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Self-care vs. stress relief

| Thursday, February 22, 2018

This week has been one of the most overwhelming of my academic career. 

When sitting down to write my inside column, I had been toying with several ideas as to what topic to explore. While detailing the amount of stress and responsibilities I have to a friend, I decided to use my inside column to share a bit of what I need right now: ways to allow for self-care even in the midst of a hectic and seemingly unending schedule.

Lately, there’s been a focus on self-care in the media, which is great — it is so important to take care of oneself, and to shed a light on the fact that sometimes in order to feel OK we need to put an emphasis on ourselves. However, it also seems that this general view of self-care tends to consist of taking a long bath, a long nap or putting on a relaxing face mask and lounging around.

These are great ways to care for oneself or to show oneself a little bit more love, but in the end these are not always the most conducive ways to feeling better and pushing past the feelings of overwhelming stress and anxiety in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes there is no time to take a nap, or no means in which to take a bath at school or a feeling that no amount of clay face masks can fix.

In these moments, it’s important to acknowledge other ways of taking care of oneself during difficult or stressful times. While I am by no means an expert, these are a few of the alternatives that I find helpful in my own life.

In the absence of adequate time to rest, even just giving myself five or 10 minutes to sit down and close my eyes can be refreshing enough to continue to carry out my day.

At times, just a simple dinner with a friend or trip to the gym can be enough to feel ready to tackle the day. Not all need quiet or relaxing time to recharge, and a short break can yield more efficient work afterwards.

Eat a good meal. In times of stress, I have observed that there tend to be two types of people: those that stress-eat, and those that find stress makes them lose their appetite. I tend to fall in the second group of people, but giving yourself the fuel to continue through your day is vital.

Personally, one of my most tried-and-true stress relievers is creating schedules and to-do lists. I feel immensely more capable of conquering whatever task is at hand when I have outlined which days and what times I will be working on specific projects. When looking at a long list of responsibilities, it can seem quite overwhelming; but spread out at specific intervals and over several days, it feels a lot more manageable.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a senior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies. She currently serves as Saint Mary's Editor.

Contact Jordan