Control What You Can: Self-Care

Looking out for #1: Tips on Self-Care

UACCM garden. Photo courtesy by Shannon Autrey.

COVID-19 has put a damper on some plans, no? And we’ve constantly been reminded to
practice social distancing and to take care of ourselves. But how do we do that when the world seems to be crumbling? Let’s be real, it’s certainly not easy. 

What is self-care, exactly? Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. At this point, I think we are all going to be doing well to just maintain and preserve, don’t you? And that’s ok! We’ve all heard the saying about placing the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others on an airplane. Well, this is the same concept for everyday life, and in times of heightened stress. We all have responsibilities and people that depend on us. Remember that self-care is about you, do not compare your self-care routine to that of others, you must meet yourself where you’re at and decide what is going to benefit you.

Get Physical. Make it a point to engage regularly in a physical activity that you enjoy such as running, swimming, yoga. This needs to be something that clearly brings some level of happiness, not something that makes you miserable. Begin slow if you do not already participate in physical activity, set goals for yourself and increase the time/intensity at your discretion. 

Eat nutritious foods. It’s easy to get carried away with eating our feelings during times of stress. Treating yourself here and there is acceptable. Focusing on getting the appropriate nutrients is a huge part of self-care. Simple recommendations for improving your food choices are to meal plan or prep what you will eat, portion out your snacks or treats so that you can enjoy these in moderation, focus on getting in leafy greens, vegetables, fruits and healthy grains. Water is also an excellent addition and is something our bodies thrive on. 

Boundaries. As much as we’d like to, we can’t fix or help everyone during this time. Sometimes this can cause us to feel helpless. I remind you again, that we cannot pour from an empty cup. Yes, another great analogy. But it is so true. Say no to those who are using you as a crutch, or those who do not have the same values as you. Anyone that is interfering with your success and happiness does not make your list of priorities right now.

Again, there is no perfect level of self-care, and honestly, if you’re like me, you’re just taking it day by day. But I do know that by practicing my routine of self-care, I am able to feel capable and confident in tackling my daily stressors during this time. I hope everyone who is reading this can implement a small portion to help you take care of number one.

The Student Development Page in Blackboard has more information on Self-Care. If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone, please reach out to us at Student Development.

Abby Jones, LAC, Student Development Counselor

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