How to Maintain Your Self-Care
I think I've learnt the most about myself in the last year and as much as that was down to my academic life, it was more due to my pursuit for trying to understand myself better. The most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself, because you spend the most time with yourself. And it is indispensable to dedicate time to yourself—looking after yourself, understanding who you are and looking towards to the future by being the best version of yourself. Self-care goes beyond the conventional bubble baths and face masks—it’s a deep emotional, mental and for some, spiritual journey to undertake and is necessary for everyone. I'm grateful for where I am today and whilst there's still a way to go, I'm happy.
I'm going to share 6 steps that I've learnt in the past year that have helped me take better care of myself.
Sleep is perhaps the most overlooked form of self-care and sleep deprivation is so dangerous. I personally haven’t slept properly since Christmas due to my exams and my revision and homework. Sleep is nothing short of a gift. It’s a time to consolidate. To unwind. To rest. To rejuvenate. To relax and recharge hard for the next day. When it’s time to sleep, make sure you sleep.
I wholeheartedly believe that a smile is the best gift you can give another person - and it’s free. A smile is a way of brightening another’s day. A way to acknowledge someone and remind them that they matter. Science has shown us that through smiling, our brains release neuropeptides which reduce stress. The release of endorphins and serotonin will improve your mood. A smile could be the difference between a good or a bad day for someone, and by reminding someone else that they matter, you not only make them feel good, but you also feel good within yourself. A smile makes everything a little bit better.
Whether it’s running, yoga or any form of team sport, you need to exercise. It’s important to move your body, release stress, and feel better. Sometimes, exercise doesn’t even need to be the conventional form—any form of movement can relieve any tension you feel. Sometimes, all I need are my headphones and some headphones and dancing around the house or going for a walk in the local area helps me feel free. Find what works for you.
This is the act of blocking out the outside world and focusing on what’s going on inside. I call this my zen time. Often, I will sit, close my eyes and breathe. I try to figure out what’s going on upstairs. Consider it a check-up.
Often, especially towards the end of the school year and at the start of summer, my head often feels really foggy and cloudy, so journaling has formed a crucial part of my daily routine as it helps me unpack my feelings and thoughts and feel better about myself.
I'm starting university in 4 months' time and after that, it just becomes life. As exciting as that is, it’s scary because I'll miss my family a lot. My biggest worry is that as we grow up, we’re going to drift apart and so I not only need to make the most of all the time I have now but treasure every moment to come. My family are my best friends, and they have and always will be there for me. Make the most of family time.
As you progress through your summer break and into your future, nothing is guaranteed. The only thing that you can count on is that you’ll be there and you should take care of the one confirmed element. Dedicate time to yourself, your successes and achievements and work towards building yourself a better life.