Almost everyone can agree that self-care is an important addition to your daily routine. In the midst of the jam-packed life of a college student, it’s crucial to leave yourself a little bit of “me time” here and there throughout the day.
However, self-care is not just bubble baths and mani-pedi’s, and it’s not just for people who may have a mental illness or condition. Practicing self-care is valuable to everyone, and while relaxing activities such as laying out in the sun or getting a facial are definitely beneficial, self-care can and often does consist of mundane, everyday tasks.
Hannah Daisy, a mental health occupational therapist from London, created an Instagram hashtag to promote these “boring” self-care routines on her personal account @makedaisychains. Daisy posts hand-drawn images that focus on daily actions such as doing the dishes, going grocery shopping or cooking a healthy meal. She explains that these tasks, while potentially tedious, are actually just as much self-care as taking a vacation or booking a massage.
For those who deal with mental conditions such as depression or anxiety, sometimes completing these everyday activities can be incredibly difficult. Daisy said in an interview with The Mighty that she copes with endometriosis and mental illness, and that through her posts she hopes to connect with everyone, regardless of their mental status.
“While everyone’s experiences are different and I don’t claim to understand what it’s like for everyone, I can certainly say I have found some everyday tasks really difficult,” Daisy said. “I really want people to recognize the importance of doing these tasks, and that they are achievements and that they are something kind you do for yourself.”
As college students, most days are filled with classes, clubs, friends and various other tasks that require your attention. It’s incredibly difficult to find time to take that bubble bath or light a candle and journal about your day. Sometimes, its just as hard to find time to unload the dishwasher or fold the clothes that have been sitting at the foot of your bed since last Tuesday.
Recognizing that completing these little, “boring” actions are self-care is only half the battle; setting aside some time to get a few things done and just breathe has to become part of your everyday routine. Otherwise, your self-care won’t have much of an effect.
While Daisy brings attention to the simpler side of “me time,” this doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with wanting to get a massage or doing something else that may be relaxing to you. Taking care of yourself is something you get to define, because it wouldn’t be self-care if you weren’t focusing on yourself.
If you have an extra five minutes in the morning before class, try picking up the clothes you tossed on the ground the night before or making your bed. If you’re on a study break and struggling to carry on, take a breath and do some stretches, or wipe down the kitchen even though it was definitely your roommate who forgot to clean up.
Even an extra 10 minutes set aside toward your own self-care can make all the difference. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a mental or physical condition, or just with rude friends and overbearing professors, consistent self-care is important to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Taking care of yourself is not a “one and done” type of action, but rather, should be incorporated into each day. If you don’t take care of yourself, then who will?