Self-care is a buzzword we hear a lot nowadays, especially regarding mental health. 2019 has already been deemed as “the year of self-care,” but it’s hard to care for yourself when your overall health isn’t top-of-mind. As a college student, I’ve had to learn the concept of self-care the hard way by not putting my well-being before all of my to-dos.
Last year was a hard one for me. I found myself struggling with a difficult roommate situation, while also trying to balance my responsibilities as a student and an athlete. Somewhere along the way, I started to feel like I was running in mud. I had a lot of sleepless nights, worrying about my roommates and the early morning I had the next day, and I realized I was experiencing anxiety for the first time. The outside pressures from school, athletics, and roommate issues had accumulated, and they were affecting every aspect of my life. One day, the Lord completely convicted me of how fixated I had become on what needed to be checked off my list that I totally neglected my mind and spirit in the process.
Throughout the last year, I’ve come to value the importance of not letting my mental and spiritual health take the backseat to my other responsibilities. These areas are too important to let them fall aside. No matter how much you have on your plate, it’s important to create space for yourself to relax and reflect so that you don’t get overwhelmed by what is going on around you.
One way you can create space for self-care is to simply do things for yourself that you enjoy every now and then. For me, it’s going on a run or watching a movie in my pjs, but for you, it might be treating yourself to a manicure, a long walk, or reading a book. Whatever helps you relax, do that as often as possible to give your mind time to recharge from the incredible work you are doing.
Most importantly, stay consistently rooted in the unfailing word of God. Our mind and spirit are most satisfied when we are in community with our Creator. One of the areas I neglected the most last year was my quiet time, but I knew it was the very thing I needed to fill my spirit. My anxieties stemmed from constantly running on empty and never making time to be filled. Whatever time I have now—whether that’s 5 minutes or 30 minutes—I have to make time to sit and be with the Lord every day. Sometimes that looks like reading the Word, journaling, or praying, and sometimes it’s a combination of all three. Regardless of how we choose to spend time with God, the time we spend with Him—asking for the things we need and thanking Him for who He is—undoubtedly changes the entire trajectory of the day.
I challenge you to think about how you can elevate your self-care this week. Treat yourself to that massage and spend time intentionally praying over your life and those around you. My prayer is that you would create the space you desperately need this week to renew your mind and spirit and shed the excess anxiety, doubt and fear that weighs you down.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)