Self-care. It seems to have transformed into quite the buzzword these days. We scream it at each other, at every one we know. Well, at least, I find myself doing just that. A little backstory- I have never been the type of person who enjoys physical activity or enacting self-control over any food particle within a 10 foot range. I don’t take baths nor do I explode shimmering little *bombs* in them. Until recently I was never intrigued with the idea of self-reflection or journaling, the concept of introspection having always been something foreign and out of my reach, left only to the Thoreau’s and Whitman’s of the world (you know- the artsy-hipsters with the enigmatic quotes and very cool, very abstract Instagrams). That elusive *Me-time* to which every magazine article and blog post intended for la-ladies demanded we make room for? Well, being a fairly lazy human, I felt like most time not spent in a classroom or at work, was in fact Me-time.
Yet, in the past year I began to lose much of that precious time and mental space.
Having taken on a greater course load in order to graduate on time, I was faced with more work that I *surprise* actually cared about, constantly finding myself struggling to keep up. I was unprepared for the toll my person, my body, my soul and everything in between, was about to take when overwhelmed with readings, papers, weekly meetings, mandatory work hours,and projects. An incredibly sensitive being such as myself, one who feels all the feels, a chronic list maker, neurotic-thoughts-before-bed-er (?), and a gal that truly appreciates and needs a solid seven hours of shuteye every night, I quickly began to crumble like a Nature Valley granola bar (the crumbliest thing I know). Cue the snot-ridden sobbing, moments/hours spent self-wallowing “How the fuck am I going to function outside of college, if I can barely handle this?” kind of times. Already prone to being sick and nasty, my headaches and bodily issues only became worse. I got to the point where Me-time was non-existent, dark and jumbled thoughts became permanent mental fixtures, and every week felt like a dreadfully out of shape marathon sprint till the weekend, where I’d take my wheezes of reasonably fresh air, a few power shots of Gatorade to the face, and begin all over again. How I was living was not unusual, but in fact the norm amongst my peers. I can rant, I mean seriously rant, about the infinite issues and pressures that plague many students in our society, creating a multitude of very serious issues with only modest resources and efforts to match (stress, anxiety, depression, etc). This shit is hard, folks.
I have a tendency to invalidate my personal experiences because I find them minor in comparison to the incredibly serious and pertinent mental and physical health issues faced by many of my peers today. Be it as it may, it is truly important to share these stories, no matter how important or unimportant we may perceive them to be. Which is why I decided to share my own, in hopes that you will do the same, whether it be with a trusted friend, your secret Tumblr, a counselor, or a furry resident of Cat’s Cradle. Although I have focused on a more mental aspect of self-care, I have found it to be a truly ambiguous topic, which makes complete sense considering SELF-care implies it is an extremely subjective matter, people!!! It’s not solely segmenting a little time for yourself, but showing yourself a little lovin’ in various ways. Taking a moment to jot down the reasons why you, fine gentlehuman, are worthy and deserving of all the good things in life (because you most definitely are), and realizing that this self-care is a mind-body-soul kinda deal. Every one’s processes and celebrations looks different. Nevertheless, all care involves maintenance. Care involves nourishment- whether that’s a mental pep talk (I always attempt to embody Jimmy Neutron in these moments), a trip to your local grocery store for some quality snackage (a personal favorite), or fiercely journaling whatever is in that big beautiful noggin of yours. It’s also, and most importantly, knowing when you need to reach out.
Amongst this dive into the glorious and ever-important world and discourse surrounding self-care, my editor, eternallyfeminist, came up with the idea of reaching out to feminist mentors and asking their thoughts on the topic. How do these fabulous humans maintain their best selves? What is the secret to keeping some of the freshest feminist minds on campus? When the patriarchy gets you down- what raises you up to keep on kickin’ it like you do? I’m pretty jazzed about asking some of our Women and Gender Studies professors, along with a few guest stars (i.e. Grandma) these questions, as they are important to our well beings as feminists and as functional humans. If you have questions regarding self-care you want to ask, please holler and leave a comment below. Share your story. Raise a little consciousness. Go get yourself a snack, and in the spirit of Donna and Tom, treat yo self. Please.
~Part Two Coming Soon~