Have you ever told anybody that you were “fine” or “really good” when that was the furthest thing from the truth? I think if we’re honest, we know we all do it on a regular basis. It’s mostly said because it’s simply what people say in response to “How are you doing?” However, it’s also said because we assume no one actually wants to hear everything that’s going wrong in our lives. For the most part, saying “I’m fine” is completely harmless, but we have to be careful that we don’t start saying it to ourselves and end up ignoring things that need to be addressed.
In the everyday busyness of college life, we’re constantly asked about our grades, our classes, our friends, and our extracurricular activities, but we’re rarely asked how we’re dealing with the stress or how we’re doing with regards to our mental health. This is nobody’s fault; it just isn’t a common place question. Because this is not a commonly addressed concern, sometimes we even overlook our own mental health. However, self-care is vital to success — both in college and life in general. Taking the time to do a self-evaluation is one of the most important things you can do. Knowing how you deal with different emotions and stressors is half the battle. Once you begin to recognize what causes issues, you can take decisive steps to improve your quality of life.
Self-care also means making sure to have a life outside of school while you’re at UCO. I’m not saying that you have to become the life of the party if that’s not your thing, but take half an hour or an hour a day to do something that’s totally your own and that makes you happy:
- Read a novel
- Listen to music
- Walk around campus
- Go to the Wellness Center
- Watch a favorite TV show or movie
- Find a dog and hug it 😃
- Get off campus alone or with friends and go bowling, see a movie, do an escape room, etc.
- Cook your favorite family recipe in the Quad kitchen
These are just a few ways you can take time for yourself. Be creative and do whatever works for you!
If you aren’t quite sure how to evaluate whether or not you’re taking care of yourself as well as you should be, there are several self-care assessments that have been made online that can offer some perspective. They may ask you to rate activities from 0-3 and even write a question mark if the activity never even occurred to you. The questions are grouped into categories and at the end of the assessment you are able to see if there are areas where you might be able to improve.
I know that at college it is extremely easy for self-care to take a back burner, but it’s extremely important that you make sure to take care of yourself as well as your academics. Hopefully if we’re all mindful of self-care, we’ll almost always be able to say we’re “fine” and actually mean it.
CAMPUS RESOURCE OF THE WEEK:
UCO Stress Paws Come hug a dog!! Nigh University Center 4th Floor (carpeted area near the Will Rogers Room) Thursday: 3pm-5pm