One of the most important things I learned in my first-year of law school actually had nothing to do with law school; it had to do with myself. Self-care is more important than most people would like to admit, but it is essential to our well being.
Like most law students, I was constantly stressed and anxious throughout the year. Being a first-generation college graduate, law student, and a black woman, at a predominately white institution, had me BEYOND stressed and anxious. I became mentally miserable and sometimes snappy at the people who cared about me, until I realized that I was neglecting my self-care.
I had a schedule of working out for at least 30 minutes a day, which I originally thought was going to be a way for me to incorporate self-care. I finally realized towards the end of my first-year of law school that although I was working out it wasn’t bringing me joy. I had to find away incorporate things that brought me joy in my everyday life. I hope these tips help you incorporate self-care in your everyday routine.
While working out isn’t something that brought me joy, I will say it is extremely important to get up and move, especially since we do everything from home now. Even if I don’t workout, I make it an effort to at least go outside. Whether that be sitting on my balcony and coloring, going to the pool, or going for a walk with my dog, Lulu. I’ve realized that natural light and air is a great and easy way to incorporate self-care into your everyday routine.
Even if you don’t like the outdoors, I suggest walking outside even if it’s just for 5 minutes as part of your self-care routine. It’s amazing what being outside can do for your mental health.
One of the things I learned about incorporating self-care in my everyday life is that a little self-care doesn’t have to be long. I used to think that in order to practice self-care I needed to block out at bare minimum 30 minutes. I finally realized that even a 10 minute break could be of great benefit for my self-care when I don’t have time do an in depth self-care session.
For me, taking a 10 minute break to look at Pinterest, practicing calligraphy, or coloring goes a long way. It’s amazing how doing just 10 minutes of self-care will make you feel so much better. My 10 minute breaks have now become 10 minutes of re-energizing my brain before moving on to the next task.
Although taking a self-care break, even if it is 10 minutes, is extremely important; it is also extremely important to plan out time for an in-depth session. One of the things I’ve begun doing, is dedicating at least 3 hours of my week to a self-care session. This could mean I stop work at 4 PM on Friday’s or I start my Saturday by reserving 3 hours for some me-time.
Since everything is online now, I make sure to tell the people who I know will contact me that my phone will be on DND. I’ve found it important, and relaxing, to just go 3 hours with my phone on DND because it gives me a chance to reconnect with myself.
Let’s all face it, the older we get the more we check our emails more than we check our text messages. I’ve learned that setting a time for me to stop checking emails is a form self-care by itself.
Throughout the day I realized that I began to feel anxious about potentially missing an email or notification; so I decided that I would stop checking my email at 9 PM. This has been one of the best boundaries that I have created for myself, but sometimes I still ended up checking my emails after 9 PM. If I do check my emails after 9 PM, and the email isn’t urgent, I either write a note for me to respond first thing in the morning or I mark it as unread.
I hope these self-care tips help you incorporate self-care into your everyday routine!