How-to: Practice self-care and still be productive

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As high schools students, we are subjected to over seven hours of class per day, get roughly six hours of sleep and partake in a multitude of extracurricular activities plus daily living routines. Oh, and don’t forget about the dreaded hours of homework each and every night. So, in a generation where depression and anxiety are at all time highs, we must intentionally strive to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally in the crazy reality of high school.

That’s where self-care, the official 2019 trend, comes into play. Instagram stories, tweets and Pinterest posts are riddled with tips and tricks romanticizing self-care. Albeit there’s nothing wrong with a good bubble bath, face mask and lavender candle, not all self-care has to be bubbly. While people pamper themselves under the guise of self-care, we must understand it doesn’t always have to be that standard. Simple actions like taking off your makeup even when you’re tired or grabbing a breakfast bar to stay energized prove just as crucial. Nowadays, society thrusts self-care under the limelight, as people bask in the ambiance associated with it. But in the end, it’s the little things throughout the day that add up to become the most beneficial.

Now, how does one practice even the simple bits of self-care in a schedule crazier than (what feels like) anyone else’s? The answer is balance.

Though it is completely justified and needed sometimes, many people use mental health nights as an excuse to simply be lazy. As the trend goes, self-care comes before anything else (and rightly so), but there is a distinct point where self-care becomes synonymous with procrastination. That’s when there’s an issue.

A basic guideline to live by: however much time you spend relaxing taking some much needed “me time,” spend just as much time building your empire on that work grind. Instead of being so stressed out about the assignments that you plunge into Netflix and lavender candle bliss, use “me time” as an incentive. Trust me, it’ll feel much more rewarding to sit down and sigh a breath of relief before unwinding for the evening with nothing on the to-do list.

In the end, it’s the little things throughout the day that add up. Wake up three minutes early so you have time to pop a cup of oatmeal in the microwave and grab a banana. When you fail the test, take a second to breathe and reflect on how you can do better before vocalizing your struggles to people who probably don’t even care. When you get home with a pile of homework and a grumbling stomach, eat dinner before anything else—you need to fuel up.

And remember: self-care shouldn’t be 20 minutes of the day spent recouping from the other 1420. It’s choosing to do what’s best for your mental and physical health in every single decision you make throughout the whole day.