What Self-Care Means to Me

Let’s be real, we all know that one person who is SUPER into “self-care”—or their version of self-care anyways. Whether it be a gym selfie, a Starbucks run, face masks, or a posted video of their colorful bath bomb, the term “self-care” has been overused and has become synonymous with “treat yourself.” Self-care, at least how the internet portrays it, has become more trendy and cute than actually functional. Now, I’m not saying that any or all of these things are not valid forms of self-care. If it works for the person, more power to them. But as a college student with bills, I don’t have time to constantly use these methods as a form of taking care of myself.

An important thing to remember when taking care of yourself is that what works for others may not work for you. As humans, we all have different needs and we should assess those needs as we see fit. I believe self-reflection and holding ourselves accountable are really important for self-care. Asking yourself things like “What is causing my stress? What do I need from myself or others? How can I do better?” can really help in figuring out what methods of self-care will work best for you. After all, no one knows you better than yourself.

A thing I hear often from people who don’t prioritize self-care is that they don’t have time to take care of themselves. If you are one of those people, I want to say that’s simply not true. Most people who feel this way are natural caregivers and usually put others’ needs before their own. While caring for others is amazing, not putting yourself first can really affect your emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. It’s hard to take care of others if you are not prioritizing yourself. And self-care doesn’t have to take so much of your time. Even if it’s 10 minutes when you get up or 10 minutes before you go to bed, take the time to do something for yourself. Like I said, self-care doesn’t have to cost anything. Things like dancing, singing or connecting with nature are super healing. The great thing about those activities too is that you don’t have to do them alone if you don’t want. Take someone hiking with you. Unplug and allow yourself to be submerged in all your creativity.

Sometimes self-care isn’t glamorous or easy. Even just thinking about taking care of myself is exhausting, but it is super necessary. So go ahead and buy that Venti Frappuccino, but also take other measures of actually taking care of yourself and seeing what you need.

Scarlett Cortez is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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