LTE: Self-care isn’t pretty

Carson Sturgis

Self-care. The word is tossed around often, yet many people don’t have a concrete understanding of it. If someone tells you to take care of yourself, does that mean you should drop out of school, disconnect your phone, kiss your parents goodbye and join a cult? I mean, if that’s what you think you need, that’s fine. Self-care can be simpler, though.

For most people, self-care can be somewhat mundane. It’s not always a candle-lit bubble bath or a walk in the park. Most young adults don’t even have a bathtub big enough to sit in. The meaning of self-care is self-explanatory; fully and deeply taking care of yourself. Sometimes we don’t want to take care of ourselves. We push off picking up our prescription from Walgreens because the traffic is always bad. We don’t buy produce at the store because it always rots before we get a chance to eat it. We say “yes” to going out even when we really aren’t feeling it. You’ve done something like this within the past week, right? It’s easy to have and listen to these intuitions, but in following them, we neglect ourselves.

Self-care is wrapping your soul up in a cocoon and protecting it by any means necessary. The easiest way to begin protecting your soul is to find out what you like. What drives you? What calms you? Do you have an answer? If not, I’ll wait. No pressure. Once you know what’s important to you, the next step is easy: do it.

If you’re a bookworm, bring a book to campus and sit in the sunshine during your lunch break and start reading. If you’re an animal lover, hit up your local animal shelter and start volunteering. Carving time out for your personal joys is essential in caring for yourself.

After you’ve done what is best for you, now comes the hard part: saying no to the things you don’t want to do. If you’re not as much of a party animal as you wish you were, that’s perfectly fine. Maybe your friends will be disappointed in you not showing up to the pregame, but you’re protecting yourself from something that will not bring you joy. Life is too short — why should we do things we don’t want to do?

Self-care is not glamorous. It’s kinda boring. It’s taking your meds, having quiet time, learning, growing, changing. Growing pains will ensue, but you will soon find yourself living an authentic life for yourself and yourself only. At the end of the day, you’re all you have.

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