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What is your perspective on self-care?

As a rising sophomore in college, I find that a huge population of my campus do not practice self-care. By self-care, I mean things, activities, etc that nourish's a person's soul. Why do we, as a society, continue to cultivate a work/academic environment of stress and unbalance? What is your perspective of self-care in the cooperate world or in your own experiences? How do you practice self-care? #self-care

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Anthony’s Answer

It's so wonderful to always be self-aware and ask the hard questions like this!

Personally, I believe all people should find what nourishes each part of what makes us human before we even think about how we want to succeed in life. The 3 important parts would be divided as such:

- Mind
This can be setting some time every day to read a book, put on headphones and close your eyes while enjoying wonderful music, setting consistent times of rest, etc.

- Body
Activities like jogging, working out, yoga/stretching, hiking, walking around your neighborhood, etc.

- Soul/Spirit
Much like the mind one above, music can be beneficial to the soul because sometimes words may fail and music may be a comfort to those inexpressible moments, prayer/meditation, etc.

Of course there are many other activities that can be added, but self-care is extremely important as we become more and more busy throughout our lives. Guard your time and mind well!
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Maddie’s Answer

Hi Madeline,


It is great that you are looking into ways to better understand and practice self-care. While in college and beyond, it is so important to take stock of our needs and responsibilities in order to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle between academics and work. In my own personal experience, I do think that colleges and companies are slowly beginning to shift toward greater work/life balance. For example, at my alma mater, Rowan University, there is a department connected with the Counseling Services office with the main purpose of helping students develop healthy habits. They are called Healthy Campus Initiatives, and they educate students about nutrition, safe sex, drug/alcohol awareness, suicide prevention, and more. While this is just one example at one school, I hope that this type of resource is available at campuses across the country and worldwide, as it can be a great way for students to learn more about self-care.


With regard to a corporate setting, I currently work at Lockheed Martin, and while I may not be able to speak for the entire company, I can say that my department is very focused on work/life balance. We work a flex 9/80 schedule and have off every other Friday. My manager is very flexible in terms of our schedule and is respectful of our time. There is a fitness center in our building and we are encouraged to take frequent walks in order to de-stress and get some exercise in during the day. I feel that their initiatives for self-care are strong, but again, this is just one experience from one company. Things may be different at other organizations, and may even vary from state-to-state. I think steps have been taken to develop greater work/life balance for all, but with that being said, I think this type of culture change does not happen overnight. I think it will take many more colleges and organizations adopting plans like the ones at Rowan and Lockheed in order to encourage a positive shift for society as a whole.


In my personal life, I practice self-care by running and maintaining a healthy diet. I also find that planning ahead, keeping my workspace and home clean/free of clutter, and taking time to myself are all very helpful ways I am able to rest and recharge. On the weekends, I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with friends and family. All of these experiences help me to better balance my responsibilities and allow me to complete tasks without feeling overwhelmed or overworked. Everyone has different routines for self-care, though; what works for one may not work for all. As Hagen stated above, finding your own balance can take time, but it is well worth it in the end.


What college do you attend? Are there opportunities like the one I described above on your campus? If not, and this is something you are interested in, you may be able to talk to an advisor or counselor about creating a peer education group on campus in order to promote self-care. That way, you can take part in the change toward a more balanced, stress-free environment on your campus. I would also recommend looking into companies that are reported to have good work/life balance initiatives for their employees. Can you sit down with someone and interview them on their experiences? Finally, perhaps you can look into internships in counseling or human resources in order to get a better feel for ways to help both individuals and corporations develop self-care routines. That may give you more hands-on experience and understanding related to work/life balance.


I hope this helps! If you have additional questions please feel free to reach out!


Wishing you the best in all your future endeavors!


Sincerely,


Madeline

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Hagen’s Answer

Hello Madeline,


You raise a very interesting question. It would be wonderful if the environments in which we live and work did more to encourage a healthy lifestyle, however, in most cases that is not the case. In fact, the advertising industry spends billions of dollars to promote dysfunctional ideas about living to convince you to buy their client's products and even to evaluate your value in terms of your ability to buy and consume those products.


You can rail against that system if you wish, but in important ways, it has been the human condition in all eras and cultures. So what to do?


First, recognize you're participating in a time and culture whether you're happy about it or not - there is no alternative. You live in Massachusetts in 2017 and it's unlikely you can change that materially.


