We need to take care of ourselves

Close your eyes and breathe

Tiffany Trent, Opinion Editor


There is a misconception that taking care of yourself is selfish. This isn’t true. We all need and deserve to care for ourselves, and doing so helps us better support our loved ones.

When I don’t take the time to take care of myself, everything in my life becomes an uphill battle. My productivity goes down while my stress levels go up. I can no longer cope with the pressures of school and work. I’m not able to be the kind of friend and family member I want to be. I lose sight of what truly matters in life.

Signs of mental burnout and exhaustion include psychological and physical symptoms. Mental symptoms include isolation, pessimism, apathy, irritation, depression and anxiety. Physical symptoms include insomnia, loss of appetite and chronic headaches.

In order to take care of our mental well­-beings, we must also take care of our bodies. The body and mind rely on each other to function.

We need to eat healthy food regularly. Sometimes we might skip meals because of stress or because there’s not enough time to eat. But if we want to be healthy, we need to make time. Eating meals regularly throughout the day helps us stay focused and equipped for the stresses of the day. What we eat also matters. There is no need to overhaul our entire diets. Just eat a little more fruits and veggies. Some nutrient rich foods include salmon, carrots, almonds, cheese, apples and yogurt. By taking the time to nourish our bodies, we will have more energy and stronger immune systems.

Sleep is very important to leading a healthy lifestyle, and most of us don’t get enough of it. Most people need seven or eight hours of sleep in order to feel fully rested. If you’re not getting enough sleep, going to bed even an hour earlier could be quite beneficial in preparing you for the following day. If you can’t go to sleep early, naps are another great way to get the rest you need and give yourself a natural energy boost. Even a 15­minute power­nap is helpful.

Exercise is another way to boost our health and well being. There are countless different ways to workout depending on personal preferences. Gyms are a great way to offer variety in exercise regimes with professional equipment. Or going for a run is a free, easy way to get moving. Consider joining a sports team or play a sport with your buddies. Try Zumba or pilates. Walk with a friend. Exercising even 20 minutes a day can lower stress hormones and boost your energy. By being active, our bodies become healthier and our minds are able to relax. Even taking a five minute break from studying or writing a paper to stretch your legs and walk around the library or your room can be surprisingly helpful.

Taking care of our mental well­-beings can be done on a regular basis. For example, I go on hikes to clear my head. I occasionally sit in my car for 10 minutes and rest my eyes while the radio plays. I pray throughout the day. I enjoy reading. Sometimes I will just stand outside, close my eyes and feel the wind and sun on my skin. For good mental and physical health, it is essential to stop once in awhile and just breathe and be in the moment.

While in the midst of stress and responsibilities, it may seem like a chore to take the time and make the effort to care for ourselves, but it’s worth it. Taking time for yourself will help you and allow you to give more of your time to others. So take a minute and breathe. You’ll be glad you did.