If you ever see me on the treadmill at Trudy Fitness Center, you’ll also have the pleasure of watching me mouth the words to the entirety of “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj while doing an uncomfortable hybrid of dancing and running. That three minutes and 58 seconds is my favorite part of working out because, despite being sweaty, looking ridiculous and tripping over my own feet, I spend that entire song absolutely feeling myself.
Self-love and self-care are essential to the relationship we have with ourselves and others, but remembering to do those things turns out to be a real challenge when attempting to balance a full schedule of classes, clubs, jobs and friends. A general stereotype of Colgate students is that we’re busy. In fact, a friend of mine phrased it nicely: “we keep our fingers in too many pies.” If you have your fingers in so many pies that you do not have time for self-care, you need to give up on some of those pies. No love for pie can outmatch love for yourself.
Even after taking a break from all of your pies, it can be arduous to figure out how to take time to focus on yourself. At home, most people unknowingly establish habits of self-care. Walking the dog, taking a bath, reading in your favorite chair, driving alone and singing along to the radio – these activities were built into everyday life and didn’t require any forethought or effort. You knew where to go to find peace and be alone. Coming to Colgate means abandoning the routines of home, and consequently breaking the routine of self-care. It becomes a challenge to find peace, quiet and alone time. It feels weird to actively cut yourself off from people when living on campus entails being constantly surrounded by not just peers but friends.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to force yourself to take a break and focus on you and only you. My legacies course recently read the Bible, and during the discussion my professor made a point about one of the key tenements of Christianity, “love thy neighbor.” The whole quote is actually, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” We model our love for others off of the love we hold for ourselves. Loving ourselves requires constant upkeep, just like any other relationship. If you never say “I love you” to someone, the person won’t know that you love them.
There are lots of ways to show yourself some tender loving care. You could always take Nicki Minaj’s advice and literally feel yourself. Studies have shown that self-stimulation releases endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin into the nervous system, which relax the brain and have significant, positive impacts on body image and self-care. Keeping a journal, going on hikes around campus, trying a new creative pursuit (clay club, anyone?), making a list of things to be thankful for, turning your phone off and grabbing a solo cup of coffee. The list goes on and on, but ultimately anything that can aid in self-reflection and relaxation is beneficial. The most important part of self-service is figuring out what you value and what you want in life and love. You’ll never get what you want if you don’t know what that is in the first place.
Yo B, they ready. Let’s go.