Self-care as a postgrad student
Everyone needs to prioritise themselves sometimes. Yes, it can be hard, but your body and mind will thank you for it!
‘Self-what-now?’ I hear you ask? Unfortunately, that is no doubt the most common response I would get if I were to ask my colleagues about what they’re doing for their own self-care during their post grad studies. I won’t lie, the truth is that everyone is hectically busy, trying to finish this assignment so they can get a start on the next, or crawl out from under the pile of readings and never-ending to do lists. Ok, so now we’re on the same page in terms of the importance of this elusive ‘self-care’, but what does it actually mean? What does it look like and where do I even start? All great questions! So let’s start with the first one…
What does self-care mean?
While I’d love to wow you with a profound explanation of self-care, I think the simplest way to put it is to describe it as taking time out of your schedule to do something that your body, and/or mind, will thank you for! It’s making a conscious effort to find time for yourself; doing something that you will enjoy and feel good about.
What does it look like?
Well, what ‘self-care’ looks like is totally up to you. It’s all about doing something for you. So, you may really enjoy working on your health and fitness, so self-care could be about making time to go to the gym class you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t quite got there, it could be going for a walk around the block or going for a swim. If you love catching up with friends but simply haven’t been able to find the time, it could be scheduling in a catch-up, a coffee date or a phone call to re-engage and re-energise your relationship. It can even be as simple as finding a small window of time to read, to sit in the sunshine, to treat yourself to a nice, sit-down coffee in a café, rather than sculling your latte on the way to class. Self-care is about YOU – so there are no rules, no expectations, it’s all up to you!
Where do I even start?
Hmm, so now comes the tricky part – I’ve thought of all these wonderful ideas to fill this self-care shaped hole in my life…now what? Schedule in a time, or rather – make time! Look at your timetable, is there a gap somewhere (preferably each day) that you could squeeze in a little ‘me-time’? If it is too much every day, cut back to a handful of times a week, trying to find any window in-between to slot in some extra minutes of self-care.
Remember – self-care is all about you and of course that means doing what works for you. It’s meant to be some down time, not another source of stress in your life!