Being a university student finishing the third year of an honours undergrad degree is tough. Assignments are more complicated, life is more demanding, and self-care gets left behind. This entire semester has been challenging for me. I have grappled with a multitude of thoughts and emotions pouring out of me in salt water tears staining my cheeks. The amount of overwhelming pain I have experienced some days has been too much for me. I have taken part in self-destructive actions and entertained poisonous thoughts that fester within the walls of my aching mind.
But now, I find myself feeling free and less burdened. I have more time to spend with the people I love and more time for self-care and self-growth. As of yesterday morning, I finished my third year of j-school (journalism school). The first few moments after I ended were quite a relief. I could breathe a little more relaxed and walk a little taller. I even smiled. I mean, WHAT? Smiling? What is that? I felt like I was on top of the world.
This feeling of freedom has carried over to this morning and the rest of the day as well. I am well-rested, I got up and made a cup of coffee and then made myself the most delicious green smoothie for breakfast. I put on some classical music, and I enjoyed my time with myself in my little apartment, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has been the most soothing day I have had in a very long time, let me tell you.
This is my balance. My balance amid the chaos that has been my life for the past four months. Today, I am starting anew. I am giving my body what it has craved for so long – fresh air, exercise and clean foods. I am also putting time into cleaning my apartment and doing some laundry. I am reading a book to fill my soul with words that give it life. I am giving time to myself to do what is right for me.
If this semester has taught me anything other than how to succeed as a journalist, it is to make time for yourself. I was the one who told people that ‘I don’t have time‘ for self-care. ‘I’m too busy to take a few minutes for me.’ Looking back now, I am ashamed. I forced myself to continuously work myself to the bone, promising myself that it would all be over soon. I just had to make it to the end of April. This type of mentality was entirely out of proportion and not at all healthy. I drove myself crazy just to file stories by the set deadline.
Finding time to give to yourself, even if your schedule is hectic is crucial. Your mental, emotional and physical health depends on it. Speaking from experience, I know what not doing that feels like. Burn out, stress and buckets of tears are not fun, trust me. If anything, it is much less than pleasant.
So today, make a vow that you will put yourself first, before your work, your school and your social obligations. Make YOU the priority and focus on your health. I promise you will not regret it.