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  • Articles, Health, School, Stress

    Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

    Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Self Care ≠ Selfish

    Because being self-aware does not make you self absorbed


    I feel like I’m always enveloped in some sort of activity— finishing an assignment or project for school, cleaning my room and bathroom for the third time in a week, or spending time with my closest friends, doing anything from running errands to talking about our days.

    Recently, I’ve realized that there’s never a moment where I take a moment to breathe. A moment to relax, to clear my thoughts.

    Don’t do this. Make time for yourself, whenever it’s possible.

    After years of spreading myself too thin, I’ve finally recognized a crucial aspect about myself: I cope with stress and anxiety by keeping busy. Whenever I’m alone with my thoughts, I begin to think about all of the other, more productive things I could be doing at that moment. I feel guilty for taking a break.

    It’s difficult to define stress; it can present itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from napping to the inability to concentrate. However, once you’re able to detect when you’re stressed, much like I did, you can discover how to alleviate it. Is confronting your emotions easy? No. But is it worth it? Definitely.

    Self-care is not selfish. I have to repeat this mantra to myself every single day, and chances are, so do you. You’re allowed to be your own priority.

    One of my favorite anti-stress methods, and one that has helped me the most is journaling. Through writing my emotions, I have learned so much about myself, including how to identify my emotions and why I’m feeling that way.

    I’m not a fan of pushing my problems onto other people, so through journaling, I’ve found a way to express my thoughts and relieve myself of the pressure they put on me. After putting my feelings on paper, I typically engage myself in “me time.” This concept, something that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, varies from person to person. It takes some trial and error to learn what works for you. Common methods are taking a bubble bath, applying a face mask, engaging in a type of exercise, or listening to your favorite music– as long as you’re doing something you love, you’ll come out the other end feeling better than before.

    As broad and cliché as it sounds, try to shut your brain off. Release the stress and worry of the day and be present in whatever you’re doing. We tend to become so wrapped up in our worries that we miss out on opportunities that can take the edge off, such as goofing around with friends or getting lost in the latest episode of New Girl.

    Stress is completely normal.

    So don’t be discouraged whenever that all-too-familiar feeling rolls around; above everything else, don’t burn yourself out by ignoring it. Recognize and accept what you’re feeling. Take a break to do something you love. Acknowledge that the feeling won’t last forever– you’ll wake up tomorrow, regardless of what happens day, to a fresh start.

  • Stress

    Six Ways to Avoid Stress This Semester

    Six Ways to Avoid Stress This Semester

    1. Make good use of your planner

    Schools typically issue a planner to their students at the beginning of the school year, but there are tons of cute and affordable planner options if you would like to have one more custom to your needs. It’s been proven that writing things down helps you remember them, and often times seeing everything you have to do written out together can help you visualize how much time you have to spend working on different projects throughout the week. I personally have 4 different places to write things down: a pocket-sized daily planner with hourly slots to help plan out busy days (TJ Maxx), a dry-erase calendar (, an un-dated weekly planner that stands up on my desk (also TJ Maxx) and a weekly to-do list notepad that I use for non-school and work related tasks (TJ Maxx as well). This way, if I think I’m forgetting a deadline, I probably have it written down in at least one place.


    Shop planners here:




    1. Plan for big deadlines ahead of time

    Do you have a paper due the Monday after a weekend lacrosse tournament? Or a group project the same week as a final exam? As soon as you know big due dates, work schedules, sporting events, and family plans, it helps to write them down in one place so that you don’t surprise yourself at the last minute when you realize you have to finish writing out an essay in the car on the way home from a visit to grandma’s. Maybe use one of those cute planners you’ve bought? Just an idea.


    1. Give yourself plenty of time

    As someone who is the kween of procrastination, I have to finish my assignments as far ahead of time as I can manage so that I’m not scrambling to scrape them together fifteen minutes before class starts. In high school, I would take a nap immediately after school and not even touch my backpack until 6:00 am before school the next day. I would have to set five consecutive alarms every 15 minutes starting at 5:00 am in order to get myself out of bed and get my backpack out of my car where it had been since I left school the day before. (But at least I got that hour and a half nap in, right?) I’ve found it a lot easier on the body and brain to knock things out while you’ve got time, even if it means going right to the library after class. Even if your brain conks out every ten minutes or you end up spending too much time scrolling through Instagram, at least you’ve gotten started.


