Self-Care Shouldn’t be Seen as a Sacrifice

As we’ve just entered 2017, you might have a few New Year’s Resolutions.

For instance, some people may want to lose weight, focus on getting a promotion, or get Straight A’s in the upcoming semester.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, I think that it’s important to ask why you want to set these particular goals for yourself. Do you want to lose weight to look better or do you want to lose weight to truly feel better? Do you want a promotion to make more money and be more highly regarded in your office or do you truly feel like you need to be fulfilled with more challenging work? Do you want Straight A’s because you’d like to see a 4.0 on your transcripts, or do you want to truly understand and master the material given to you in order to have a better grasp on what you study?

If you really feel like any of your resolutions could truly help you become a better you, then kudos to you.

I only have one New Year’s Resolution, and that is to treat myself better than I have in the past. The progressive term for this is “self-care.”

While I’m sure you’ve heard the term, you may want to know what self-care is, exactly. 

Self-care can include almost anything that makes you feel good. For me, those things include hanging out with my grandma, dressing well, singing, exercising, burning candles, sleeping, eating ice cream, and not wearing a bra.

It seems weird that I’m making these things a goal, right? Shouldn’t goals be things with some definitive end point or plan?

For me, the answer is no.

I spent way too much time last year comparing myself to my peers, trying to “be the best,” and using every waking moment either to do schoolwork or something related to an extracurricular activity. By the end of the semester, it occurred to me that I’d isolated myself from almost all of my friends, was gaining and losing weight uncontrollably, and couldn’t sleep from all of the anxiety I had about my future. Fortunately, I listened to my body at the right time and was able to recover rather quickly from some of the self-destructive behavior I’d been engaging in.

The things I went through taught me that I have to not only take the time to do things I enjoy, but see them as a priority. If I have to put “self-care” on my to-do lists to make myself realize how imperative it is, then so be it.

The beauty of this is that by simply practicing self-care, you really will be the best version of yourself! When you have a full nights sleep, you can more easily retain information for the next day. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive feelings. When you spend quality time with your family and friends, you will develop those quality relationships that will provide a support system whenever you need it.

I’m not telling you to abandon all of your professional or academic goals in order to spend every day on vacation, but I am telling you to make sure that you’re rewarding yourself for all the hard work that you do. This may seem difficult, especially if you are a college student, but I promise once you see the difference it can make, it’ll be worth it.

It’s all about balance.




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