Why should you treat yourself?

Caroline Hendrix, Senior Writer

The first month of the 2021 spring semester was one of gloom. The weather was horrible and homework piled up alongside the positive COVID-19 cases on campus. There was not much to look forward to, and the repetitive days made me feel like I was living the plot of “Groundhog Day.”  I quickly realized I needed to check myself on my attitude and behavior, though. I had to break this cycle that I had dreaded so much — complaining while not doing anything about it. I had to do something to change.

Over the past month, I have done one thing a day to treat myself in some way — either by helping others or myself. The first week of this practice felt, well, weird. Up until this point, I do not think that I have ever specifically taken time out of my day for myself. Yes, I do work out regularly, eat my favorite foods and watch my favorite shows, but there was something compelling about marking time out of my day for those things, rather than just fitting them in when I had a free moment. We carve out time for classes and studying, so why is it not also necessary to carve out time for the other activities that bring us joy? Maybe others need some inspiration to get started. Some of the favorite experiences that I have had on over the past month have been checking in on family members, going on long walks alone and with friends, getting takeout with friends and eating it outside while watching the sunset, and setting aside time every few days to write.

I’m not encouraging you to go on an online shopping spree or get Amami everyday for a week (both of which I may have done over the past month), but I am saying that students need to prioritize themselves sometimes. At first, it might seem odd to set out time to paint your nails or watch Netlflix, but after a while, I grew to love knowing that I had something to look forward to each day and week. Sometimes, school work or other obligations prevent us from indulging in those treats are so easily pushed to the side. This is especially a problem for University students, who often take on a large number of responsibilities while balancing challenging classwork. The New York Times writes, “Self-care ultimately is about setting priorities, setting boundaries and finding purpose.” Ultimately, this means giving yourself the best chance to be the best you can for yourself and for others.

In one of my classes this week, we talked about why everyone is so focused on wanting to be happy all the time. There is something in the back of our heads constantly telling us that if things are not perfect, then we should fix it as soon as possible because they must be wrong. Especially during these times, it is beyond normal for students to be stressed out or overwhelmed. There is no reason to think that something is wrong with you if you are feeling this way. But, you can do something for yourself now and again to remind yourself of how important you are to yourself, and that there are glimmers of joy available for you when you want them. 

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