    1. Have a good balance

    Don’t get me wrong, school is important. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend every Friday and Saturday night studying. It’s just as unhealthy to isolate yourself from you’re friends because you’re worried about making an A on every assignment as it is to neglect your schoolwork. Exercise is also super important to feel good and be healthy, whether that’s going outside and walking the dog every day or participating in sports. In my experience, it’s always been best to listen to the body and do what feels right. If you spend every moment that you’re with your friends worrying about when you’re going to finish your math homework, it’s alright to decline to hang out every so often. If you’re late to soccer practice every day because you don’t get out of work until fifteen minutes before it starts, consider taking a few hours out of your work schedule. If you’re not sure whether to cut down on something that’s taking up a big chunk of your time, try to focus on how you feel during and after that activity. Is it worth it for you? Would you be happier doing something else? Keep in mind, you can do anything but not everything.


    1. Go to class

    It sounds easy enough, but even at your least attentive, you’ll retain more than you would if you weren’t there. The more time you miss, the more time you spend catching up. Sitting through one more presentation may seem impossible, but you’re truly just setting yourself up for more stress in the future. While you’re there, try to take the best notes you can. Even if you’re completely zoned out, at least you’ll have some key words and phrases written down that you can work out later. Focusing for so many hours is difficult, but half the battle is simply showing up.


    1. Make sure it’s not more than stress

    Since childhood, my panic, agitation, and constant fatigue were attributed to “stress.” It wasn’t until my freshman year of college when I went to my doctor and told him I thought I might have an anxiety disorder. Three years later, I can’t imagine functioning without the treatment I started receiving and I will always wonder if middle and high school would have been a bit more bearable if I had been diagnosed earlier.


    If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated the majority of the time to a point where it affects your day to day life, it may be something more than just a busy schedule. Schools provide guidance counselors as a resource for students, and that resource is meant to be utilized. It can be extremely difficult to confront mental illnesses like anxiety or depression, but reaching out and asking for help from a counselor or family physician is much easier than continuing to struggle every day.

  • Cutting

    How Can I Stop Cutting?

    Resisting the Urge to Cut

    If you’ve been cutting and you want to stop, here are some approaches that might help you.

    For people who cut, doing something different may be a big change. Making this change can take time because you are learning new ways of dealing with the things that led you to cut. The tips you’ll see below can get you started. But a therapist or counselor can do more to help you heal old hurt and use your strengths to cope with life’s struggles.

    Start by being aware of which situations are likely to trigger your urge to cut. Make a commitment that this time you will not follow the urge, but will do something else instead.

    Then make a plan for what you will do instead of cutting when you feel this urge.

    Below are some tips you can try when you feel the urge to cut. We’ve put them into several categories because different people cut for different reasons. So certain techniques will work better for some people than others.

    Look through all the tips and try the ones that you think might work for you. You may need to experiment because not all of these ideas will work for everyone. For example, some readers have told us that snapping a rubber band works for them as a substitute for cutting but others say that the rubber band triggers an urge to snap it too hard and they end up hurting themselves.

    If one tip isn’t right for you, that’s OK. Use your creativity to find a better idea. Or talk with your therapist to get other ideas on what could work for you. The idea is to find a substitute for cutting — something that satisfies a need you might feel without being as harmful as cutting.

    You may also find that one of these ideas works for you sometimes but not always. That’s OK too. What a person needs can vary from time to time and from situation to situation.

    The techniques listed on the following pages will help you think about why you might cut — as well as offer ideas on other things to do when you feel like cutting. The more you learn about what’s underneath your cutting behavior, the better you will be able to understand and develop healthy ways to heal that pain.

    Things to Distract You

    Like all urges, the urge to cut will pass if you wait it out. Distracting yourself with something else helps time go by and gets your mind off the urge to cut. The more you wait out the urge without giving in, the more your urges will decrease over time.

    Here are some things you can try while waiting for a cutting urge to pass:

    • Call a friend and talk about something completely different
    • Take a shower (make sure you don’t have razors in the shower)
    • Go for a walk or run, take a bike ride, dance like crazy, or get some other form of exercise
    • Play with a pet
    • Watch TV (change the channel if the show gets upsetting or features cutting)
    • Drink a glass of water

    Even if you’re not sure why you’re cutting, it’s worth giving these ideas a try

    Things to Soothe and Calm You

    Sometimes people cut because they’re agitated or angry — even though they may not recognize that feeling. If that’s true for you, it can help to do something calming when you feel the need to cut.

