Self-care is so important to me and I know sometimes I do not do enough of it. I have a tendency to take on too much. When you combine this with needing time to just de-stress and reflect, it becomes nearly impossible to actually do.
Even my supervisor, Kim, is aware that I take on too much and we have talked about this in one-on-one meetings and in evaluations as well. In my most recent evaluation, as my area of improvement, Kim stated, “Kerry has dealt with a lot of loss this past year. It is important for her to take the time for self care.” We have talked about certain goals that I have for myself in relation to self-care and I appreciate her for being so supportive.
It’s nice to have someone check in on me to see how I’m doing not just because it’s their job, but because they genuinely care. In some ways, the forms of self-care that I have developed have even inspired her and that’s such a good feeling knowing that the very person who checks in on me is able to take something away from what I do to help myself.
In reference to what I actually do for self care, more recently this semester, I have been writing one good thing about my day on a little post-it, and then folding it up before I put it in a mason jar. This has been helping me put things in perspective, think more positively, and acknowledge that no matter if I’m having a bad day, there is something that can still put a smile on my face. This mindset is important because I’ve learned over time that the more I dwell on negative events, the more of a negative impact it will have on my outlook and interactions with other people.
I decided to paint the mason jar and use colorful post-its to make it more decorative, especially in my room since it’s placed on top of my desk. I want to continue writing down one good thing about my day even after the semester ends. I think I’ll need a bigger mason jar, or a lot more.
I also take care of myself by going to the gym a few times per week, just to get those endorphins pumping. I always feel better after I go to the gym, although my body hates me for it the next day. Little things like spending time with friends and just writing whenever I get the chance have also been really helpful to me.
This semester, I’ve also gotten into making vision boards. I had a few old magazines and one day decided to look through them and started cutting out words, phrases, and images that resonated with me. The first time I made one, I was studying, but I needed a break and wanted to still do something productive, besides play solitaire. I spent 2 hours working on my vision board, from cutting out things, finding the right placement, and then gluing it all down.
I made another vision board with my best friend, Franshelis, a few weeks later. She came over for dinner and to sleepover and we spent time looking through the magazines. Then the next day, after breakfast, we glued everything down. It was very relaxing. I hung my vision boards up on my wall in my bedroom and I look at them every day. Those are the words, phrases, and images that speak positivity into my life and are in ways, affirmations that I am heading in the right direction, even when I feel like I’m not.
Surrounding myself with positive images and thinking positively about my day has helped me be much more positive overall. These forms of self-care have made such a huge difference. I still have work to do when it comes to shifting my thoughts to all positive ones but I have made tremendous growth compared to a year ago or even just last semester.
I am interested in learning about what other students at UAlbany, and those within the Albany community do for self-care. I will have interactive-tabling sessions on Tuesday, April 18th and April 25th from 10am-12pm outside of the Small Fountain in front of the Campus Center. On the 18th, there will be a board that students will have an opportunity to write down one thing they wish they could tell a loved one they lost. And on the 25th, there will be another board that students will have the opportunity to write down what they do for self care.
Self-care looks different for everyone and maybe there are things that other students do to take care of themselves that seem helpful to you. I will be writing my next posts on these interactive tabling sessions and what I take away from them. I hope you too can take something away from them. See you on the 18th and 25th!