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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Self-care shouldn’t cost you a fortune

It’s more than just a face mask 

Ever since “Self Care Sunday” became a trend, stores like Sephora have flourished with girls spending a fortune on face masks and bath bombs. I’m a fan of a good clay mask and a colorful bath. I’m not, however, a fan of dedicating just one day to self-care. Our bodies are our temples and deserve to be taken care of every day with more than just beauty products.

The wild popularity of this trend has created the misconception that self-care is something to be bought and that it only pertains to our skin. Rather, true self-care includes taking care of both our minds and bodies every day. 

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time doing homework and chugging multiple cups of coffee just to get through the day. There almost never seems to be time to take care of myself. I’m lucky if I go to bed before midnight, let alone put on a face mask or paint my nails. But no matter how hard I try, I know I can’t just run on coffee and zero hours of sleep, so I’ve had to learn the importance of self-care. This means taking time out of each day to maintain my needs and keep myself sane. 

One of the best ways we can take care of our bodies is to eat food — but not just any food. Filling our bodies with sugar and saturated fats will only add to our problems. Instead, we should focus on eating clean, healthy foods that provide our bodies with the nutrition it craves. This includes foods that are fresh and unprocessed and compose well-balanced meals. It’s important to take care of our bodies from the inside out, especially when we demand so much of ourselves as students. 

This is not to say we shouldn’t indulge in comfort food from time to time. There are moments that warrant eating cake instead of an apple, and that is okay. In fact, I encourage you to do what will make you feel better — you are your own boss. Just keep in mind that you can’t survive on cake alone. 

In a similar vein, you also can’t survive on just a few hours of sleep. There are many scientific reasons why that’s not possible, but you didn’t come here to have me explain that to you. Instead, I will say that sleep is just as important as eating. Just as we need the nutrients from food, we also need to recharge by sleeping — a fancy face mask doesn’t provide these benefits. 

There are a plethora of ways in which you can take care of your body, but if you have ever taken a health psychology class, you know you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind. So it’s important to incorporate self-care activities that focus on your mind too. 

If you find yourself struggling to find ideas, Pinterest has a huge supply of yoga poses, journal prompts and crafts that help put the mind at ease. If this is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other alternatives that may be helpful. Talking to a friend, going for a walk or even taking a long-overdue nap may be better for you. When it comes to our mental health, it’s important that we do what works best for ourselves — there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for an at-home spa day. But we shouldn’t rely solely on our skin care products for self-care. Instead, these habits should be integrated with our other personal care practices to create the ultimate self-care routine. Sometimes the best thing for us costs no money at all and requires very little time and effort. 

Self-care is different for everyone; there is no right or wrong way. So I encourage you to keep buying your favorite products, just make sure that while you do that, you also fuel your body, get some sleep and ease your mind, too. 

Written by: Kacey Cain — klcain@ucdavis.edu 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie

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