During my short professional career as a clinical psychology doctoral student, I have learned that many people struggle with this thing called “life.”
As a patient once told me, “No te dan un manual para ser humano.” Translation: “You don’t get a manual for being a human being.” Sometimes I wish we could because God knows that I have been tested with difficult situations.
All my friends would tell you that I am a very positive individual; but when you’re going to school full-time, working full-time, trying to stay healthy, and making an effort to be social. . .IT. BECOMES. EXHAUSTING.
Sometimes I find it hard to balance everything and I often have to prioritize my to-dos. Sticky notes and my planner are my best friend. I hate to say it, but I live off my good old-fashioned paper and pencil planner. Without it I’d be lost! Part of being a graduate student includes running around all over town to different practicum sites, supervision meetings, client appointments, training seminars, and more. However, as exhausting as it may be, it is also extremely rewarding.
The past two and a half years of graduate school have taught me the importance of self-care. l have made it a habit to pencil in self-care times in my busy schedule. Whether it is a ten-minute mindfulness meditation session on my Headspace app or an hour bike ride by Lake Michigan.
I believe there is a common misconception that a person has to set aside a huge amount of time to do self-care. Honestly, it can be as short and simple as taking a bubble bath, painting your nails, walking around your block, putting on a mud mask or reading a chapter out of your fill-in-the-blank novel!
It does not have to be a long, laborious event. For example, deep breathing has helped me tremendously to reconnect with the world around me and avoid becoming overwhelmed with the daily life stressors.
The important thing with self-care (any moment really) is for a person to try to fully engage in that moment and set aside your thoughts and feelings about that 15-page paper due next week or where you’re going to match for your internship.
Those few minutes of self-care a day is what your mind and body need in order to release tension, recharge, and feel more relaxed. Then you can be ready to tackle that presentation on that neuropeptide that you can’t even pronounce.
I make it a priority to surround myself with supportive people and try to love myself more each day.
It’s important to challenge yourself to create a kinder and more balanced self-image by making it a daily habit to appreciate yourself. I tell this to myself and almost all of my patients and clients: “Remember, be kind to yourself!”