The Importance of Self-care for Academic Development
What is self-care?
Self-care is anything done deliberately to maintain emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing, this can include exercise, eating healthily, resting and socialising. Many of us, especially students forget to prioritise activities deemed as self-care. Self-care encourages you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can be the best person you can be. This translates into a more focused, attentive approach to academia. You cannot give to your work, what you don’t have yourself.
There is a general misconstrued idea that self-care is selfish, however it’s far from that. When you pay adequate attention to your well-being, you’re not considering your needs alone. You’re taking care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for the people around you. Everyone around you also benefits from the renewed energy and joy you exhibit as a result of practicing self-care.
How can you practice self-care?
There are a variety of things you can do to practice self-care;
- Pay attention to your physical health: exercise regularly if possible, ensure you maintain your health by visiting doctors, dentists, and opticians regularly.
- Get enough sleep: maintain a regular bed-time routine, try to rest and take a nap to renew energy.
- Prioritise eating fruit and vegetables: eating healthily will boost you physical health and immune system.
- Learn to say no: practice saying no, avoid tedious or difficult events that drain your energy.
- Practice gratitude: take the time to identify what you are thankful for, perhaps use a diary or journal to do this.
- Identify what matters to you: who is important to you? What do you need to prioritise in you academic life, in your personal life?
Of course, trying all of these in one go would be incredibly overwhelming. Therefore, try to pick a couple of these actions to begin with. Practicing self-care can be difficult, therefore it is best to take it one step at a time.
Why should you practice self-care?
In a study conducted by O’Neill, Slater and Batt found that students who practiced self-care had lower academic stress. Therefore, their academic performance was characterised as being influenced by lower stress levels. This in turn gave the students a better experience during their course.