Navigating this world as a young black woman in 2018 can be a challenge sometimes.
I’m constantly making sure not to get swept into the social pressures that college can bring along or allowing the 24 hour news cycle to dictate my faith in humanity. Taking care of myself mentally and physically is not always easy however it is necessary in order to survive.
I learned how to make my needs a priority in 2016.This was a huge year for me. I was turning 18, starting college and voting for the first time in what is deemed as “the most controversial election in recent US history”. These milestones taught me a two major lessons in self-care and self-preservation that I apply to my everyday life.
Knowing My Limits
College is a breeding ground for freedom. You can choose to take night classes so that you can sleep in during the day or take morning classes so you can party all night. It’s all up to you! And as much as that newfound freedom was amazing, I still had to make sure I wasn’t abusing it. I knew it was impossible for me out until 2 a.m. on a weeknight and then show up to my 9 a.m. class ready to learn. So I made sure I was in bed by a certain time and that I got plenty of sleep.
College students are notorious for cramming and pulling all-nighters for assignments. I’m the complete opposite of this. I turn in all my assignments ahead of time and make sure I gradually study throughout the week. This helps me stay on top of my work and not stress too much about it if the deadlines are close together.
This lesson is also applicable to my eating habits while I’m in school. Since I’m away from home cooked food I try to balance my meals with enough meat, starch and vegetables to nourish my body. I also take advantage of the fresh fruit options on my campus. I’m in no way the healthiest eater but I make sure I eat what I need to energize myself throughout the day. I know people at my school who only eat junk food like pasta, pizza and chicken tenders from the dining hall. For them that might work and be what their bodies need to power through the day however for me it isn’t. And that’s the whole point.
What I can handle isn’t going to be the same as what someone else can handle. Knowing my limits prevents me from overextending myself and burning out.
Filtering Out Content
If you’re like me then you’re probably on your phone for a good portion of the day. Unfortunately, I had the discipline to go on a social media cleanse. However, I’ve been gradually filtering the content I come across on my timeline and feed.
When the current president was elected, I was in panic mode. I had to make sure I was aware of every single policy this administration was enacting or trying to because the majority of them do not possess the qualifications to run their specific departments. At one point getting constant news alerts and seeing negativity on social media was affecting my overall attitude toward society.
I then realized that I can unfollow those people just as quickly as I followed them. And up-to-date news alerts aren’t necessary in order to know what’s going on. I know I’m probably staring the obvious but in this current time we’re living in everyone feels like they have to be in the know 24/7.
So it’s been refreshing to see a range of emotions and topics being addressed. I’m still very much informed about politics and the world at large however I’m not invested to the point where it can sway my mood.
Billions of people like myself who have access to smartphones and the internet are consuming information nonstop. Therefore, it’s important for my sanity that I’m consuming information that’s honest, real and contributing to society in a positive way.
As you can see my definition of self-care goes beyond having a spa day every other week. It’s something that I’m constantly working at. And if I can’t take care of my needs whether they be physical, mental or emotional then I can’t be the best version of myself.
Although a spa day doesn’t sound too bad right now.
Written By Alexandria Brooks
Alexandria is journalism student who loves all things food, lifestyle, fashion, and politics. Her writing tends to do the talking when she can’t find the words to do so. Overall she's a driven young woman who’s excited for what the future holds for her career!