Welcome back to Elaine’s Edge! How are you tSB Fam??

It’s just about peak season for school. I have midterms-on-midterms and finals are right around the corner for me! With all this stress that comes from school, seeing the colors of the wind and giving myself a bit of TLC can be hard. What is “seeing the colors of the wind”? Well, a little while back one of my professors was explaining how they felt as though through quarantine and the pandemic, they’ve been able to really appreciate and find happiness in the little things in life that we normally take for granted. They used the phrase “seeing the colors of the wind” to express this, and I really liked that.

I’ll be real – I actually struggled a lot with self-care, until I realized how much damage ignoring and avoiding was causing. I was never really one to take breaks, even when I said I was “taking breaks” it still felt like my way of removing myself from stress was causing me more stress. Confusing, I know, but hear me out. Personally, my love for art is beyond explainable, and for a while, I used painting as a way to cope with what I was going through. However, there just came a point where I felt like whenever I painted, I was pressured [by myself] to make it perfect and look like a Picasso. Of course, that was never going to happen, but it dragged out the feeling of painting, and whenever I painted I felt like something was weighing me down. Did I think much of this? Not really, I just thought I was going through an artist’s block and needed time to get back into the feel for painting, plot twist: I never did. For about 2 years I stopped randomly painting, doodling, or creating abstract art, but I didn’t do anything about it.

Something that tSB taught me very early on when I joined Core Program, is that self-care is very important. And knowing when to unplug from the world and just focus on yourself is essential to finding who you are. There are so many methods that can be counted as self-care, anyone can do it!

I had the honor of asking one of our very own mentors at tSB, Kellen (she/her), what self-care meant to her, and here are a few parts of her statement that I wanted to share with y’all. When I asked Kellen what self-care meant to her and how she practiced self-care, she answered,

“For me, self-care can look like many things, including trying to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, taking time to rest after a stressful day at work or a tiring (yet fun!) day on the mountain, and setting a calendar reminder to call a friend at least once a week. The best part about self-care is it does not need to cost any money! Instagram makes it seem like you need to purchase the newest face mask, the highest-quality running shoes, or the cutest leggings in order to show yourself and others that you prioritize your wellbeing. That’s just not true! In fact, I believe the most impactful acts of self-care can be completely free. Some examples: Taking a moment to talk to a loved one and let them know you appreciate them. Taking deep belly breaths for 3 minutes in between classes. Stretching your body every once in a while. Going to bed a bit earlier than you usually would. Although these don’t lend themselves to the best social media content, they do help your mind and body work better, and serve as tangible reminders that you are worth the effort of self-care.”

All of which I can totally agree with! We all have different ways of expressing and practicing self-care, so of course, these examples are not what you should limit yourself to when doing self-care!

You’re probably wondering, “but Elaine, you haven’t even told us how YOU practice self-care…” Well, for starters, self-care has come to be something that I honestly don’t even know how to go about. Yes, it is something that I hold very high in priority but I never know if my methods actually work or “the right way to self-care”. A nice reminder that I felt like I needed to take to heart from Kellen’s statement is that “it is good for you to be a little selfish with your self-care.” Oftentimes, I feel guilty for taking these breaks away from my work (and I’m working on it), but in the end, it does my well being better and self-care is definitely something that deserves that extra attention.

Without further ado, I’d like to explain how and what I do to practice self-care! Lately, I’ve started to delve into daily or weekly journaling about, well, my day or week. At first I would just write down everything that happened throughout my day and what I need to get done, but now I talk about how I felt about each event, how I’m going to plan out for upcoming tasks, and overall how I’m feeling. I really like writing (even though my grammar and English is lacking hahaha), so being able to reflect on my days and throwing in occasional poetry into my entries are right down my alley. In addition to something right down my alley, I’ve been taking a break from major art projects but I still bullet journal and whenever I have sudden urges to paint, I try painting on small canvases or jot down my ideas for later. (Shameless plug: if you’re interested in checking out my art, head over to @ekn.create on Instagram!) One more thing that I absolutely love is skincare. If you know me, you know that I am a huge skincare junkie! Just having a routine makes me feel like I’m pampering myself, it’s also how I start/end my days so I feel really relaxed and accomplished after finishing my routine. Of course, there are more ways that I practice self-care like phone calls or distanced hangouts (every now and then) with friends, but these three things have been the most accessible for me.

That’s it for this week’s peak on Elaine’s Edge, I hoped you enjoyed reading about self-care. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it inspires you to take 10+ minutes for yourself right now!

Let me know what you think about my blogs or if there is a topic you’d like for me to cover by emailing me at developmentintern@theserviceboard.org! I want to hear from you, and remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-man show! Catch ‘ya later!