Search #SelfCare on social media and you’ll likely find a variety of posts about things like bath bombs, face masks, binging tv shows and staying in bed all day. Self-care is often touted as an important practice to engage in, but finding effective ways to do it or time to do it in can prove difficult.
Self-care often begins with taking care of one’s physical health, not just mental, according to PLNU campus pastor and Director of Discipleship Ministries, Melanie Wolf. Sleep, nutrition and exercise are all part of a full and beneficial self-care routine.
“Ultimately, [self-care] is different for everyone. The thing that isn’t different for everyone is that self-care is about listening to and tending to yourself. We have to start with the foundational needs of the body,” said Wolf, who is also an associate marriage and family therapist.
Dr. Julie Myers, a psychologist at the Point Loma Clinic, stresses that self-care can be as simple as practicing proper breathing. According to Myers, these breathing exercises calm your sympathetic nervous system, which helps manage stress.
“Almost every single person needs breathwork,” Myers said in an interview with The Point. Breathing exercises can be found on Youtube, apps like Calm or even Google.
However, finding time for care can prove difficult in the midst of homework, tests, jobs and the other things students often have to juggle. Myers recommends finding small amounts of time throughout the day to pause.
“Dismiss the belief that self-care takes a lot of time. Instead of trying to do two hours of relaxation, take five times throughout the day to breathe for five minutes,” Myers said.
One barrier to self-care can be the feeling that it’s too self-focused, leading to it feeling selfish, according to Wolf.
“We often have this tension of self-care feeling selfish. I like to think of self-care as stewardship rather than too much internal focus,” Wolf said. Other barriers can include becoming isolated rather than reaching out for help in difficult times, according to Wolf.
According to Psychology Today, some easy ways to practice self-care include cooking at home, spending time with a pet or sometimes saying no when others ask for things that require time and energy. Wolf adds that keeping a list of five things under five dollars that have been proven to be helpful in improving mood or reducing anxiety, and to share that list with people who can help you engage in them.