After a long day, my dad will get situated on the couch, switch the channel to ESPN, and watch whatever is on at that time.
Over the years, I've seen him sit through football, basketball, tennis, bowling, and even professional cornhole — he seems to enjoy anything and everything on the channel, as long as it's competitive and has some semblance of entertainment value. ESPN is essentially my dad's version of comfort food.
Personally, nothing helps me unwind more than a virtual crossword game and an episode or two of "Survivor." Reality television isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me, watching people suffer on an island for a million dollars is an oddly relaxing practice. Whenever I feel myself burning out — whether it be from school, extracurricular activities, general stress, or an amalgamation of all three, I try to take some time for myself. Even if it's just for half an hour, an enjoyable activity can put my restless mind at ease.
Oftentimes when we talk about "self-care," we naturally think of the most stereotypical remedies: meditation, baths with flower petals, yoga, etc. However, you don't necessarily need to purchase a yoga mat or draw a bath to take time for yourself; self-care can truly be anything you want it to be.
For some people, it might be focusing on their physical health and going out for a run. For others, it might be just the opposite, with an occasional indulgence in potato chips and ice cream being their version of self-care.
When I asked my friends and family how they take care of themselves, I received a wide array of answers. Face masks, playing basketball, baking, watching Disney Channel Original Movies, organizing messy drawers, and singing in the shower are just a few activities that people named as their favorite forms of stress relief. As a concept that is completely situational, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to self-care.
We live in a competitive society where we are taught to win, be ambitious, and go sprinting toward our goals. This inevitably leads to heightened stress levels in teenagers and adults alike, making self-care less of an option and more of a necessity. I'll be the first to admit that I don't always do a stellar job of managing my stress in healthy ways. Nonetheless, I've learned (and am still in the process of learning) how to take a moment to relax amid the chaos of daily life.
No matter who you are, I think we've all earned the right to take time for ourselves to improve
our mental, emotional or physical health. Despite what we might think to ourselves, self-care isn't
indulgent or selfish — it's essential to maintaining balance in our
Sydney Byun is a senior at Wilsonville High School.
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