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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Importance of Self-Care

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What are some ways you take care of yourself? For some, a good night’s sleep always helps. 

Practicing self-care is beneficial for anyone, but it’s crucial for those of us who deal with mental health issues.
I’d like to discuss the components that make up good self-care and provide some of my own thoughts on the matter.
Let’s jump right in!
Self-care is defined as the things we do for ourselves that helps take care of us and promotes wellness. We all have an idea of who the people are in our lives that matter, yet we oftentimes forget that our number one person to tend to is ourselves.
If you don’t take care of you, who will?
The first component of self-care I’d like to discuss is getting enough sleep. This is a big one for me. As with anyone, lack of proper sleep can lead to decreased concentration, impulsive behavior, and an increase in poor decision making. Also, falling asleep in class really isn’t the greatest past time. Each of us have different amounts of sleep that sit right with us.
For me, on average, I need about 10 hours of sleep. Whenever I head to bed later than 9 p.m. or don’t sleep well throughout the night, I accumulate a small “sleep debt” that really knocks up the intensity of the obsessive compulsive disorder. Trust me, it’s no fun.
Going hand in hand with sleep is eating well.
This means three meals a day with snacks. This can vary between individuals. Due to my thin frame, any time I’ve been hospitalized, Ensure was a staple in my diet, alongside the meals I was already eating.
Recently, I’ve gotten a taste for a variety of food such as raspberries, apples, and oranges. Adding these to my meals has been a lovely new change.
Of course, if I start slipping with both my eating and sleeping habits, I run into some pretty big problems. This used to be a big issue for me during my low points. I can say that my lack of sleep and proper nutrition played a huge role in my impulsivity of acting on my thoughts. Even to this day, if this cycle begins to occur, I have to remind myself of my own self-care needs, regulate my emotions, and let the OCD play out in my head rather than in reality.
Aspect number three of self-care is getting some exercise.
Some of you may be aware of the benefits of exercise, including releasing endorphins, uplifting one’s mood, and even helping with chronic pain. I’m not the greatest at keeping up with exercise—I do the majority of my walking while on campus each day—and have yet to find forms of exercise I can do all year round, but for what I do enjoy, there is tennis, ping pong, and swimming. Yoga is another alternative that I’m interested in taking up.
Keeping up with proper hygiene is also an important aspect of self-care.
My novice ways of time management mean I tend to slip up in this area. Proper hygiene involves things like dental care and showering. With some mental health struggles, a good balance of hygiene can be a genuine problem. I sympathize with anyone out there having to deal with it.
Maintaining positive coping strategies is also a great way to maintain self-care.
Coping strategies, something I will go over in future pieces, are strategies we use when we need to cope with our emotions. After having a tough week of exams, I like picking out a few days to incorporate artwork, such as drawing, scrapbooking, and coloring. This helps me not only get some creativity out, but also, it refreshes me from the burnout I’ve endured from academic work. Coping strategies are crucial for me when it comes to managing the OCD and keeping up with my recovery.
Keeping appointments is another important component of good self-care.
Whether this means attending therapy, psychiatry, or doctor’s appointments, getting in touch with your treatment team is highly important—especially if you find yourself only having time to cope or are struggling with your self-care. We all need a tune up from time to time!
Limit your drug and alcohol intake.
I don’t have much experience with this portion of self-care aside from the basics. Limiting this type of intake will be beneficial and especially important if you’re also dealing with mental health issues. If you’re feeling suicidal, it’s best for you to avoid these substances. I know that for many of the treatment programs I was involved in, many discouraged substance use while receiving psychological care.
Tea! There are many types out there. Some can be quite beneficial. Explore the options!
Meditation can also be a great self-care tool—anything lasting from four minutes to an hour, the possibilities are endless. I personally enjoy the work of the YouTube channel “TheHonestGuys” if you’re interested in a starting point.
Lastly, there’s structure.
The pinnacle of all the things, keeping up with a well-disciplined and fun schedule is highly, highly important. If you’ve had treatment providers for your mental health or have past experiences to guide you, it won’t come as a surprise to you how forsaken unstructured time can be. I’ll set aside whatever it is I’d enjoy doing with my unstructured time to instead spend it with a tea party that the OCD hosts inside my head.
I’m not yet a master at time management, so I continue to work on creating weekly schedules and daily goals to keep myself on track.
Ultimately, self-care is all about taking good care of yourself, treating yourself well, and choosing a healthier lifestyle for both your mind and body. After all, you’re the only you you’ve got!
If you don’t already know, there are some great resources on campus that help promote health and wellness if you’re interested in learning more. The Counseling Center is available if you’re in crisis and need to talk to someone. There are also a variety of hotlines you can either call or text if need be. 
Let us all kick up some good self-care habits as the end of the semester comes upon us! Stay safe, everyone.