In a world where people are being discriminated against for simply existing, civil rights are reverting back to the old days, and our timelines and feeds are cluttered with negativity, it can be hard to remember to mentally take care of yourself.  And this means more than just de-activating Facebook and telling yourself to stay positive; this needs an active approach with an active game plan.

I can’t even tell you the first time I heard the term “self-care.”  What I can tell you is that it was definitely after I started college, and the moment I learned what it was and how to tailor it to myself, I was sad I hadn’t learned about self-care sooner, especially during high school, which is when I needed it the most.  We operate in a society where being mentally exhausted all the time is seen as a medal of honor.  The more stress you can endure and how many times you can make it to the other side without breaking down is applauded.  For some reason, testing our mental strength to its bringing point is seen as a test of how dedicated we are.  I’m here to tell you that that’s bull-crap.

Self-care is basically those activities and times you set aside for yourself that allow you to recharge, regenerate, and keep your mental health in check.  What constitutes as self-care is going to differ for each and every person, but the most important thing is that each and every person have a list of self-care practices.  While my list of self-care practices is tailored to myself, I was able to generalize it in a way that can apply to (almost) everyone!  Listed below are my Top 5 Self-Care Practices That Keep Me Sane.

  1. I feed my soul.  By this, I mean that I consume a lot of what I know can replenish my soul.  This includes books in my favorite genres, content from my favorite creators, music that makes me feel good, art of some sort, etc.  There’s no standard of morality or meter of quality when it comes to feeding your soul.  If it makes you happy and keeps you relaxed, gobble it up!
  2. I switch up my surroundings.  I start to know I need to check in with myself when I start getting tired of my room and feeling as if it’s a cage.  This is easier to do in the warmer months, but I try to combat this by going outside and just existing outside of a building and with nature before it gets to that point.  There were multiple times during the beginning of this semester where I would be passing a cool spot on campus that I hadn’t noticed before, and I would just sit.  Luckily for me, I usually always have at least one book on me that I can read, and if I don’t, then I can easily pull out my phone.  If I’m not reading outside, I’m doing work or just walking around.  This semester has been full of me trying to go off campus a lot just to get off campus because my schedule has me feeling trapped.  Even though going off campus might make my schedule tighter or there could be other, more “productive” things to be doing, I never regret the choice because I come back feeling refreshed and ready to conquer my to-do list.
  3. Get ahead and stay ahead while motivated.  I try to be ahead in my work because I know that at some point, I’m going to want to pause and just stop working.  This technique is helpful because, if I’m already ahead, I don’t have to worry about falling behind when I need a mental break!
  4. Be around your favorite people.  There’s a misconception that self-care has to be a solitary activity.  Taking care of yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being by yourself.  Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed, we begin to isolate ourselves from the people who make us laugh and feel happy.  There are moments where you need to just chill with your favorite people and let them remind you what it feels like to laugh at a joke you didn’t hear through a computer screen or read in a Tweet.
  5. Indulge in your favorite activities.  For me, that’s reading and editing pictures to go on Instagram as well as planning my feed or watching tons of YouTube.  For others, that means sketching or making pottery.  Whatever it is for you, make sure that you’re indulging in it once in a while.

What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care?  Drop them down in the comments section below! 

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