RENEE TAPIA; Mag Writer; tapiarl@plu.edu

There is a Spanish proverb that says “How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.” In the heat of the school year it can be easy for mental health to deteriorate, but three members of the Pacific Lutheran University community shared their ideas about self-care and how you can practice over it winter break.

“It’s really important to realize how easy integrating self-care can be.”

-Megan Cook, CGE Program and Volunteer Coordinator

What is Self-Care?

“Self-care can be defined differently for everybody,” senior Kailey Robinson said. “People have to take different steps to take care of themselves. You have to heal in your own way.”

Megan Cook, the Program and Volunteer Coordinator at the Center for Gender Equity, said self-care is simply finding some way to turn your brain off.

Cook wants students to realize that taking care of yourself does not have to be something you earn or buy.

“It’s really important to realize how easy integrating self-care can be,” Cook said.

Senior Kimberly Belmes agrees that self-care can be simply stopping what you’re doing for the sake of recharging.

“It’s knowing when to take a break and relax,” Belmes said. “I’m very academically oriented, so it’s hard for me to take a break and just not worry about the homework.”

PHOTO BY BROOKE THAMES
Kailey Robinson’s self-care includes relaxing in the tub with her favorite Netflix shows.

What does practicing self-care look like?

Robinson, Cook and Belmes shared their own methods of self-care and how they will be spending their winter breaks.

“A lot of the time my go-tos are shows or YouTube videos. It’s nice to have that 23 minutes where I’m there and present,” Cook said.

When she has more time, Cook said she loves going on walks.

“Especially when I’m home. It’s a really nice way to catch up with my parents,” Cook said.

Belmes also values spending time with loved ones to take a break.

“Spending time with friends and family always means self-care to me,” Belmes said.

She also practices self-care by stepping away from her routine and taking time to be cozy.

“I get comfy on the couch, pull up a blanket, drink hot chocolate and watch Hallmark Christmas movies,” Belmes said.

Robinson has two go-to recharging methods: Spa day and Chipotle. She likes to take baths, and said she saves her bath bombs for especially rough days.

“I bring my laptop and watch Netflix in the bath and give myself a little spa day,” Robinson said. “My special treat is getting Chipotle. I don’t get it very often, so I save it for those special occasions when I really need some comfort food.”

What can students do over winter break to recharge?

When you ask yourself what you can do to personalize your self-care, Cook said to ask yourself, “What would I do if I had all the time in the world?” Cook recommended spending time on something you never have time to do during the school year.

“If you find things that you don’t have time to do because you’re busy with schoolwork, it makes it all the more special when you do have time,” Cook said.

“I am such an advocate for taking a minute, an hour, or even a full day to yourself to do what you like to do.”

-Kailey Robinson, senior

While you’re at home, take time to hang out with the ones you love. Time spent with someone who supports you unconditionally can help you see how to support yourself the same way.

“I feel like you can’t recharge more than spending time with loved ones,” Belmes said. “It recharges you mentally and emotionally, and if you’re just relaxing together, then physically too.”

An extremely sustainable self-care practice you can carry with you after the holiday is over is taking good, long breaks.

“Take a second to put everything away,” Robinson advised. “I am such an advocate for taking a minute, an hour or even a full day to yourself to do what you like to do.”

What outlets for care and expression are available?

This winter will be a great time to find outlets you enjoy to get you away from your desk. The CGE is always a place where students can come to unwind, Cook reminded students.

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY
Locations like Throwing Mud Gallery, Java and Clay Café and Painted Plate provide pottery to paint and pick up after it’s been glazed.

Belmes finds relaxation while driving in her car.

“It’s a time where I’m forced to not think about homework and just listen to music,” Belmes said.

Belmes also recommended going pottery painting. Locations like Throwing Mud Gallery, Java and Clay Café and Painted Plate provide pottery to paint and pick up after it’s been glazed.

For those 21 and over, Robinson suggested wine and paint night events, but also promoted physical activities to relieve mental exhaustion.

“I have been looking into doing kickboxing,” Robinson said. “I’ve heard people lose around 40 pounds, which is insane, but also I just want to punch something. You get stronger, more confident, and more motivated.”

Winter break is a great time to get in the groove of taking time to yourself. Taking a break is a necessity and should not feel like a sacrifice. Don’t think of it as an obstacle between you and your work, but as a booster to help you do your best.

We all exist in a world that values constant forward motion, but you will thrive if you take time to do absolutely nothing.

You are the most important. Take care of yourself. Take time to do nothing, and then rest afterward. ◼︎

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