I am back at it again! Self-care. Just as important this time as last. These tips and tricks never grow old. It’s just up to you what you want to make work for you. And with that, here is the second half of the self-care alphabet for you:
With N, I like the self-care technique of trying new things. Newness can be scary and intimidating, but how else will you find what works for you?
For instance, I always told myself that I hated running. Now it’s my favorite way to take care of myself. I didn’t like it at first and felt awkward and uncomfortable doing it, but after some growing pains, I realized it was perfect for me. If you get anything from this article, I hope it inspires you to try something new to take better care of yourself.
Organize is for O. Do it any way you want, but organizing yourself is a great way to make sure that your self-care is firmly part of your schedule. Making time for that in your week alongside all your other commitments is something I have struggled doing. However, it always feels so much better when I do and then I excel at all the other things I am busy with.
For P, I think of being present. Self-care can be something you plan to do but should also be what you try to do in everything. Being present and appreciating each moment for what it is, without getting lost in our future worries, is a good way to not overwhelm yourself.
When I see the letter Q, I think of quotes. I am always a big fan of having inspirational words, quotes, mottos in my life to keep me motivated and to remind me of the important things in life. There are so many out there that you can really use any that work for you.
R is for reading. Many students at Hopkins are overloaded with work and readings for class. Changing that up and reading a book just for pure enjoyment can be a great way to care for yourself and do something you enjoy. Even reading The News-Letter like you are right now is a great way to take time for yourself.
For S, I think of seeking support. Asking for help can be really really tough. People will often do this in all kinds of ways, like making a joke about it, hoping someone will notice. Everyone needs help for something or other at some point in time. There is no shame in that. I went myself for drop in hours on Monday at the Counseling Center and it was great. Know that you must have a spare hour to fill out the initial paperwork and then meet with the counselor but I thought it was worth the wait.
T is talking. My mum always told me that a problem shared is a problem halved and I still believe that to this day. Talking to someone can be an amazing way to take care of yourself. As a member of A Place To Talk, I will of course use this opportunity to promote that as a great resource to students. I wouldn’t commit over eight hours a week to this group if I didn’t believe in the power of talking about your problems and being heard.
Unplug for the letter U is my way of reminding myself that sometimes I just need a break from life, including my phone, laptop and people. Sometimes I just like to put everything on airplane mode and listen to music or take a nap. Sometimes I will leave campus totally and just remove myself from my usual environment as a way to reset and take care of myself.
When I think of V for self-care, I think of validating. This means valuing and support yourself and others, as well as your own and others’ feelings. You can do it enough because all feelings are valid!
For W I think of work-life balance. At Hopkins, this can definitely be a struggle and looks different for everyone. But balance doesn’t just happen. It takes practice. It takes trial and error. It also takes courage to try new things. No one has the perfect work-life balance because there are always some curveballs, but it’s a great goal we can all strive towards.
X is a tricky letter so I picked Xbox as a form of self-care because gaming and taking a break to do the things you enjoy are not a waste of time. Setting aside time to do things that make you happy is so valid and important. I am not a gamer personally but I do know that running is something I do just for me and makes me feel great!
Y is for yoga because I myself have really enjoyed it, but I know it’s not for everyone. Y is just a hard letter so that’s all that I’ve got for now. Feel free to get creative with this letter. Y for me also stands for yellow, since that is my favorite color and also makes me feel positive whenever I have it in my life.
Z is for zero tolerance for the things that stop you from taking care of yourself. Cut that stuff out of your life. You deserve the best because you are the best.
I hope this alphabet has helped you in some way to better take care of yourself. Writing it for me has definitely been nice to take time to reflect on its importance and what role it plays in my life.