    Things to Help You Express the Pain and Deep Emotion

    Some people cut because the emotions that they feel seem way too powerful and painful to handle. Often, it may be hard for them to recognize these emotions for what they are — like anger, sadness, or other feelings. Here are some alternatives to cutting that you can try:

    • Draw or scribble designs on paper using a red pen or paint on white paper — if it helps, make the paint drip
    • Write out your hurt, anger, or pain using a pen and paper
    • Draw the pain
    • Compose songs or poetry to express what you’re feeling
    • Listen to music that talks about how you feel

    Things to Help Release Physical Tension and Distress

    Sometimes, doing things that express anger or release tension can help a person gradually move away from cutting. Try these ideas:

    • Go for a walk or run, ride a bike, dance like crazy, or get some other form of exercise
    • Rip up some paper
    • Write out your hurt, anger, or pain using a pen and paper
    • Scribble on paper using a red pen
    • Squeeze, knead, or smoosh a stress ball, handful of clay, or Play-Doh


    Things to Help You Feel Supported and Connected

    If you cut because you feel alone, misunderstood, unloved, or disconnected, these ideas may help:

    • Call a friend
    • Play with a pet
    • Make a cup of tea, some warm milk, or cocoa
    • Try some yoga exercises that help you feel grounded, such as triangle pose
    • Try a breathing exercise like the one in the button above
    • Curl up on your bed in a soft, cozy blanket


    Substitutes for the Cutting Sensation

    You’ll notice that all the tips in the lists above have nothing to do with the cutting sensation. When you have the idea to self-injure, start by trying the ideas on those lists — such as making art, walking your dog, or going for run.

    If they don’t help, move on to the substitute behaviors shown below.

    These substitute behaviors won’t work for everyone. They also don’t help people get in touch with why they are cutting. What they do is provide immediate relief in a way that doesn’t involve cutting, and therefore holds less risk of harm.

      • Rub an ice cube on your skin instead of cutting it
      • Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it gently against your skin
      • Draw on the skin with a soft-tipped red pen in the place you might usually cut


    You Can Do It

    Cutting can be a difficult pattern to break. But it is possible.

    If you want help overcoming a self-injury habit and you’re having trouble finding anything that works for you, talk with a therapist. Getting professional help to overcome the problem doesn’t mean that someone is weak or crazy. Therapists and counselors are trained to help people discover inner strengths that help them heal. These inner strengths can then be used to cope with life’s problems in a healthy way.

    If You Need Help

    The Crisis Text Line serves young people by providing help through text. If you need help please reach out to them.

    Crisis Text Line

    Text “GIRL” to 741-741. It’s FREE, confidential, and available 24/7.

    From: Teen Health

  • Articles, School, Stress, Tips

    Stress Relief Tips

    September is right around the corner. This means that it’s finally back-to-school season!
    Yours blanked out calendars will now be filled with new deadlines and huge assignments.
    Maybe back-to-school season should be more aptly termed “back-to-stress” season! Luckily, I have some stress-relief tips that will keep you sane throughout this anxious time.

    1. Meditate
    In a previous article, I wrote about the benefits of meditation. In that article, I outlined how beneficial meditation is to the body and the soul. Tapping into your inner self will give you focus and more energy to complete tasks. Don’t believe me? Read this article Benefits of Meditation . It gives you a whopping set of 76 benefits meditation can have on your life! And if you don’t really know where to get started when it comes to meditation or if it really does work check out the article 5 Health Benefits of Daily Meditation According to Science and be blown away by the facts.

    2. Talk to someone.
    Instead of internalizing all of that worry and anxiety, talk to someone! By sharing your worries, you can be on the receiving end of some advice or a new perspective.

    3. Invest in essential oils.
    Now, this is my favorite. Essential oils are 100% natural oils that come in a variety of scents like lavender, peppermint, lemon, etc. Occasionally rubbing some of those oils on your pressure points will allow you to wind down and relax after a busy day. Investing in an essential oil diffuser is also pretty great if you don’t like rubbing the oils on your skin. The effect is almost the same – an all-around peaceful environment.

    4. Write out a schedule.
    Say you have a full night’s worth of homework and you’re freaking out because of the workload. Try making a schedule on a scrap piece of paper and following it to the “t”. It’ll give you a confidence booster and a sense of purpose as you get down to business.

    5. Plan ahead.
    Invest in a planner so that you can plan weeks ahead of a deadline. Planning ahead allows you to tackle any assignment, whether big or small and to be on top of your game.

    Being stressed out isn’t fun. But, hopefully, these tips will give you some more confidence entering the new school year. Good luck and let the odds be ever in your favor!