Hi, my name is Leah Brown. I’m a health promotion and education intern here at 1N5. I am a 4th year at the University of Cincinnati, and I’ll be graduating at the end of April. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was very young, so I’ve really learned the importance of self-care.
Finishing up college has been stressful and busy. So, I’ve really had to learn to take time to myself. It’s hard to take time and truly relax when you can feel the deadlines looming above your head. When this happens, I try to remind myself that when I take care of myself, I create a more productive me. I’m not going to be as productive and present in my other responsibilities if I’m burnt out.
Self-care is investing in yourself. Self-care is different for everyone, and it may even look different in different points of your life. For someone, self-care may be getting the pizza they’ve been craving when they’ve been on a strict diet. Self-care for another person may be taking time to start writing that novel they’ve been putting off in order to focus on their day job. Self-care for someone else might be getting a babysitter while they take a day to shop and go to the spa.
Self-care for me when I’m overwhelmed is taking my dog, Kai, for a hike. I pop in my headphones, listen to some heavy metal (which isn’t relaxing for everyone!), and taking some time to be alone. With the music blasting in my ears and my focus on the hike, I can truly turn off my brain. I have anxiety so I am exhausted by all the things in my head. For me, the best thing I can do for myself is turn my brain off for a while and enjoy some quality time with my dog and myself.
A few years ago, during a major depressive episode, self-care was what I could handle. I had what many called a “depression room”. My space was a mess and it made me feel like more of a mess as a result. Self-care would be just taking out the dishes in my room. I gave myself “bite-sized” tasks that made me feel better about myself and my surroundings. Sometimes, self-care for me would just be brushing my teeth. That may make me feel good enough to shower. Just little things to get me started and help me work towards feeling better.
Those bite-sized acts of self-care helped me reach where I am today. I cut myself some slack and took time to grow myself. Any kind of effort to take care of yourself is growth, no matter how small the task may feel. When you add all the “small” things together, you create something huge for yourself.
Through everything, you’re guaranteed to have yourself through anything. You have to make yourself a priority, focus on your own personal growth and happiness. Self-care is nothing to feel bad about. You’ll notice when you prioritize yourself more, you have more to give in other parts of your life.