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 [email protected]