Self-Care is one of the newest buzzwords, at least in my field. I often wonder if in other fields, maybe more in the STEM or Business side of things, self-care is something that is encouraged and practiced.
For those of you who are still wondering what self-care is, it is the personal decisions we make for ourselves or maybe our families to remain physically well and mentally sane. Again, while this whole concept of self-care is often encouraged in my field I wonder why I still see many colleagues, classmates, and friends fatigued and tired. To me, self-care is all about our choices and determination to say no (when we can), don’t take work home unless it is part of your work, and really taking time off to do something you enjoy.
Self-care has become a popular thing because we are often overworked and always tired, which may lead to us not being our most effective self. Some human resources departments have found ways to allow people to leave early to get some work out done or go for a walk. Even more so, some have incorporated free yoga classes during lunch hours for employees to take some time off. All cool ideas, and bigger companies have things like play rooms, free massages, and napping pods, but it makes me wonder if all people take advantage of these opportunities and if the answer is no, then why do we complain about feeling tired but not take the necessary time to care for ourselves?
Another way in which people refer to self-care is ‘refueling’. As part of an activity during a conference, we were asked to pair and share what we did to refuel and I thought of several things I do myself. Truly, these past few weeks have been the most stressful of the whole semester due to final exams coming up and certain projects at work that are quickly approaching. I still went to the nail salon and spent a few hours there, I took some time to work on my arts and crafts, I continued to go to work out and practice yoga as I normally do, I hung out with some friends, and finally I literally asked my neighbor to lend me his puppy golden retriever because I really needed some furry hugs.
I have been extremely busy and I can feel the stress on my neck and shoulders. It truly doesn’t feel good and even when I have a thousand things to finish, I need to remember that in order for me to be efficient, productive, and deliver quality work, I have to take a break and do some of the things I mentioned above. What I mentioned though, does not work for everyone.
So, I want for you to reflect on what do you do outside of your roles as a graduate student, perhaps full-time or part-time employee, family member, etc. to refuel and to care for yourself. Think about what used to make you smile when you were a kid and continue to look for those opportunities to really relax, go for a walk, lay on a hammock or by a pool, read a book for leisure, catch up on TV shows, take a spa day, meditate, play sports, or whatever works for you.
Finally, I really would want all of you who are reading this post to consider self-care. Yes, it is a buzzword and something everyone is encouraged to do and perhaps it may seem annoying when people tell you to do so. But if someone is encouraging you (a.k.a. me right now) do it. Take a break, do something you like, and recharge for what’s next.
Mara Schaffler | Educational Administration and Human Resources Development
is a second year in the Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education (SAAHE) program within the College of Education and Human Development.