How to find the time for self-care


Mia Mihalic (12) works on her triceps at the gym. For Mihalic, working out is a way of self-care that helps her.

The alarm rings at 4:30 a.m. The girl sits up, stretches and prepares to go for her daily five mile run. After that, she catches 30 minutes of yoga, reads three chapters of a self-improvement book and eats a breakfast of tomato slices before going to school. After school, it’s time for a bubble bath and three different face masks. 

Though this is what many people imagine when hearing the words “self-care,” it is highly inaccurate. In reality, self-care describes the simple things people do to look after themselves, and it is essential for stress control and everyday functioning. Self-care is especially important for highschoolers due to high stress levels, and it can be broken down into two simple categories: taking care of your body and your mind. 

Taking care of your body

In a TSP survey of 46 students, 65.2% of respondents reported that they have trouble finding time for self-care. Mrs. Erin Jaffe, a physical education teacher, said her students often complain about this issue.

“They say ‘I don’t have time for it,’ but not making time for it is adding to the stress,” Mrs. Jaffe said.  

An easy way to fit in time for self-care throughout the day is to focus on small things you can do to take care of your body, and use these things to create a routine. Whether you choose to use the passing periods or right before lunch, it will eventually become second nature. 

“I always recommend in between classes, not sitting on your computer or sitting on your phone… get up, go drink some water, [or] walk around your house,” Mrs. Jaffe said.

Personally, I use the passing periods to do some stretches and to walk downstairs to get some water. It keeps my body moving and helps me stay hydrated. Another way to keep moving is using the newly-lengthened lunch period to exercise. 

“I go to the gym pretty much every day,” Mia Mihalic (12) said. “Sometimes I do take breaks… but I’ll usually go just for a little during the office hours and lunch break or after school.”

Even if it isn’t a daily thing, every little bit helps. 

Taking care of your mind

On the other hand, the mental aspect of self-care is just as important. Keeping your body healthy helps manage stress, but taking care of your mind can help prevent it altogether. 

One great way to take care of your mind is to use the hobbies you are interested in as self-care. They can help calm you down and melt stress away. For example, if you find that you have trouble sleeping, you can use them to help relax you before bed.

“I like to read, and sometimes I journal… at night once I’ve finished everything and I’m ready to go to bed,” Allison Klemstein (11) said.

Another student who uses journaling as self-care is Kiley Brockway (11).

“If I’m working on something and I find that I’m getting really burnt out, I’ll take like 30 minutes… to bullet journal,” Brockway said. 

A bullet journal is essentially a self-made planner, and it is a great way to fuse art and organization. I personally find that drawing in mine is a great way to relax; it allows me to be more efficient because I know exactly what I have to do and when. 

However, neither reading nor journaling is for everyone, so the most important thing in a hobby is to find what works best for you. Once you do, you are that much closer to being a healthier and less stressed you.