Mindful Journeys: Step aside, responsibilities, I’m doing self-care

The self-care craze over the past few years has grown exponentially thanks partly to social media making it a popular trend. The ideas of #SelfCareSundays and lavish days of lounging around in robes at spas grace social media timelines with a sense of elegance and grace. As someone who has never shied away from buying a load of beauty masks at Target, I didn’t realize how important self-care was until last summer. 

One of the factors that can contribute to anxiety is stress. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I was overwhelmed with the idea of starting a new role at The Reporter, a summer internship and finishing up finals. I was not only trying to accomplish all that was on my to-do list but my mind was additionally occupied with thoughts of all I’d have to get done in a few months. I wasn’t setting aside time for myself. I was putting other responsibilities before myself. 

When people think about self-care, they think about setting aside hours and hours to pamper themselves, but it doesn’t have to be that long. My therapist said even setting aside five to 15 minutes each day to focus on myself can be just as beneficial as setting aside a whole day. What matters most when doing self-care is catering to what you want to do and temporarily forgetting your troubles. 

There are many ways to indulge in self-care. Like the different types of love languages, what works for one person might not work for another. I love to kick back with a good book, a soothing beauty mask and lighting a scented candle. Each morning, I’ll do a yoga session or meditate for 15 minutes. My self-care changes daily, but for some, having a consistent routine is key. 

Another common misconception regarding self-care is it has to be physical materials. While a 19-step skincare routine or a few hours of retail therapy can be great for some people, it’s most likely not in a student’s budget to spend money all the time. Sometimes self-care can mean going to bed at an earlier time and improving your diet. Others prefer hitting the gym to work their problems out. Even going for a simple walk around the block can do wonders. 

Connecting with others can be a helpful form of self-care as well. Talking with family, friends or people we trust can take a lot of stress away. Spending quality time with them can also help take your mind off of whatever is going on. If talking with other people isn’t something you’re comfortable with, journaling or writing down what you’re grateful for can help put your thoughts to paper and help you figure out how to solve some of your problems. 

We’re all busy students and it can be easy to neglect ourselves for other projects we deem more important. I’m still learning how to take time out of my day and have started scheduling certain times of day to dedicate to myself. A little self-care can go a long way, so set aside work and take time for yourself. You deserve it.

Write to Emma Johnson at

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