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Five tips you can apply on International Self Care Day—and beyond

From marathon study sessions to long days of work, we all feel burned out from time to time. International Self-Care Day (July 24) is a reminder to take a moment to pause and recognize the importance of self-love and holistic care for the body. Members of the Case Western Reserve University community are encouraged to lean into self-care—today and every day.

Cheyenne DeShields
Cheyenne DeShields

For some individuals, self-care may include treating themselves to a day of pampering or buying themselves something they really want. But for Cheyenne DeShields, a social worker in University Health and Counseling Services (UH&CS), self-care doesn’t have to mean paying for an expensive day at the spa or taking a long vacation. 

“We can all find ways to implement self-care throughout the day and make small changes that add up towards a healthier lifestyle,” DeShields said. 

Interested in simple self-care ideas to add to your daily routine? Consider the following tips DeShields suggests. 

1. Release endorphins with regular exercise. 

Whether you prefer to play intramural sports, take a quick bike ride around campus, or work out at One to One Fitness Center, regular exercise makes it easier to perform everyday activities—from walking up a flight of stairs to lifting heavy objects. And, exercise releases endorphins—a group of hormones that help with depression, anxiety and low mood. 

2. Practice self-soothing techniques. 

From taking a hot shower and listening to your favorite music to practicing guided meditation and other relaxation methods, take time to recharge your batteries by doing activities you enjoy.

3. Get adequate sleep. 

It’s harder for our bodies to function when we lack proper rest. If you have trouble falling (and staying) asleep, try gentle stretches or yoga poses and avoid using electronics 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

4. Move thoughts from your brain to paper with a personal journal. 

Keep a physical journal to write down any thoughts, ideas and feelings you have throughout the day, including lingering ones that may keep you awake at night. Or, if you’d prefer to express your emotions verbally, try recording entries within an audio or video journal. 

5. Share mental health concerns with trusted professionals.  

While some stress is considered helpful, there may be times when its effects can take a toll on our physical and mental health—which can potentially lead to depression, anxiety and higher susceptibility to illness. 

On campus, University Health and Counseling Services staff members are here to support CWRU students by providing access to counseling, group therapy and other wellness resources at no cost. Faculty and staff members can also schedule counseling sessions through IMPACT Solutions, the university’s employee assistance provider.