Northwest Missourian Opinion

I know I’ve been preaching mask wearing and social distancing for weeks now, in order to protect those around you. I hope that the well-being of those around you is constantly on your mind. However, in all this constant worrying about others, don’t forget to focus on yourself. Don’t neglect your health during this crazy time. 

By nature, I have always been a workaholic. Whether in the classroom, lying in bed or home for the weekend, my mind is constantly racing. Every waking minute of mine is spent in productivity mode. One moment, I’m planning out the week down to the hour. Five minutes later, I’ll end up remembering something important that I need to check off my list and quickly shift focus. 

There have even been times where I’ll be staring at the ceiling trying to fall asleep when a story idea comes to me out of the blue. As active as my mind is, it sure isn’t sharp for long. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve officially hit the age where I’ll walk into a room, wonder why the heck I’m in there, sit back down and repeat the process again. Here’s what you can do to help yourself out.

Make sure you get ample sleep every night. That includes going to bed at a reasonable time. Most people my age love to be up until midnight or later and sleep the day away in turn. Let me tell you, going to bed at 9 p.m. has its advantages. Falling asleep before everyone else— and staying asleep longer — will leave you much more refreshed come daybreak. You might not always succeed in keeping a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. sleep schedule, but when you manage to pull it off, it makes even the hardest day easier to bear.

Eating right is another good habit to maintain. I’m not saying you can’t treat yourself and pig out on chocolate every once in a while, but try substituting those burgers and fries for sandwiches and salads. All that green is as healthful as it looks — and no, it won’t kill you to eat it. By the way, amateur tip — I’m no dietitian: Don’t forget to eat, either. There have been so many times where I’ve been working away and manage to look up at the clock. Then that moment of realization sets in with “Oh, crap. I should probably eat something.” Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You’ve heard it for years now, all throughout your schooling. Eight glasses a day keeps the doctor away, or so I’m told. Do whatever you have to do to meet that goal. I usually drink a ton of water in the evening before bed and when I first wake up. I also manage to go through quite a few plastic bottles in the process — sorry, environmentalists. Heck, you might have friends who choose to carry around a jug of the stuff and sip on it throughout the day. Yeah, you might look nutty, but at least you’re getting your H20.

Perhaps I should have put this point first — it’s definitely most important. Please remember that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s inevitable: you’re going to have down days, ones where you won’t want to leave bed and go to class. Lord knows I’ve had plenty of those. 

Whatever you might be feeling mentally, I want you to know that there is help and there is hope. If you need, go schedule a counseling session over at Wellness Services. Take the day off if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Give yourself grace. Practice meditation. Keep a gratitude journal. All I’m asking is that you do something to practice self-care.

So remember this: Take good care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it. If someone has a problem with it, that’s their issue and not yours. You’re worth it too. Don’t let that slip past you.

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