“Self-care” is a term in mainstream media generally believed to mean you ignore all your responsibilities to do a face mask. It could also mean you stop talking to that negative person in your social circle, splurge on a $5 Starbucks cold brew, or binge New Girl. While self-care does have many different definitions depending on the circumstance and how you want to apply it, I am going to introduce you to one particular definition that has completely changed how I view it – for the better.
New definition to consider: Self-care is taking care of yourself, even when you don’t want to.
In this way, self-care directly pertains to your well-being and doesn’t mean skipping class to get brunch with the girls. There are a few specific ways I implement this definition of self-care into my routine. Swap out the Sunday Scaries for Self-care Sundays! Read on for my suggestions.
Do your laundry (and then fold & put away your laundry)
I live in a sorority house on campus with 13 other girls. Sundays and Mondays are the most competitive days to do laundry in our one washer and one dryer. There must be something refreshing about having clean towels, sheets, and clothes for the rest of the week. Instead of saving laundry for “when you have time” – which is just an excuse to put it off anyway – do your laundry as a form of self-care.
Plan for the week
This one is easy. I like to view my Google Calendar in week-mode, so I look ahead for the next few days and for the following week. I like to literally add events for meals, social plans, and specific study times for homework and exams. I am a planner, and while that is typically beneficial, excessive planning usually causes undue stress and worry. To break that cycle and still feel like I have a grip on my life, I plan for the week.
Focus on hygiene
Do your nails, exfoliate in the shower, moisturize your whole body, and yes, even do a face mask! There is no better feeling than sleeping in clean sheets with a clean body (and freshly shaved legs), and your self-care Sunday routine will allow you to do that.
Finish any last-minute homework assignments or get a jump-start on readings. Alternatively, read a book of your choice, preferably not a textbook if you don’t have to!
I find it surprisingly difficult to reserve even ten minutes a day to meditate, even though I know meditation is one of the most effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety. I incorporate guided meditations into my morning routine, but I also like to practice silent meditation. Sundays are a perfect day to do this. To focus on the breath and be an observer of my own thoughts is peaceful and resets my perspective each time.
I try to work hard on Saturdays so I have Sundays to myself. However, I would be a phony if I said I accomplished everything on this list every Sunday. Life happens. Exams are scheduled for Mondays. Friends make brunch plans that are hard to pass up. One of the most important aspects to self-care is the idea of loving-kindness. Be loving and kind to yourself and others. Forgive yourself if you don’t do the laundry one day. By practicing loving-kindness, we won’t internalize “failures” that could affect the rest of our day, week, and life.
What do you think of this new self-care definition? What would you add to the list?