As a full time graduate student with a job, internships, & other responsibilities, it is necessary for me to actively carve out self-care time everyday. I try to give myself a few hours every night to unwind & not worry about my daily tasks. Every night, I take time to wash my face before bed. Baking, reading, and streaming (currently binging Schitt’s Creek!) are all things I enjoy doing on my off days. I pace myself, spreading my workload throughout the week rather than leaving it all to be done right at the deadline, & I try to give myself one day every week where I can leave my responsibilities behind & just relax.
Self-care is an important part of my routine to prevent feeling overwhelmed by my job, graduate studies, or other responsibilities and commitment. On some days, it’s as simple as painting my nails or enjoying a cup of coffee outside. On others, it could be a lavish bubble bath or spending the afternoon repotting and caring for my house plants. To me, it’s important that I give myself a break and dedicate time to my comfort.
Incorporating self-care into my daily routine and overall lifestyle with intention has been critical to my overall well-being as I’ve balanced full time on top of part time employment while being a full time student and caregiver (pre-pandemic) amidst other commitments. Simply, it’s putting on a pair of comfy socks after a long day on my feet, wearing blue-screen glasses on heavy tech days or slowly sipping tea. I usually start and end my day reading a book (even if it’s only for a few minutes) to relax, while on more “lavish” days I enjoy taking a bath with aromatherapy, or I paint. I regularly meditate, stretch and dance to mitigate stress, anxiety and life’s challenges.
Running is my favorite form of self-care! Running is my “me time” and one of the only parts of my day where I feel I can totally unplug from the world. I lace up my shoes, throw my headphones in, and take at least 30 minutes a day to be fully present in the outdoors. I don’t worry about texts, phone calls, or emails – I just run!
For me, my self-care routine changes – sometimes daily – depending on what is going on in my life or what my mood is at the time. Sometimes all I need to “reset” is to change into my pajamas, pour myself a glass of wine, and watch my favorite movie with a cat on my lap. But sometimes I find I need to be doing something more stimulating, something with my hands – which is why baking and crafting are also my go-tos when I need to destress and relax. I also enjoy being outdoors – particularly if it involves beautiful scenery. I’ve noticed that taking time for myself not only helps me feel happier and healthier, but that it also helps me be more productive when I return to work!
One important part of my self-care are the 8 limbs of yoga. I have a daily practice that includes a short asana practice and I read from various yoga books (I love yoga ethics and philosophy!). I believe self-care is non-negotiable and changes. Sometimes I find myself needing to curl up under a blanket and listen to some music, while other times I take a hot shower or re-watch a show I’ve seen 5 times. Another practice that straddles passion and self-care is art! I love painting with acrylic on wood or paper and over time, it has become a meditative practice and way for me to process.
NEMPN’s Self-Care Committee aims to help EMPs become more aware of their emotional, mental, physical, and social needs and learn about self-care practices they can adopt to address these needs. We are committed to serving EMPs with different perspectives and from all different backgrounds. Learn more about the Self-Care Committee.