There's Nothing Selfish About Self-Care | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

There’s Nothing Selfish About Self-Care

Life and Style's Lydia Waller explains why self-care is completely justifiable

We have now made a dent in the new year, work is in full swing, it’s still bloody freezing, life is busy and the prospect of exams are looming. But there are a few handles we can take on these inevitable anxieties. Self-care can be viewed as unnecessary and privileged ‘me time,’ which others who have ‘real worries’ can’t afford to have. Well oddly enough, we all have our issues and stresses to deal with. Whether they be more stressful or trivial than others, it is the epitome of human nature to need to be alone and recuperate.

Self-care is obviously critical for mental-health and forcing yourself into that routine your mind and body really can’t be asked for. But even for the more daily and common pressures of university life, a healthy routine and also, unhealthy slumps in the weekly regime is important to reminding yourself that you are only human. At university there are social, financial and academic pressures that we seem to think define a ‘successful’ university experience, but we must be reminded that there is no such thing. Without just stating the blatantly obvious, none of our experiences and circumstances are going to be the same. Just because you didn’t manage to find your soul-mates in halls doesn’t mean you aren’t going to find best friends later in your first term. Just because you don’t feel like going out every night, doesn’t mean your idea of staying in with a bottle and monopoly isn’t going to be just as fun. We need to stop letting stereotypes define what’s a good time for us and feel apologetic when we don’t feel up to going out. Sometimes we need to just say and be ‘selfish’ to have that time that’s going to make your week easier.

At university there are social, financial and academic pressures that we seem to think define a ‘successful’ university experience

In terms of the more mundane stuff that we can prioritise to care for ourselves, we need to consider sleep, technology detox, regular meals, water, genuine conversation, going home, going outside, meditation and sometimes just sitting and thinking and doing absolutely nothing. University life is tailored so you always have something to think about; when to go to Aldi, whether you have enough money to get a Mother’s Day present, deeper and more emotional things and whether you’re going to pass this module. Which you will. So, sometimes deleting all these concerns from your mind, by just sitting on your bed, phone off, and thinking of nothing, is the peace we need. Then we can get into perspective what needs prioritising, that the stillness of these moments and all the things that continue to exist even when we are passive, will still be there and the world will keep spinning.

It is also more than okay to have a vile day, where you eat four times the amount you should, do none of your work, and totally slump and disconnect from all your responsibilities. It’s exhausting being put together all the time, no one can do it. But it’s also important to use these moments of disconnection to revitalise, to come out the next day feeling recharged.

It’s exhausting being put together all the time, no one can do it. But it’s also important to use these moments of disconnection to revitalise, to come out the next day feeling recharged
Go back to regimented meals, make plans for you work, make sure you get time in with friends to enjoy Uni as well. Routine turns the cogs of the day and disconnection oils them back up. We need the balance of healthy methodical regime but also the elevation from the pressures to be functioning. It’s difficult but by cutting off we can get a perspective on what’s worth worrying about. And you’ll find not a lot of it is. Everyone has to be the fun-sponge once in a while and say no to plans, there’s no reason to feel apologetic because we all have to take a day-off. It’s an unsigned mutual agreement. So, don’t take offence from those need space and don’t want to see you today. But also don’t feel guilty in yourself if you want to be that person. Self-care never needs to be justified.



Published

18th March 2018 at 9:00 am



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