BY KAYLYN HASLUND
For the UAS Whalesong
People often tell you that you should wait to enjoy something or that you should work hard before you let yourself just boondoggle – that you have to gain the right to something or earn it. But what they most often forget is that one’s mental health should come before anything else. If you’re not doing okay, then everything else in your life might suffer because of it. Instead, you should be enjoying life, (while being safe, admittedly) but not forgetting that you have wants and needs beyond education. You have to love yourself in equal turn.
The first thing you need to think of is dressing a certain way because you want to, without insulting or hurting anyone. If you want to wear that dress or that shirt, but don’t have a real reason to, do it because you want to wear it. No one or anything should stop you from dressing how you’d like to. You may think that one day you’ll wear that special outfit you bought, for a special day, but instead why not make an ordinary day better because you decided to wear that outfit? A confidence boost because you feel good in those new jeans never hurts. This goes hand in hand with seeing something in the store and thinking you’d like to buy it, but never see yourself wearing it. If it won’t break your bank or budget, why not treat yourself to a nice shirt that makes you feel extra great?
The second thing is eating food you want to eat, but no overdoing it by gorging yourself or spending too much at once. Do you want that fancy coffee, but don’t really see any reason to buy it? Well, why not? Get an extra pump of strawberry and some whip cream. If it’s not an allergy or against a strict diet, have some food that you don’t get that often. Go out to McDonalds because you want to have some. Have some dish because it’s important to you and reminds you of good times. Once again, if it won’t break your budget, have a special meal. Is there a food or treat you’ve been saving? Maybe have it sooner rather than later, it can make a world of difference for how you may feel. The longer you wait the more the item will seem special and you’ll never have a reason to eat it. You’ll have built it up in your head to an unrealistic event. And eventually it’ll just be sitting in your cabinets because the right time never came.
The third thing is personal health care. If you want to take a nap, take one, but set an alarm so that way, you get up and finish anything you need to. Sometimes you need to stop and recharge. Take a nice relaxing bath with a Lush bath bomb or even just take an extra-long shower to melt away your stress. If you’re not pushing off other important events in favor of these, then it’s okay to take some time for yourself, even with other things happening in your life, you have to remember that your wellbeing should always come first. Taking the time to take care of yourself won’t hurt, because you matter and deserve to feel good. Get a nice lotion to keep your skin moisturized. Cut your nails. Anything that helps relieve some outside stressors, whether it is just getting some extra sleep or a washing your hair.
The fourth thing is making time to socialize. It’s good to spend time with other people, who also need to remember to care for themselves. You can get together and watch a movie and unwind, order a pizza, talk about anything. The longer you spend putting off interactions with others, the less you’ll be invited. It’s okay to take time and see your friends, because they probably also need to be told these things from time to time. They probably even would love to take time and spend some with others as well, because being around other people is another way of taking care of yourself in a more conventional way. Go out with them, catch a meal you can split to save some cash, and remember that they care about you. Sometimes the best way to deal with things is to be around others who are also learning how to deal.
Sometimes we forget that we are just people and that it’s okay to take a break or treat ourselves. Yes, you should get work done and focus on important things in your life, but you can’t spend your entire life doing that or you’ll run ragged. So take some time or do something for yourself that only you can do.