Self Care Isn’t Just Face Masks and Bath Bombs
By Annabelle Reynolds
Just because it’s been a year since our lives stopped, doesn’t mean it’s gotten any easier or less stressful. Sure, we may have found ways to engage ourselves in work or taken up some new hobbies, but it’s still really hard to stay motivated in this increasingly virtual world.
Attending virtual classes since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, our middle and high schoolers specifically are struggling with keeping up on schoolwork and making sure they’re taking care of themselves in the process. Trust me, my teachers reading can definitely attest to this, I know how easy it is to just let the schoolwork build up and get so far behind it feels like you’re drowning. In the process, though, I have found some ways that are helping me catch up and get back on track.
First things first, it is absolutely essential that you are making sure to take care of yourself. If you aren’t doing well, physically or mentally, you won’t be able to learn and do your work effectively. If you need a nap, take one. If you need to just spend some time reading a book, do it. It’s okay to let yourself have those little moments in your day where it isn’t all work, work, work. Self care is so important, especially in the stressful times we’ve been experiencing in the last year. If you feel everything piling up and the stress building, it’s okay to take a step back. Take some deep breaths, go for a walk, drink some water. Tell yourself that eventually, this will end and you will make it out alive.
Advocate for yourself. I cannot stress this enough, talk to your teachers, boss, parents, friends, siblings. If you are struggling and you need a couple days to regroup and get yourself back on track, please ask for help. Chances are they’ll work with you and want to do whatever they can to help.
Now, staying engaged and motivated during virtual school is a difficult task. It’s so easy to choose not to do assignments because there seems to be virtually no reapercussions. This is an extremely slippery slope. If you choose not to do an assignment and there seems to be no problem with it, you might choose not to do another and another. It builds up quick.
“I think a big part of my self care routine is not being too hard on myself for taking a nap or choosing to put off work to do something else,” Lydia Burke (12) said. “That’s how I’ve found my balance and taken some pressure off by understanding how I’m feeling and working on school work when I’m feeling like it and giving myself breaks when I need them.”
Here are a few things you can do to stay focused as we enter spring.
Have one space where you do your homework. Whether it’s your bed, a desk, or the kitchen table, doing work in one place helps you keep things organized and promotes productivity when you are there.
Work on upcoming assignments when you’re feeling good about where you’re at. Personally, I tend to go through bouts where I’m really productive and get a lot done, and then can’t focus on anything for two weeks. Getting ahead now so you can take some time for yourself later can be a great way to stay on track, especially if you don’t know when the unproductivity will hit you.
Make a list. Go on Google Classroom and look at all of your assignments, and then make a list of what you need to get done. This has worked wonders for me in the last couple weeks. It may seem small, but if you’re struggling, being able to cross off your assignments with a purple pen as you turn them in just makes you want to do more and more.
Guys, take care of yourself. We’ve been doing this a really long time, but that doesn’t mean the mental health concerns are gone. Please, please, please make sure you are drinking water and staying active. Even if it just means going outside for a five minute walk, getting some sun, and then going right back to laying in bed. Self care is different for everyone, and it’s okay if yours doesn’t look like what’s in the media. Sometimes self care is just taking a shower.
Keep your head up. It doesn’t seem like it now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, getting brighter each and every day.