Semester of self-love, the power of dating yourself


Bella Steiert, News Writer

As college students, we have many things that we need to focus on and take care of: classes, grades, jobs, clubs, social lives, and more. One thing that I noticed throughout my time in college is that I would be so busy focusing on all these things that I forgot, and often neglected, to take care of something very important–myself. As the semester started to kick in, I spent most of my days balancing the infinite responsibilities of a student. Most nights I would come back to my dorm late feeling exhausted and just go to sleep instead of taking care of myself and having some alone time. During my sophomore and junior year is when I was struggling with it the most and it started to have markedly negative side effects. I had a bad sleep schedule, I was overly reliant on caffeine, my diet was awful because I just got whatever was “quick and easy,” and as time went on, I sort of lost myself to the chaos. 


During the summer between my junior and senior year is when I realized how badly this was affecting me, and that’s when burnout really set in. During this summer I took it easy, spent time with family and friends, and did some reflecting. This is when I realized that when I got back to school, I needed to get in the habit of taking care of myself more and doing little things to make me feel relaxed and happy.


When I started my senior year, I tried to focus on self-care and self-love. In doing so, I eventually picked up some tricks and healthier habits that I feel could really benefit students at-large. 


Balance Is The Name Of The Game:

 A key thing I started implementing in my self-care journey was balance. I started having a new schedule where I could balance both socializing time and alone time. For example, I like to hang out with friends on Fridays and Saturdays, but I usually spend Sunday alone to plan everything I need for that coming week. This weekend schedule leaves me feeling refreshed and happy. My “self-care Sundays” became a staple of my routine that I look forward to. I usually do my food shopping, catch up on homework, do chores, make dinner, and wind down at night by watching a favorite show or putting on a record. Having this one day dedicated to self-care and time alone led me to implement more positive habits in my college routine, one of them being dates with myself. You may think this sounds a little silly (believe me, I did too), but this has been one of my favorite things to do. 


Alone-Time Secretly Rocks:

One thing I realized is that for several semesters prior, I rarely spent time alone. I thought being in college meant that if you didn’t have a friend group and were not socializing often you were not “normal.” I would often worry about being alone and thought maybe spending time in solitude was not time well spent. I would spend so many days socializing all day, and though it was nice, it was also exhausting. I realized that my worries about being alone were not true, that it is perfectly fine to spend periods of time alone, and that it can even be very rewarding.


For years, I would always rely and depend on other people to do something fun. We’d spend all our free time on things like going to dinner, or to the movies, to concerts, going downtown, etc. I’d only ever do these things if I had someone else to go with. But one day, I decided to just go out alone to Daytona. I went to check out a cool record store, and just explore the area. This is how I started “dating myself.” 


A Date With Myself–Not As Strange As It Sounds:

I went on a Saturday morning, took a beautiful drive to Daytona while blasting some of my favorite songs, went to the record store, and got myself one album I wanted, then I ended the date at the mall where I walked around with the Starbucks drink I treated myself to. I had such a great time. To my surprise, it didn’t feel silly at all; it felt so nice just to take myself out and do things I enjoy, simply because I wanted to and I could. I did not have to worry about scheduling with someone, whether or not they wanted to do what I wanted or if they were having a good time. I could just enjoy some quiet time and reflect on my week while having some fun. 


Students, especially those at Stetson, spend so much time grinding day-to-day that self-care gets put on the back burner. But eventually, it catches up to you. It’s just not sustainable. It can be really easy to overlook, but routine acts of intentional self love can make a world of difference to your mental health. For me, that means the occasional date with myself where I can take a breather and ground myself with some of my favorite things, but maybe for you it might be a regular workout, or crocheting something warm while listening to an audio book, or baking something sweet. Whatever your “treat-yo-self” moment is, I implore you to regularly make time to do that. No investment in your well being could ever be wasted time, so be kind to yourself.