Do you ever feel like your day is just jam-packed, filled to the brim with school, homework, sports, and other activities and responsibilities? Does it feel like you just never have time for yourself anymore? If so, you’re definitely not alone. With how crazy and hectic a high schooler’s schedule can get, there’s not a lot of time left in a day for something as seemingly trivial as ‘self care’. As another school year rolls into motion, it is so, so important to remember to value yourself during these busy days, and set aside some time to care for and love yourself.
The idea of self care is a concept that has been talked about a lot lately. Its technical definition is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” (Lexico.com, 2019). This includes all the little things you can do throughout your life to keep yourself feeling healthy and happy. The idea of self love is slightly different, extending into topics like self esteem and self image, or how you perceive yourself both physically and mentally. The actual practices of self love and self care still go hand in hand, however, because the more you care for yourself, the more you’re going to love yourself, and vice versa. Loving yourself is astronomically important, especially during the high school stage of your life, because the sooner you accept yourself, the more successful and happy you’re going to be in life.
Groundbreaking singer and activist Lizzo told NBC News, “Loving myself was the result of answering two things: Do you want to live? ‘Cause this is who you’re gonna be for the rest of your life. Or are you gonna just have a life of emptiness, self-hatred and self-loathing? And I chose to live, so I had to accept myself.” Lizzo’s body-positive, feel-good, self-esteem-boosting music encompasses everything she stands for: self-love and self-care. “I think it’s very hard for someone to truly love themselves because we are always comparing ourselves to other people, but it’s important to try to love yourself,” Olivia Hammersley (11) said. Teenagers have to fight even harder to love themselves in a world that doesn’t really want them to.
So, while self care and self love seem like pretty abstract concepts, it’s actually relatively easy to fit them into your daily routine. Doing a few simple things everyday just for yourself, and nobody else, can make all the difference in your mental state. “It’s very difficult to find time but I try my best to have one night a week for myself where I can clean my room or do personal stuff,” Hammersley continued, describing her self care routine. Obviously, everyone’s self care routine is going to be different, because everyone is different, but here are some general things you can do to focus on yourself a little bit more every day. Indulge in some media you love, by binging your favorite TV show or movie series, listening to your favorite album, getting into a new artist, or watching YouTube videos you enjoy. Enjoy your own company without relying on others by doing a face mask, writing in a journal, or dancing in front of a mirror. Make yourself feel more in control of your life by reorganizing your room, getting rid of old clothes that have been sitting in your closet forever, or cleaning out your backpack. Be flexible with any routine you come up with, and of course don’t force yourself into anything you don’t actually want to do. Most importantly, be nice and patient with yourself, because you’re doing your best to get through every day. The only person you can truly count on to have your back is you, so why shouldn’t you take care of yourself?