There is always a big push to be nice to others. We’re encouraged to check up on our loved ones, give back whenever possible, and lend a listening ear to anyone who needs it. But, what about being nice to ourselves?
As young adults dealing with rigorous academic schedules, a particularly divisive social and political climate, and whatever else life throws our way, we often spend so much time taking care of other people that we forget to take care of ourselves.
The truth is, sometimes we need to be selfish. Sometimes we need a few minutes to focus on nothing but ourselves and how we feel. But, that can be difficult.
“Treating yourself” is more than using a face mask once a month. It is not one-size-fits-all, and learning what works for you may take some time. It is a process, but it is one that is absolutely essential in maintaining a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.
So, here’s my list of 15 simple, inexpensive, and non time-consuming self-care acts to get you started.
1. Take a bath
2. Go for a run
3. Do something you love
4. Make your bed
You’re already stressed. We all are. Clutter can make that worse. Taking a few extra minutes in the morning to make your bed will make all the difference when you return from a long day of classes to a neat, homey room instead of a messy one.
5. List three things you’re grateful for
We often get so caught up in what’s going wrong that we forget what is going right. Taking a minute to remind yourself what you have going for you is a quick way to ease anxiety at least for the moment.
6. List three things you like about yourself
7. Say no to something you don’t want to do
It seems simple: if you don’t want to do something, don’t. In practice, however, many of us have difficulty saying no for fear of disappointing our friends and family. We feel like being tired or needing rest or simply just not wanting to is not a good enough reason, but it is. Taking care of yourself is the best reason there is. So, next time the opportunity presents itself, say no. You’ll feel relieved, and good friends and family will understand.
8. Have a dance party
9. Drink a cup of water
Aside from the discomfort that comes with being thirsty, dehydration can cause more serious effects like fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Since most of us do not drink nearly enough water, remembering to keep yourself hydrated could be the pick-me-up you need to turn your day around.
10. Treat yourself to your favorite guilty pleasure food
11. Plan a night out with your friends
We’re in college. Pulling the occasional all-nighter and sacrificing a night out because of how much work you have due the next day is inevitable. But, every once in a while, it is important to put down the books and just let loose. Go see a movie, go to dinner, or paint a picture. Grades are important but so is your mental health.
13. Take a nap
14. Do something that scares you
15. See a therapist
There is still an unfortunate stigma surrounding therapy and mental health. None of us want to be labeled as crazy or seem too weak to handle our own issues. But, the truth is, even the strongest people need help sometimes, and even the people who love you most don’t always know how to. Why not see someone whose only job is to listen to you and whose top priority is to make sure that you’re okay? With free counseling provided by our university, and it being conveniently located right on campus, there is really no reason not to.