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Practicing self-care in the school year

by CAMERON BOLTON

The Drake school year has begun again. And in the middle of classes, work, clubs, and numerous other activities that Drake students are involved with, they need to remember the value of self-care.

According to Danielle Green, the Director of the Counseling Center since July 1st, self-care is the intentional act or practice that helps restore and recharge you.

“Self-care needs to be something that is charging your battery or maintaining a charge,” Green said. “Watching shows and movies distract and numb, but don’t make us feel better. I think it’s important to have a well-rounded self-care practice. Making sure you’re taking care of physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and social needs.”

Junior Jack Griffin says that he takes a break from the stress of the week by doing something as simple as going back to his dorm, laying down and putting on some relaxing music. As a musical theatre major, Griffin enjoys Broadway music, but also listens to classic rock, some pop and some country.

“A lot of times I listen to music or do some breathing exercises,” Griffin said. “Also, working out also helps take your stress level down and adrenaline rush down because you just get to put your focus on one thing over the other and you’re taking a break.”

To sophomore Alyssa Brown, self-care is indulging in things you normally wouldn’t do. For instance, in the event of a big test, Brown would go out for ice cream or just take breaks periodically throughout the day. Like Griffin, Brown also enjoys listening to music. She tends to listen to relaxing music that is upbeat, happy and hopeful.

“I also, personally, see a counselor, I think that’s really important so that when things are overwhelming I can talk to someone in a really professional environment,” Brown said. “That’s important.”

A philosophy that you come across as a student is the term ‘Drake Busy.’ Green’s understanding of the term is that it’s the idea of doing all the things because it will look good on your resume, will make you strong, and because everyone else is doing all the things.

“ I think it’s so harmful to a student’s emotional well-being,” Green said. “It’s important to have meaningful rest and time off. I hear from a lot of students that they’re involved in activities they don’t really enjoy, or they are not able to enjoy them because they’re so busy. I think the idea of saying no and being fully invested in a few things would make everyone happier and more productive. When you’re stretched too thin we’re not able to perform as well as possible and that impacts not only our emotional/mental health but how we see ourselves. Students tell me a lot they feel like failures because they’re not involved in enough or they’re not as productive as they’d like to be. I encourage students to see what they are doing well vs comparing themselves to what they think they should be doing or what others are doing.”

Green encourages students to try different methods of self-care, such as going outside without your phone, going for a walk, taking deep breaths, eating a healthy meal and taking time away from social media. 

Initial acts Green encourages students to try for self-care are going outside without your phone and just noticing nature, going for a walk, take time off when needed, take 10 deep breaths, take 10 more, wear clothes you like, eat a healthy meal, take a nap, take time away from social media, read something that’s unrelated to school, notice your inner feelings, meditate, say “no” to extra responsibilities, spend time with folks you really enjoy, identify comforting activities, allow yourself to cry, go to therapy, tell yourself you’re doing a good job, schedule time for yourself, remind yourself of everything you’re doing well. 

Photo by Tina Intarapanont

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