The Importance of a Self-Care Night
By Kileigh Ford
Going through midterms? Stressed from work? Anxiety starting to make you feel like you’re drowning again? One of the best things you can do for yourself is to take a night to relax. Self-care is something often believed to be a luxury that only few can afford, both from a time and monetary standpoint, but it’s so much easier than that. Self-care is for everyone. Being a college student with tons of school work on my plate in addition to two jobs and participating in organizations, I am no stranger to the toll that stress and anxiety can take on your mind and body. I can go from being fine one week to needing daily naps, having my back full of knots, and my face breaking out because of falling behind or the thought of what work is awaiting me. So finally, in my third year of schooling, I’ve implemented biweekly time for myself in the form of self-care nights.
Sometimes with friends, sometimes on my own, self-care nights are underrated saviors. Finishing work promptly to give yourself one night of relaxation pushes away that nagging feeling of what work is waiting to be done and once that pull is away, you can truly let yourself de-stress. Self-care sessions can come at any time but, for me, it’s most relaxing to have them at night. Start your time off with a meal for dinner that makes you feel good, whether that means you feel healthy eating it or it just tastes so good it warms you up, get that special food for yourself. Perhaps add a little dessert to go along with it just to make you happy (mud pie pudding is always a good choice).
Next is your time to get ready. I like starting off with a shower to feel that layer of your day come off and get clean as a reset. Put your comfiest pajamas on. Pull the coziest blanket you own down from the top shelf of your closet. Better yet, surround yourself in blankets and great pillows. Go crazy and make yourself a blanket fort if you’re feeling it – just create the most comfortable environment you can imagine.
Then, pick your entertainment. A movie, tv show, or an album. Your favorite, the new one you’ve been waiting to see or hear, a funny one – regardless of which category it falls into, it just has to be a good one. Throwing on an episode of The Office or Parks and Recreation with a friend or few is always a good move. Put your phone away during this, you don’t need to be on it every second of the day and putting it away lets you be with yourself for some ‘you time’.
And then comes your pampering session. Facemasks, tea, hair treatment, finally trying those samples you got with that order from Sephora a few months ago – do it all. My favorite face masks are the ones I’ve never done before, this is usually me using one of my friend’s clay face masks or those weird animal face masks I found at Target. Do whichever one you feel like you need the most – moisturizing, acne fighting, tightening – you can’t go wrong. Make yourself something nice to warm you up from the inside – tea or hot chocolate. Sleepytime is always a good choice to get you in that nearly sleepy, just comfortable spot. Now treat your hair. Spray detangler in it, or do a hair mask, or just brush it really nicely and put it in an updo for sleeping. Lastly, dig that little plastic bag where you keep your samples so you don’t lose them in and finally try them out. I used a Brazilian Butt Lotion last week and I don’t know if it actually did anything but it still felt like it was healing my body. Possibly placebo effect, but oh well.
The end to your self-care night, and possibly the most important, is to pour yourself a nice glass of water and get yourself to sleep early. Nothing is as healing as a full night’s sleep. You’ll be amazed at how you don’t need that extra cup of coffee in the morning and how much energy getting up early gives you.
This is just my form of a self-care night, not by any means the textbook definition of how to allow yourself to relax. Self-care routines come in many shapes and sizes, and vary depending on one’s personal needs. Generally, traditional methods of self-care are criticized for solely being available to people who have the time and money to devote to these practices, but self-care is not exclusive to these tactics. One person may practice it in a physical way, like the kind I’ve outlined above. To others, a time of care may be straightening up your environment by cleaning your room or organizing a planner of your week. And a third person could focus on their emotional side, by going to therapy or talking to a friend about what is going on in their life.
Self-care is something attainable to everyone, and a universal necessity. Tailored to your needs and availability, self-care can be simple with no need for specific rituals or products; It's all about what makes you feel that you are reset and relaxed. Maybe one time is just a temporary fix to your year of stress but the point is to make time for yourself and show your body you value it. It feels great to treat yourself to care and have a calm night every once in awhile, because it makes you feel better about yourself, especially in the midst of a montage of work. So take care of yourself, be nice to your body, and give your mind a break every once in a while through whatever self-care night you’d like to personalize for yourself.