woman relaxing on balcony

Self care beyond Instagram hashtags

Approaching graduation and realising the state of the world has left me feeling rather defeated. COVID-19 or as I like to refer to the virus [Miss Rona] is still out here blasting ‘The world is yours’ by Nas. Although we are getting close to whatever sense of normality we had prior to the outbreak, realistically speaking we still have ways to go.

Last year was super tough on everyone. During the height of the BLM protests, I took to Instagram to see what #selfcare tips were being reposted only to be disappointed that my bubble bath did not ease my anxiety in the slightest.

We now equate self-care to bubble baths, face masks and glasses of wine. However, to me, actual self-care is doing the things that make you both uncomfortable and comfortable. Things that soothe all parts of your being whether that’s emotional, mental, spiritual or physical. Soaking like a teabag in a bubble bath might temporarily ease your panic attack for an hour or two but wouldn’t it be great to have increased self-awareness so you don’t wait till you’re burnt out to take care of yourself?

Look, although I’m more optimistic about this new year I would like to share some actual self-care tips that have worked for me that might help you during lockdown and whatever else is to come.

Schedule time to have a good cry

Yup I know it sounds weird to pen that session in, but often we don’t realise how emotionally repressed we are until we spill some ketchup and God himself couldn’t calm us down. It might sound silly at first but crying has a lot of health benefits. Crying detoxifies our bodies, helps us self soothe, sleep and more.

Try the thing you always said you wanted to try

Whether that’s painting, knitting, reading or writing. I think often we dim our own lights before we allow them to shine. During the lockdowns I’ve challenged myself to try to pick up a new hobby or skill even if I’m bad at it. This has helped me with regulating my self worth because no matter how unusual my painting may be or how awful that TikTok was I had fun while doing it and I stepped out of my comfort zone. I motivated myself to do something with little to no expectations which helped me with my performance anxiety.

Plan Solo Dates

Every Saturday I make sure to take myself on a ‘date’. Some weeks I’ll watch a movie, other weeks I might make a fancy meal. I know it sounds weird but during this time it’s important to pour as much love into yourself as possible. Spend time to pamper yourself as you would a romantic interest or friend, you’d be surprised what a morale booster that can be.

Stay on top of whatever adulting looks like to you

Take care of your finances, do your laundry, eat something green and drink water. If you stay on top of the little things every day you’re able to feel more in control of your immediate circumstances. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not being the ‘perfect’ adult, instead just try to be a little bit better than yesterday.

Don’t forget to contact Student Services for all your student-related support needs. You can also check out more wellbeing tips from the rest of the team in our Wellbeing section.