What Even is Self-Care?

Hey everyone!

I hope application season has been treating you well! I remember this time of year my freshman year…applications looming in my mind while midterms started really picking up steam. It’s easy to feel bogged down by all your deadlines so remember to take some time and do some self-care! I want to dedicate this blog post to something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. This semester, I’m in a really cool class about Flourishing and Authentic Excellence, something I never would’ve thought to take had my friend not asked me to join her, and we have talked a lot about the role of self-care in flourishing. I’ve learned that self-care is all about your intentionality.

I used to think that self-care was taking time away from that paper and doing a face mask or going for a run, but a lot of the time I had been doing these things with the intention of making myself feel better. Evidently, these activities have never proven super helpful to me. I would finish my workout or wake up from my nap just as anxious as I was when I decided to “self-care.” I would be so worried about the time I had wasted taking time to self-care. In looking to directly alleviate my anxieties surrounding classes or work or just life in general, I was actually compounding my negative emotions.

The class I’m taking focuses a lot on examining our intentions. In terms of self-care, I had been looking to soothe, to feel better as quickly as possible, and when my workout didn’t make me less stressed, I would blame myself. I’ve learned that there is a much more effective way to self-care: to do so for the health of it. Sometimes, we just need to take a step away from that assignment because it is the healthy choice for us in that moment. If we can recognize that taking a nap instead of working on our paper will not get rid of the paper or any anxiety surrounding it, but that sleep is the healthy choice in that moment, then we can make steps towards flourishing.

This class has challenged my way of thinking a lot. I am certainly guilty of self-care for the purpose of feeling better, rather than for the health of it. I am learning to sit with my emotions, anxieties included, because they’re natural and important. On the flip side, I’m also learning that sometimes working out, taking a nap, or watching a movie with friends can be the healthiest choice for me in that moment, even though it may not immediately alleviate any stress I feel.

Basically, what I’m trying to get at is that I hope you take time to do something for the health of it. The next time you want to self-care, examine your intentionality. Are you doing it to feel better? If yes, then take a step back and try and shift that mentality. You can do the exact same activity but change your intention and reap much greater rewards. All this being said, I’m no expert and I am on this path towards understanding just as much as you are. If you have any comments on any of this, or any tips and tricks that you’ve found helpful for keeping your intentionality in check, please share!

As always, let me know if there’s any questions you have about the transfer process! I’m here to help!

Have a fantastic day today,
Joey Cronin ’20

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