Poyer: Let’s talk self-care

Columnist Sarah Poyer discusses the importance of self-care.

Sarah Poyer

Editor’s Note: This piece is a part of the series “Let’s talk.”

We have heard about self-care a lot in the past few years. Self-care is very important. It is something that we all need to be doing. As college students, I know our schedules are hectic. We have classes, jobs, meetings, clubs, friends, families and other commitments to try and fit in. Now that we are into the sixth week of the semester, hopefully we have gotten into a bit of a routine. You’ll know when you can fit in seeing your friends while also being able to study for your organic chemistry exam. College is about balance; you have to juggle everything to get it to fit. 

Sometimes in our attempt to juggle everything, we forget about ourselves. In reality, we are the most important piece to this juggling puzzle. If you cannot take care of yourself, then the rest of the life you are juggling will slowly collapse. It is inevitable that you cannot pour from an empty cup — you must prioritize yourself. 

Self-care is a way to prioritize yourself. It allows you to take care of yourself, so that you can be the best version of you. I know that every day, the best version of you will not look the same. And I am here to tell you that is okay. There are many different aspects of self-care. The five aspects we are going to focus on are, physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual. These aspects all need to be taken care of so that you can be living your best life. 

First up, let’s talk about physical self-care. This is not just about exercise, although that is an important part of physical self-care. Physical self-care includes your diet, exercise and sleeping habits. I know for myself, my physical self-care routine depends on the week I am having, but I have standards I try and hold myself to. Sleeping at least seven hours a night is important to me, so I make sure that I have a bedtime set for myself. Sometimes I have to stray from that, such as if I have a really big assignment due that I am a bit behind on, but for the most part, sticking to the routine is important. As far as diet and exercise go, that also fluctuates depending on my week. I would say I practice exercise that I enjoy: yoga, dance, walking and other activities that make me feel good. Eating-wise, I meal prep and practice intuitive eating. Physical self-care is just one of the many important aspects to taking care of yourself. 

Social self-care is important. Humans are social creatures and the past couple of years have been extremely difficult for us. Realizing that social self-care might be lacking right now is totally okay. Nonetheless, we should still be interacting with our friends and family and working on our relationships. For myself, I try to schedule a little date with my friends each week. While that might mean I don’t get to see all of my friends every week, it does mean I get to spend some quality time with a friend every single week. I also try to text my friends and check in with them. We have busy and hectic schedules, but even a little “hey, how are you?” text can mean a lot. 

Spiritual self-care is something that I honestly have been struggling with. Spiritual self-care is including religion or some sort of spirituality into your life somehow. Again, this is going to look different for everyone. For myself, spiritual self-care has been an evolving technique as I have been learning about myself. I have taken up meditation, yoga, journaling and reading spiritual books. Whatever your spirituality needs, do it. Now this does not have to be religious; in fact, yoga and meditation for me are not religious in the slightest. Yet they are times where I sit with myself and get to know my own spirit a bit better. 

Emotional self-care is an important part of life. Being able to sit with your emotions and check them is honestly a skill many of us need to work on. Coping with those emotions that are difficult such as anger and anxiety is really important. For me, emotional self-care requires some help from the outside. Going to therapy to work on coping mechanisms for my anxiety is something I have recently started to do. It has been very helpful. Seeking help for one’s mental health can be a scary step, but I recommend it. Your therapist will be a huge asset to your life and help you get to a better you. 

Mental self-care is also a very important piece to this puzzle. Staying mentally healthy is really the goal of this piece. Doing things that help to keep your mind going is important, such as doing puzzles, reading books, watching movies or anything else that stimulates your brain. For myself, I enjoy puzzles and books to help me stay mentally healthy. I also have been working on being nicer to myself. What you say to yourself really matters. Being kind to yourself helps you think nicer things later on. Mental self-care may be a bit different for us all, and that is totally okay. 

Self-care is different for everyone. We all have different needs to attend to. But what is really important is the fact that we all practice self-care. Take care of yourself. You are an important piece to this puzzle that is our crazy world. The world needs you, so don’t burn yourself out or stifle your chance to shine.