Care for Self

Care for Self

Blog Post 48 - Photo 1

As my first year of college comes to an end, I find myself instinctively reflecting upon the two semesters I have spent here at Loyola. With inexplicable certainty, I have come to the conclusion that, although I may not be able to ‘feel’ it in a palpable way, the Student Promise has become a significant theme in my life, forming the guideposts by which I judge myself. Sitting down with a handful of dark chocolate M&Ms, I introspectively gauge the choices I have made along my college path since first arriving late last summer, new to college life, new to the Loyola, and new to fabulous city that now feels like home.

Of the three parts to the Promise, caring for self is the pillar I put the least amount of effort into, thus allowing it to slip through my fingers. Having taken on so many different commitments, I became so busy that ‘tired’ became a constant state of existence. I barely had time to get a full night’s sleep, let alone to complete my assignments for class. Allowing myself to get overexcited about Loyola’s ‘candy store’ of campus events and activities, and not stemming my enthusiasm with an appropriate amount of pragmatism, resulted in “too much on my plate,” and took a toll on my grades, especially this semester.  As much as I love “getting involved,” I had spread myself so thin that by March, I felt burned out and wanted to drop everything. However, because I had made a personal commitment to these organizations, I feel it is my responsibility to uphold all obligations until the end of the semester. So, for now, a good night’s sleep remains in the category called “wishful thinking.”.

I know it may sound selfish, but the impact of leaving time to relax and be alone is huge. I thought being busy meant being productive all the time, but this misconception resulted in my incapacity to be productive at all. One of the most helpful self-help phrases in a situation like this is “It’s okay to say no.” I need to learn to say no when, like sweets in a candy store, everything offering on the student activities board calls out temptingly, “Choose me!” Since [registration is] next week, I have decided to prioritize next year’s commitments, narrowing them down to a number of hours I can realistically handle. As my friend Victoria always reminds me, “It is quality not quantity that matters.” So while I feel sad to be retreating from several activities due to time constraints, I know that doing so is good time management and ensures some allocated time for Me, a lifestyle factor that deserves much more importance than I had previously given it.

Last week, I decided to complete the 100 Happy Days Challenge, encouraged by a good friend who attests to the difference it made in her life. The challenge consists of posting a picture of a happy moment every single day, as a self-reminder to focus on the maybe small, but good things in life. Since starting the Challenge, I have noticed myself looking for and appreciating that happy moment every day.

My advice to all, including the Happy person in the mirror: With finals in sight, the work load piling up, and sleep deprivation becoming a norm, caring for self is increasingly crucial in order to make sure those all-nighters you have been pulling won’t be the reason you’re stuck in bed during exams week!



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