The dos and don'ts of self-care

This essay written by Aaron Crump, a student in business administration, is part of a series featuring graduate ambassadors' approaches to maintaining their mental wellness and prioritizing their self-care.  

How do I prioritize mental wellness as a graduate student? Well, to be honest, it hasn’t always been an easy concept for me to tackle. It wasn’t until recently I learned how important mental health is and exactly what is mental health. We all go through bouts of sadness, anxiety and negative self-perception. I was so used to these feelings that I thought it was just a normal process of life and ignored the negative effects these feelings had on me.

Fortunately, I have a great support system of extended friends who have now become my family and have guided me and shown me how to combat these feelings and not let them take over my life. While figuring how to prioritize my mental health, here are some activities I found work and some that don’t.  

Don’t drink alcohol for solace

This is an activity that unfortunately I did indulge in a lot. I chose this method because it was the easiest to access and I saw a lot of those around me doing it as well. But it didn’t help mend my pain or hurt.  

‘You are the sugar honey iced tea’

This is something I have to tell myself every hour on the hour. The reason why I do is because it is so easy to get lost in the chaos of comparing yourself to everyone else. Tell yourself you are enough, because you are!

Just breathe

No matter how simple this may seem, just do it. Breathing calms the brain and allows you to recenter yourself.

Don’t put off what you can do today for tomorrow

Stop procrastinating. I know it seems like we all have enough time to get that essay done and our self-care routine, but we all still get only 24 hours in a day. Sometimes you have to make you your first priority. Self-care isn’t selfish.

RELATED: Meet Graduate Ambassador Aaron Crump

Find activities that help you relax

Reading has helped me out a lot when it comes to prioritizing my mental health. I like fantasy fiction but plenty of nonfiction, too—books that deal with law of attraction and real estate.  

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