Why Self-Care Matters | To the Stressed and Depressed 20-Somethings

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Let’s be honest with ourselves– being an adult-ish adult is HARD. Like it frickin’ sucks what feels like all the time. How am I supposed to balance self-care, working, having a social life, and everything else? Not a week goes by where something unexpected comes up, the government pulls some bs, or life just seems out to get you.

And let me be honest with you… sometimes I’m like who has time for self-care when I should be working three jobs to pay off student loans, credit card debt, and make sure all my bills are paid. But also so I can go to whatever concert and do anything with friends. Personally, I always feel like I’m never doing enough. Whether it’s to make something of myself in the world or I’m not growing if I’m not doing something every single second of the day that is productive.

Anyone else?

And then you are bombarded by influencers and YouTubers who are living this Instagram worthy lives and you’re sitting there thinking, what am I doing wrong. I’m not able to drink fit tea and do yoga every day while going to Disney Land every time I feel down. How the hell am I ever supposed to be happy?

Honestly, I haven’t found the secret yet but I can at least share what’s working for me so you can give it a try.

What is self-care?

As defined by Google, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”

This very broad definition means, take a timeout and do something for yourself. Simply put, stop burning yourself out. Stop working all the time. Stop feeling the need to be busy every moment you’re awake. Flat out, it’s unhealthy and probably making you miserable.

Today, it seems everyone around me is very unintentional when it comes to taking care of ourselves. My friends are constantly at school or working. It’s being consumed with making sure we’re caught up on social media (ugh I hate myself for even saying that). We’re reading up on up on all the big news stories. It’s saving the turtles. And it’s reducing our eco-footprint.

It’s never taking time for you.

Why you need to relax

Something I’ve only learned in the last few months is why taking some time for yourself actually helps you be more productive. This was the wildest concept to me.

How does sitting around doing nothing actually help you?

Well, my friends, if you haven’t experienced burn out, let me tell you first hand… IT SUCKS!

My last semester of college was rough.

I was working for the largest student organization on campus planning a concert featuring Blackbear and Kyle, a campus-wide battle of the bands, assisting with marketing for the concert, and planning a handful of other events. I had a 15-hour a week internship at the School of Business Administration working on conducting interviews of alumni and students for various print and digital publications, creating social media posts, and whatever else needed to be done.

I was also taking 12 credits so I could finally graduate. Those three classes included a project-heavy graphic design class, and my other two classes had so many papers I honestly don’t know how I had time to write them all.

Add on top of this having a boyfriend in a pretty committed relationship, having to maintain friendships, and keeping myself alive, and having to find a job for when I graduated – every single day was packed full of doing everything that needed to be done.

By mid-February, I was EXHAUSTED. My depression was causing me to want to give up, but my anxiety was telling me I’d be a failure if I did. I was in a rough spot emotionally and physically.

I would sleep through alarms or snooze them for literally four hours because I just couldn’t bother to get up. I started BS-ing my homework just enough to pass. I only interacted with people that I worked with, lived with, and my boyfriend. I was high-key over everything.

But the high-functioning person in me wouldn’t take a break because I HAD to get everything done and I didn’t feel like I had enough time to take a break.

Finally, one day over “spring” break (our university’s break was the last week of February), after I had applied to 30 jobs and caught up in work and internship tasks, I stopped.

I took a break. I went to the gym and ran my stresses out (I hate when people push exercise on me but just hauling booty tires me out so much that I can’t worry about anything). I cooked healthy meals and just had time to be the introvert I needed to be for 3 days straight.

After countless hours of binge-watching Netflix, cleaning my room, and getting 10 hours of sleep a day to make up for what I wasn’t getting before that, I felt so refreshed.

I was so much more productive for the rest of the year and I was at a point where I was getting enough sleep and felt more in control of my life.

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