Self-care has been a popular topic in media for quite a few years now, but what is it? You might associate it with face masks and bubble baths, but it doesn’t have to be. In reality, self-care is just the act of caring for yourself. So things like getting enough sleep, eating nutritional food, setting boundaries, hanging out with friends and practicing mindfulness are all apart of self-care. It doesn’t have to be this extravagant experience, at least not always. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t do the face masks and bubbles baths. If that helps you relax, then go for it!
What I’m trying to get at, however, is that many people struggle to even partake in basic self-care. This is most likely from a combination of poor mental health and society not prioritizing overall health, so many of us aren’t given the skills to properly take care of ourselves. This all especially applies to college students like ourselves. I know many of my peers struggle with maintaining a consistent sleep schedule; I know some that sleep about two or three hours a night if they’re lucky. This isn’t even because they are partying, it’s usually because of a mixture of heavy course load and cramming in work hours when they can. Don’t even get me started on the skipping of meals, I mean I’m even guilty of this.
The sad thing is this is classified as normal college student behavior. Why is that? Why does self-care seem so inaccessible to us?
Grind culture is a huge part of this. The idea that the only way to truly be successful is to constantly be working is prevalent in our society. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I can sleep when I’m dead.” While it’s a funny phrase, it’s also a pretty good description of the mindset and culture that is accepted as the status quo on a college campus.
Strangely enough, the romanticization of self-care is also hugely prevalent in our society, though again it’s romanticized as a luxury “item.” Self-care is almost treated as the treat you get for pushing yourself to your limits, even though self-care should be a daily occurrence— not a thing that only happens every few weeks or even months.
Now I’m not trying to shame those of us who have participated in this behavior, just the opposite in fact. I mean, I’ve definitely fallen prey to this thinking. It’s hard not to when it’s so normalized in academia. No, what I’m trying to do is call attention to the fact of how insidious this thinking is and how damaging to your health it is. Take the time to eat, to sleep and occasionally do something like a face mask if you can, because self-care shouldn’t be a luxury.
Killeen Reidy is a junior English major. They can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.