Self-care is important. It’s often one of the first things I remind friends to attend to when they talk about feeling distressed and something that (in theory) should never be neglected.
In reality, however, I’m really bad at taking care of myself.
With midterms coming to a close, grad school applications beginning, and several projects on the horizon, self-care has not been at the top of my priorities list. When I say “self-care,” I don’t mean “pampering,” I mean sleeping, showering, eating properly, exercising, and performing the everyday tasks necessary to maintaining oneself. Over the past few weeks, I’ve neglected all of those things (yes, I even went too long without a shower on a couple of occasions).
It’s ironic, considering I preach the importance of self-care on the regular, but it’s also a huge red flag; I’m doing too much stuff. I don’t say that in a bragging manner – some people really glorify the stressed-out-overachieving-college-student narrative – but a line is crossed when you can no longer attend to basic human needs. It’s time to put on the breaks and slow down.
Still, I find myself wanting to take on more and more stuff. Opportunities keep coming my way and it’s easy to convince myself that I can do everything.
But I’m not Superman (unfortunately).
However, there is one more thing I can handle: making time for myself. My therapist and I talked about the importance of this today and how without meeting my basic needs (think Maslow’s Hierarchy), I won’t be able to excel in other areas. Prior to talking about this in therapy, I realized that I hadn’t eaten breakfast – or at least a substantial breakfast – in days. I took initiative in carving out time to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and some tea before class this morning.
After promising my therapist I’d stop by the grocery store on my way home, I picked up some milk, produce, and a few other items to replenish the kitchen. I now plan to shower after I publish this post and then go to bed…so I can wake up in about 6 hours.