Is it better to actively set time aside for ‘self-care’ or should it be a part of your daily lifestyle? What is ‘self-care’? Is it the same for everyone? Recently, rather than addressing my issues, be it exam stress or general shittiness, I’ve found that I’ve often replaced a productive solution with ‘self-care’ which for me is food and baths. This is not ideal when an hour’s soak and a packet of biscuits in you’re left looking like a bloated, soggy raisin. I can acknowledge that when studying it’s causing me stress and gradually derailing my mood, but I’ve somehow psychologically programmed myself to now think ‘that’s okay I’ll treat myself later’. After constant exposure to ‘love yourself’ and ‘treat yo’self’ on social media I’m left with two completely opposing attitudes to life. Work hard and do well (even if it causes a premature mental breakdown) or ‘fuck it all- do you boo’. It saddens me to admit that my radiant ‘treat yo’self’ smiling face has been shadowed by the exam stress and guilt of procrastination, leaving me with a Gollum-esque reflection in my mirror. I need to get back to my Sméagol state. The old me, the Sméagol past of my Gollum mind.
So, to slowly remove yourself from this unfortunate state of exam (and life) panic, I’ve come up with four simple steps to reviving the Sméagol in you (you’re most welcome).
1) Don’t panic about the Ring (exams, life, money, mates). It’s really all fine. Yes, you want to do well. Yes, your peers might seem so much more put together than you. Realistically, you just need balance. The Ring (whatever your personal ‘ring’ might be) is constantly on your mind, eating away at that last ounce of sanity you thought you might probably maybe have left. Find out what calms you and practice that on a regular basis. This does not mean ‘treat yo’self’, let’s clarify that. This means maybe go for a long walk, drink a shit tonne more water than you do now because the alcohol in your system just doesn’t count (sorry). Meditate, exercise with friends, moisturize. Sooth and calm your body: this soothes and calms your mind.
2) Find a passion or hobby that isn’t remotely related to The Ring. Find something that can free all your thinking time for about an hour a day. Something you really love, and feel ‘yeah I’m loving life’ (even if it’s for a little while)- it still counts. For me, burlesque with my university society has really been a fabulous escape from the torment of exams and my messy life. For that hour in class you’re surrounded by other gorgeous people who all gather to practice what they love and have a good giggle doing it. I’ve recently revived my love of poetry too, so I keep a separate notebook just for that. Entirely for me. It’s in my bedside drawer with the rest of my ‘me’ things: moisturisers, face masks, bubble wrap…
3) Surround yourself with people who aren’t going to sabotage your journey with The Ring. Glorious, funny, outgoing people who have a lot to say about positivity. A consistent environment of happiness and content people are only going to do good for you. Always keep in mind that, actually, life isn’t out to get you and neither are your mates. So go and chill out in the kitchen with them for a while. A short break from revision or work isn’t going to hurt anyone. Constant exposure to a stressful stigma is only going to show in your work. Remove yourself from The Ring’s grasp, with all your strength, and don’t punish yourself for your temporary freedom.
4) Eat your veggies. You might argue this isn’t in-keeping with the Sméagol resurrection but a whole lot of vitamin c can only improve your precious Gollum ass skin.