5 Realistic self-care lessons as Grad student and Full-Time employee.

Hint: We all need time off and self- care is a work in progress.

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Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Sunday mornings seem to be the only time where Instagram posts are about self-care. At times the posts are motivating, but when weekends are the time to get homework done, missing out on a self-care morning makes me feel worse. Instead, I’ve learned to make self-care something I can do throughout the week and at my own pace.Now that I’ve added grad school into the mix of things to work on, I’ve incorporated self-care as part of my homework because its a necessity. I’m basically always tired or feeling guilty I’m not doing something. That is still a work in process, but in the meantime, here are some of the ways I balance self-care into my daily mix:

1. Find out what makes you feel relaxed. What activity makes you sigh with happiness when you engaged in it? For me, I love a good face-mask and writing in my journal on my porch (before the FL heat kicks in). Some mornings I’m able to do both and others I can do neither. I just work on getting one activity in or something else done that relaxes me, like reading.

2. Don’t feel guilty for taking time off.It’s not healthy or even possible for our bodies to always work and not have any downtime. The downtime is necessary to be rejuvenated and be able to give your all. 

3. Stick to your self-care plans just as if it planned with a friend. At least once a month I make a plan that says “no plans day” which is me blocking out a time whether it’s a whole day or night where the only plan is to solely relax. If someone asks me to hang out I just tell them that I can’t I have plans, that way you won’t plan over it and forget about your relaxation night. 

4. Boundaries are good for you and me🙂. One of the first things I had to do when I started school was set boundaries up with my family, which was challenging. My family is accustomed to hanging out with me after work or on the weekends to the point when I would tell them I was studying, they were still making plans to come over. It was frustrating and I wouldn’t really enjoy my time with them because I was busy thinking about the assignment that had to get done. I knew I needed to have a conversation with them because that was just not sustainable. Once we had a conversation, they started planning more which made the situation way better. 

5. Do not underestimate the importance of SLEEP. Sleep is everything. There is no way I can pull an all-nighter and go to work for 8 hours without feeling like a zombie. It’s usually the first thing that gets pushed aside; however, sleep is what keeps us focused and able to learn. There is no way I can study when I’m groggy, so I make sure I get a decent amount of sleep in. If not, I really will waste my time rereading a paragraph because I don’t understand it, or I’ll tell my co-worker how “I can’t stop johning” instead of “yawning” yeah, words are challenging when you don’t have enough sleep.

One of the biggest takeaways though, is that self-care is a balancing act, some days you will feel relaxed and other you will feel as though all the stress of the world is on your shoulders. Use that time to dedicate 10 mins to show yourself some love or better yet, take the night off. You deserve it and will be better off in the long run!

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