Self-Care Guest Blog by Nihal

Hello! My name is Nihal Ahmed, I’m a senior graphic design and illustration student at Xavier University who is on the cusp of graduation. I’ve been the graphic design intern for 1N5 since November of 2020, and it’s been an incredible experience being behind-the-scenes on all of the amazing projects we’ve put out since then. I cannot overstate how ardent I am about design. Art is my true passion in life — I am absolutely thrilled by the arts and immerse myself in them in any and every capacity that I can.

But given how much I identify with this passion, it’s easy to let it consume me. Oftentimes I find myself becoming obsessed with my work and that can easily lead to burnout. Slowly but surely, I’m learning more and more about the importance of self-care. Being at 1N5 has been an instrumental part of that learning. I’ve learned how to step outside of myself and recognize when things aren’t working — and to take a step back to recover from, or prevent, that burnout.

I’m also learning how to better identify myself with experiences and people, being more present and adaptive to the spontaneity of life. Music has been a great outlet for me as well. I’ve always had music as something secondary to my other passions, but I’m leaning on it more and more as a way to express myself in a way that’s not art, not work, and not something that I feel the need to put so much gravity into.

I would implore others to start leaving work at the desk more. Find other avenues of life and experiences to lean on — especially things far removed from your sense of normalcy or things that you’re not good at. It is incredibly cathartic to do something you’re not the best at, because then you can return to what it is you are good at, or what you’re passionate about, and be elated at how easily and naturally it comes to you. And I think the most important takeaway for me in all this is to recognize self-care as a learning process.