September 18, 2019

Prioritize Self-Care this Semester

posted on: Thursday August 29, 2019

Taking time away to read or listen to music is an easy way to engage in self-care. Nick Crenshaw ’20 / The Cowl.

by Joshua Chlebowski ’21

Opinion Staff

With the commencement of another academic year comes the opportunity to evaluate the successes of a previous one, determining what worked well and what needs to be changed. Among many of the aspects of life at Providence College to be considered is one’s development of a self-care plan.

Just as it is important to take care of yourself in regards to academic achievement, it is also vital that one takes care of their mental and emotional health. Self-care extends beyond just physical health, incorporating emotional wellbeing into the mix.

In an academic world where students are the recipients of various scholarships and are employed in different jobs, many of which rely upon a maintained level of academic achievement, the effort students dedicate to their classes can be overwhelming.

In fact, a 2018 study conducted by the American Psychology Association discovered that around one-third of its sample population of freshmen students reported suffering from at least one anxiety, mood, or substance disorder. 

As the academic year progresses, self-care often falls by the wayside, with students thinking that they will “get around to it eventually.” Unfortunately, self-care is not one of those things that should be postponed that easily.

Mounting stress levels, induced by balancing classwork, employment, and a busy social life can easily have negative repercussions that include irritability, fatigue, and even a weakening of physical health.

Thankfully, students at PC have a variety of resources available to them which can assist in finding and keeping up with a self-care routine that fits their desires and schedules. 

Social programming, offered by numerous on-campus departments and organizations, allows students to drop by and participate in activities such as game nights, free food giveaways, and various cultural celebrations. 

In addition to social programming,  PC students have access to a fitness center and a range of classes that make taking care of one’s physical health both fun and entertaining. Reserving a block of time, even one hour a week, helps to take one’s mind off the stressors of college life and channel them into energy and motivation during such a fitness class.

While the PC campus is often thought of in terms of a collection of routes taken to classes each day, the landscaping itself can aid one’s self-care practice. Taking a campus walk while listening to music or with a friend allows for the rapid pace at which college life runs to be momentarily slowed, allowing time to observe the details and beauty all around that is often ignored.

It would be remiss not to note that students have access to the Personal Counseling Center here on campus as well. Many students use this resource, and whether one stops by for one appointment or more than one, the counselors can help provide guidance and ideas for relieving some of the tremendous stress that students experience. 

Self-care practices are some of the many skills learned during one’s time here that can be carried out into the post-graduate world, further indicating the importance of developing one now as opposed to postponing it to some other time.

There is no doubt that life on campus can be overwhelming and exhausting, especially when coupled with an intense courseload occupying much of one’s free time. However, that does not mean this stress cannot be combatted. 

The beginning of a new year at PC offers both returning students and new students the opportunity to recommit themselves to finding and keeping a self-care regimen throughout the year, or at least for the first semester. Doing so ensures that even when the stress of classes kicks in, one will always have a plan to keep oneself grounded and combat some of the fatigue that sets in throughout the semester.

Self-care may just seem to be the buzzword of recent years, but the reality is that self-care is vital to success and a positive experience in any environment. Whether it is a short five minute breather, a quick stop by St. Dominic’s Chapel, or an hour of exercise once a week, there are many ways to discover and then practice self-care while here at PC. 

Though it can be easy to fall into the same routines of a previous semester, these first weeks provide the chance to break the cycles of stress by taking time to think and create a self-care plan with intention.

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