As college students we often put ourself at the very end of our priorities, myself included. This post is for the college kids out there who are not the best at prioritizing themselves, but want to learn how.
Self-care is rooted in appreciation. It is a celebration of all that your body and mind do for you and how much you do for others. Self-care can look different on each person. Your type of self-care may include time with friends or time alone. I am not defining self-care for you, but teaching you how to prioritize self-care.
Since self-care can look different for each human, I suggest that you learn three things about yourself:
1) How do you recharge?
This question is semi-connected to whether or not you are an introvert or an extrovert. Do you recharge best when you are surrounded by others, taking energy from them? Or do you recharge best when you spend time alone, cultivating energy yourself?
For me personally, I am an introvert. I recharge the best when I spend time alone or time in my head. This energy that I manifest comes from deep thinking and creating things. This doesn't mean that I have to be alone in a room, shut off foremother people, but rather when I don't talk to people even though we may share the same space.
2) Are you an internal processor or an external processor?
I did not know there was a defined term for whether or not you liked to think-aloud or think internally, but I found that through understanding this and defining this for myself I have been much more effective. An internal processor is someone who prefers to process information through thinking, and meditating on the information alone. An internal processor prefers journaling or thinking in their head. An external processor is someone who prefers to think aloud with a single person or a group. External processors seek their conclusions through processing out-loud and with other people.
Each person tends to be drawn to one or the other, but everyone tends to have a mix of both, but it is a matter of which method is most prominent.
For personal things, I prefer to journal or think in my head, but for concepts, ideas, or brainstorming I prefer to process externally. Journaling is a way of guiding my thoughts and I am able to have a free-flow of ideas, while I think group settings or one-on-one settings can be more filtered (on my part).
3) Energy Circle
This is a concept that I just recently came into contact with, but again, it is shaping the way I do self-care. This will be a craft (this is a more private graph, so don't just leave it anywhere).
Follow these instructions to make your own energy circle:
- take a piece of paper
- draw a circle in the middle and write your name in it. This represents you!
- think of the people that you hang around the most in any given week. Think of mentors, friends, classmates, co-workers, and anyone else. If you see them at least 3 times a week and they are significant to you, then they also get a small circle.
- now, in the upcoming week or month (up to you) log every interaction you have with them.
- if it was a positive interaction use a certain color to indicate that it was positive.
- if it was a negative interaction use a certain color to indicate that it was positive
- write the amount of hours or encounters that you had with them in circle as well
- once the time that you have allowed to make these recordings is up, analyze the charts and ask yourself these questions:
- who am I spending the most time with? Are the majority of these interactions positive or negative?
- who am I have the most positive interactions with? How much overall time am I spending with them?
- who am I having the most negative interactions with? How much overall time am I spending with them?
Now use this energy circle do determine who may be the most toxic in your life or how is taking a lot of energy from you. This is not to say that you need to cut them off, but maybe re-evaluate how much time you are spending with them.
Do this for one week! Really analyze yourself and take note of your preferences.