College is a strange place. Almost everyone is on the path to finding themselves, all the while dealing with the pressures of being in school. Between finances, grades, and maintaining a social life, stress can sometimes be inevitable. For a long time, I felt like everyone around me had this college life thing all figured out and I was the only one barely making the cut. While my friends had found their niche, I was still struggling to find an organization that matched my interests. What made things worse was the competitive nature of my school. We are taught to be the best at what we do, the true epitome of black excellence. The only thing that seemed to get me out of this rut was to work out. I could go for a run, and all of my negative thoughts were replaced with a feeling of empowerment. I loved the high from the “booty bootcamps” held bi-weekly in my dorm. With that realization came an interest in learning how I could stay happy, even when I didn’t have time to workout. I also didn’t want to feel reliant on my friends company to make me happy. So I turned to social media and did some digging. I found so many people, movements and organizations that were centered around self-care. This was one of the few times in which living in a crowded city worked to my advantage. There was a vast community of women on the path to wellness, and I wanted in.
All summer ’16 I was devoted to working on myself. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to make so many new connections and learn so much about what I wanted in life. There was one point, around mid July, that I was at an all time high. I would wake up, meditate, journal, and practice yoga before tackling my daily tasks.
I am so grateful that I was imperfectly made. The journey to accepting myself despite my flaws has revealed to me a few things that come with the experience.
•You get what you give, meaning that whatever you put out into the universe is typically what you get back. Some call it karma.
•Your friends may not join you on the path to self-care. Your relationships with people will change. And you have to be okay with that.
•Being intentional with your actions matters. It makes goals more achievable,and just life more livable overall.
•You can’t do it alone. Having someone (a mentor, therapist, or a good friend) who supports your journey is going to keep you balanced.
•You will never stop learning and evolving. There will be a point that self-care is like a second nature to you, but you should always keep expanding your knowledge of self and others.
My self-care techniques include putting my sanity first (seriously), being honest about my feelings towards myself and others, and putting myself on the path to be the wellness advocate I aspire to be. I still exercise, and have even taken on yoga teacher training. Lucky enough, I have also been able to lead an organization on my campus that inspires young women to make fitness fun. These blessings occurred when I decided I would show up for myself. And it’s only the beginning.