Urgent Support

Caring for yourself!

Rashid had always believed in pushing himself as much as possible. He believed strongly in the adage, “No pain, no gain.” Thus, he often found himself missing out on things such as getting enough rest, spending quality time with his loved ones etc. because he was always focused on getting some or the other task done... He would even reserve some of the lighter tasks to finish during his meal times. Even after putting in all this effort, he would often get a feeling of not having done enough. At the end of the day, he would recount his day going through his tasks, and think about the mistakes he made that day and then would start to feel miserable about them. He believed that being harsh with oneself was the only way he would be able to achieve something.

Before we begin...

Think about the last few days and answer:

What are some of the ways in which you have taken care of yourself?

INITIATION

What is self-care?

Self-care refers to all the actions we undertake consciously that care for our physical, emotional, spiritual, mental well-being; all the ways in which we take care of ourselves. While this may seem like a simple and an obvious concept, it is more likely that in our everyday lives we spend very little time caring and replenishing.

Which brings us to some commonly held beliefs by students...

I already have so many things to do. I can’t afford to spend time on myself!

It's true that your college life is extremely demanding. Given your academic course, extra-curricular activities and many other challenges that you have to face, it can seem unnecessary and difficult to prioritize self-care. But this is exactly what makes self-care all the more important. Think of it as simple things that you can do to help recharge your own batteries!

Self-care gives us energy, helps us be better equipped and have more resources at our disposal. There will always be a new assignment to complete, an upcoming test, an event or any other demand. But consciously creating time for yourself (even if that’s just a dedicated 15-20 minutes of your day) can help you feel more balanced throughout your four years. Plus, you’re less likely to feel burnt out and be much more productive in your remaining time.

I work best when I push myself. Self-care will make me slack!

When it comes to being productive and efficient, many students believe that doing more, resting less is what produces results. While it may help in the short run, being unfairly harsh towards ourselves and not meeting our needs can have other negative effects. By practicing self-care, you can achieve the same (if not better) results while also not depleting yourself.

Additionally, self-care is known to help reduce stress, an important part of emotional and physical health, and necessary for our relationship with ourselves and in turn, with others.

(Based on the Hierarchy of Self-Care by Whitney Goodman)

I don’t have the resources/means for fancy things.

This pyramid shows the hierarchy of self-care; the ones at the bottom are more fundamental to our wellbeing, while the ones toward the top aim to enrich our well-being further. Thus, self-care isn’t just about fancy meals, visiting a spa or getting an expensive gym membership. It is about recognizing what our needs are, and effectively addressing them.

For one person, it could be something as simple as getting enough sleep, or taking a walk around the campus, while for another it could mean not being too hard on themselves after making a mistake/ not scoring as much as they would have liked to. For some it could be setting boundaries in relationships, or taking a break (it’s as much about things that you don’t want to do). It’s essential to remember that these activities are not just benefitting in the short run but also contribute to your long-term well-being (binge eating or watching an entire season of your current favorite show isn’t necessarily self-care).

  • So, to begin, first think about what your needs are.
  • Start with small purposeful efforts to meet them.
  • Lastly, remember that self-care isn’t selfish but a necessary thing. Try it for a couple of weeks and check-in with yourself about how it makes you feel.

Worksheet: Some examples:

Connecting with friends Exercise Setting boundaries with people
Reaching out for support Meditation Journaling
Disconnecting from social media Reading for leisure Any spiritual practice
Taking a walk Sports Maintaining a schedule
Yoga Spending time outdoors Sleeping, eating well

Social

Things I can do to feel more connected:

Things I can do if I am feeling overwhelmed:

Physical

Things I can do to be physically active:

Things I can do to feel physically relaxed:

Spiritual

Things I can do to center myself:

Emotional

Things I can do to express my emotions:

Things I can do to soothe myself emotionally:

Intellectual

Things I can do to stimulate myself intellectually:

Things I can do to take a break from intellectual stimulation:

Spiritual

Things I can do to center myself:

50 ways to take a break

Find more ideas here

50 ways to take a break

'50 Ways to Take a Break' by Karen Horneffer-Ginter

If you're looking for some support on this journey, please don't hesitate to reach out to the support systems available to you on campus.

  • For most concerns, your ISMP/ ISCP mentor is your go-to person! Your mentor has been there, done that.
  • For physical ailments, lethargy, not being able to eat or sleep properly, or stress, approach the IIT Hospital.
  • When the emotions get overwhelming or when you are simply confused about what is happening to you, talking to a counsellor at the Student Wellness Centre could give relief and provide guidance about what you can do.
  • Your parents are just a phone call away. Don’t hold back from contacting them even if you just want to unburden!