By Getssemany Rivera, Class of 2016
University of Denver
Wellness is an essential part of college that many students, including myself, do not prioritize. In the grand scheme of everything self-care can seem like a luxury, especially when you feel the constant pressure of achieving academic success. Every spare minute I had was consumed by school or other responsibilities. Before college I had never truly developed any wellness practices. On the other hand, I habitually over exerted myself and made little or no time to take care of myself. At the time it did not seem important because my daily life was not being impacted by the lack of care for myself. Coming into college and learning about self-care for the first time, I thought about it as an all-or-nothing. Either I went all out with face masks, bath bombs, soothing music, long baths, etc. or I did nothing at all. But with trial and error I have learned that it is more about the small things: drinking water regularly, showering, brushing your teeth, eating and sleeping.
Self-care is the daily habits you build to take care of yourself each and every day. It is making sure that you take care of your mental health before anything else. If you don’t take care of yourself who will? It is still a hard pill to swallow some days. I am nowhere near where I want to be and some days it takes a lot of energy to take care of myself, but little by little, I have learned to take care of me before anything else. I have used the resources on campus, I practice mindfulness and am continuously seeking my spiritual connection, all in the hopes to better take care of myself. I have come learn to the importance of taking care of myself, despite coming from a Latinx family where mental health and self-care are taboo and rarely practiced. It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey to have arrived where I am today. I have found peace and while at times that peace is disturbed, through these three years in college, I have built coping skills that have allowed me to always come back to my inner peace. Caring for myself has been one of the hardest lessons to learn through college but I know it is one that is vital in order for me to succeed in a demanding academic setting. For I have learned that success is in your ability to put yourself first when you truly need to.