Second, embrace the things you love about your time and culture - in many ways, we live very privileged lives with access to information, technology, healthcare and personal freedom unparalleled in history. We live in amazing times and are afforded incredible opportunities to live the life we choose.


Third, do your best to understand that while you can't step outside your time and culture, you can make small but critical choices which can help you avoid the lemmings effect that concerns you. Instead of being sweep up in the latest trends and attitudes struggle to decide what you believe and how you chose to live your life.


For example, you mention stress and unbalance at school. I used to take 4 courses at Berkeley because I was passionately curious, driven and crazy. I thought the logic of getting done and saving money and I am sure, many other compelling ideas that I had internalized, mandated I load up. Berkeley didn't insist I take 4 courses a semester, so it was an odd combination of perceived external pressure and my own internal pressure. I know now I that I didn't need to rush through college or through life for that matter. You can chose your own pace too.


I didn't end up graduating at 22, in fact is was closer to 40. So for better or worse, I veered off the mainstream path which led to a number of life experiences I wouldn't have had if I had succeeded in living the life I thought I was supposed to live.


At the end of the day, society advances a lot of interesting ideas about fulfillment, but society doesn't really know what will make you feel happy and content. You have to sort that out for yourself in the face of all those conflicting opinions. If you decide it's not going to be money and prestige, then you must start making decisions that focus your goals elsewhere, on knowledge, wisdom, dignity and love (for example ;-).


The remarkably good news about our culture and time is you can actually chose those goals and live that life. Society won't exactly promote those objectives, but they won't block you either.


Corporate life is a great example of that mix. Companies do need to generate revenue to survive and thrive. However, a great deal of the interactions within corporations are based on respect, trust and kindness. People expect you to be reliable, do what you say you will, to work hard to improve the customer's experience and to be polite with and supportive of one another. Many times doing what you say and dealing with breakdowns is stressful and at times may feel unbalanced, but those situations tend to be more episodic not the norm.


Finding one's own balance in the workplace is complicated and can take years (literally decades) but certainly in my experience, I have been fortunate enough to find that balance for myself. I believe you can do that too, however, that will depend on you learning what things, activities nourish your soul and you being willing to make the sacrifices that often come from life choices which are personally enriching but stray from people's expectations.


Best,


Hagen

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Taylor’s Answer

Hey Madeline! Great question.


I think we as a society don't practice self-care as much because society moves so fast and everyone chugs along with it. People fear being left behind and want to be at the forefront of whatever they are working on. Self-care often falls behind getting ahead or studying for a test. Naturally, people are hyper-competitive and want to be the best. I think where self-care falls in depends on what you can handle. Whatever you can bit off and chew is best gauged by your experience. People often sacrifice sleep, food, etc. to do whatever they are doing. You just have to cognizant of your own well-being.


Good luck!

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Tamika’s Answer

I am so happy to hear that you are practicing self care. As life goes on time can slip away and life events make us busy . It is important to take the time out and press the pause button. I try to travel as much as I can, I have self care Sundays at home and complete home improvements in my house. My daughter is in her 3rd year of college and she practices self care with her home made face masks and deep conditioning her hair. Companies are expressing the importance of self care and peace of mind. Companies have great vacation perks and social groups regarding self care and self love. I believe happy workers are productive workers. Please spread the word to your college campus. Young people such as yourself should know the secrets of happiness wich begins with ~ Self Care ~.
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Amanda’s Answer

I think this is something that businesses are becoming more aware of. I've attended of sessions on resilience and I know there is support available through employee portals regarding nutrition, health and wellbeing. I've also participated in Twitter chats around mental health etc. If it is something you are interested in then see if there are others who feel the same and partner with them to create some of the support systems that you wish you had had access to yourself.

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Hanya’s Answer

Self care is definitely hard to practice during college, especially when there are a 1000 other things in your schedule preventing you from making time. I would recommend allocating at least one hour in the week for yourself to sit back and rewind. Your mind and body both need rest from all the support they give you 24/7!
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Amy’s Answer

I definitely think that self-care is not as encouraged as working hard and pressing on in the competitive, aim-high world. To me self-care can be as simple as taking a morning off to watch a movie that I like or spending time with friends and family and people that make me feel good. It can be exercising, playing a sport or ensuring that you maintain a healthy diet but also be the simple things that allow you to wind your mind down and relax. I enjoy travelling or reading or sometimes taking a very long bubbly bath!

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Rachel’s Answer

You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>



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