorite yoga practice is “Yoga with Adriene.” On Prime Video, I like yoga by Julia Marie. You can also find the apps on your phone that will help you to find a mind-body approach that can be helpful for you.
Humans are communal, and for this reason, it is important for us to nurture family, friendships, and people who we care about. It is essential for our self-care routine. Spending quality time with people we love and enjoying their company can help us to feel happy and relaxed.
Being involved in organizations and clubs you like can also bring you happiness, harmony and peace. Thus, if you haven’t joined any organization or club, it is time to think about it.
As you can see, self-care is a really important part of our lives. It helps to decrease stress, increase mood and energy, and improve mental and physical health. I hope these tips will be helpful for you. Take care of yourself!
Olga Kopp is a Dakota Student Art and Community Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]