You are 20 years old and just starting to make the leap into deciding what your next move is going to be after college. You have all these dreams, you have all these ideas and you want to be successful in everything you do. You are told at a very early age that hard work pays off and it does. However, I bet no one explained that hard work doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your self care to do so or…that is at least what I wish someone would have told me.

When I was 20, I had dreams, goals and my idea of what success meant. I was strong willed and wanted to work for everything handed to me. I wanted to be at the top (whatever at the top meant to me at 20). I put the hours in, I volunteered, I made new friends and the world was flipped upside down. And I was happy and I was living on top of the world. Work was going well, I loved all the new pieces of my life however I was running out of time for myself and I thought I could go without that.

The day I learned what self care was, was only after I went months of countless days of no sleep, exhaustion, I had more flare ups with my IBS and I just ultimately wasn’t myself.

In society today, there is a big focus on those who are succeeding at different things and their is a big focus on self-love however in this mix there is a ton of complications that confuse a person. We see people that are all of magazines and the news for the success but sometimes what we don’t see is a year later they are checking themselves in to get treatment of exhaustion, depression, etc. Society forgets to show that big success in some ways comes with mental breakdowns.

However there is a solution to everything and that is self care and self-love.

I for one had to learn this as well. After many moments of thinking I can do one more night of 3 hours of sleep to get this work done, was already too many nights of telling myself that. The best part is that you have the chance to reverse this ramp up and take time for yourself.

It is definitely a hard thing to put yourself first sometimes. It can feel selfish, it can feel uncomfortable but if you can’t take care of yourself first you cannot take of other things and people around you.

So here is what I wish I would someone would have told me at the age of 20 about self care ….

  • I wish someone would have told me to get regular check ups at the doctors to make sure my health was in check instead of waiting until I was too sick to function
  • I wish someone would have told me that sleep is essential and makes work more efficient, sharper and happier
  • I wish someone would have told me that if I find myself stressed or anxious to give myself time to process why I feel the way I feel and find alternative ways to not feel this way again.
  • I wish someone would have told me that you get to define was success means to you; not society, not your friends or family. So you get to decide how many hours you want to work, what your salary is and not stress about them
  • I wish someone would have told me about wellness and health more. That the 2am run to get pizza every night in college and drinking busch light wasn’t going to make me feel any better in the morning and that health is important in all aspects of life
  • I wish that things like CBD products had been legalized where I was. I know that there are all sorts of factors to consider when choosing the perfect product, but I know I would have probably jumped at the chance to be able to buy something to help with my mental health without having to speak to a doctor first about it.
  • I wish someone would of told me to find what relaxes me the most and be sure to do that weekly. For me I found running and kickboxing to make me chill
  • I wish someone would of told me that self care means loving every part of your body, being sure to say it out loud in the mirror and not worrying about the pressures of weight that society puts on you. Your health comes first.
  • I wish someone would of told me that the pressures we put on ourselves to be the best only matters to us, our friends & family will love us for who we are instead of what we do as a career.
  • I wish someone would have told me to do yoga and mediate weekly. It literally has changed my life.
  • I wish someone would have told me that retreats, weekends away by yourself and bubble baths are essential and okay.
  • I wish someone would have told me to learn about my body. Everyone is different and if you try your friends diet or try to compare, you will continue to be let down because your body is different from theirs.
  • I wish someone would of told me that giving back is a part of self care and that is important to always help others
  • I wish someone would have told me to understand the difference between friends and friendship. As we grow older you learn to surround yourself with only positive people and check the drama at the door.
  • I wish someone would have told me that laughter is truly the best medicine and to find the good in every day
  • I wish someone would have told me to say no to things I didn’t want to do.
  • I wish someone would have told me to take moments to breath each day. In the rush of things sometimes we forget to even do that

As I grow up my goals and dreams continue to change however one thing stays the same, the need for self-love and self-care. I am fortunate at the age of 26 to have learned to cut back on things when I need to focus on myself however I wish someone would have taught me this at an early age.