As finals season begins, there’s a lot of talk about self-care. Comfort dogs visit campus, clubs hand out face masks and coffee shops become crowded. Students can see self-care as some form of overly luxurious alone time — spending all evening in a bubble bath or applying numerous face masks.
Self-care is often defined as a complete break from responsibility.
While everyone needs a break, constructing self-care as a stress-free alternative to work can lead to unhealthy ideas of what constitutes self-care and poor study habits.
Categorizing self-care as simple breaks from responsibility can be used to justify avoidance. It’s easy and convenient to claim that continually putting off work from a challenging class is a form of self-care. Avoiding an assignment or waiting until the last possible moment to submit a paper? Self-care. Going out drinking to forget about an upcoming project? Self-care.
Self-care isn’t all relaxing evenings at home and nights out with friends.
Self-care is often challenging. Sometimes it’s forcing yourself to start a paper early, so you won’t have to pull an all-nighter.
It can be setting up a schedule that allots time for both work and spending time with friends, or just by yourself and sticking to it.
Self-care can be saying no to going out so you can go to sleep early.
Self-care is supposed to be an activity that decreases stress and allows you to focus on yourself and your well-being. It shouldn’t be something that ultimately makes life harder.
In this forum, psychology sophomore Alyssa Rosales discusses common misconceptions about self-care and how she applies self-care to her study habits.
UT social work alum Magaly Maldonado Lopez describes the negative effects of using alcohol as a substitute for proper self-care and encourages current students to find self-care activities that don’t merely put off stress.
As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or any other, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.