In Canada we talk a lot about self-care, especially now due to the pandemic. Self-care should be implemented on a daily basis. Making it an important aspect of our daily lives can have long-term benefits. It is the daily task of caring for yourself and mindfully finding ways to better your own spiritual, cognitive, physical, social, and emotional health and well-being. There are an abundant amount of self-care resources in our communities today. There is an even bigger presence of self-care resources on the world wide web, connecting us to other people who are on the same journey. We sat down with Monica De Luna, a First year International student from the sunny island of Aruba. We challenged her to a self-care challenge to find out how she expresses herself through self-care.
Creating little moments throughout your day and being dedicated to finding small and simple ways to focus on your health and happiness, matters.
With both parents migrating from the Philippines to Aruba, Monica K. De Luna was born and raised in the island of Aruba with her two siblings. Monica is 21-years old and decided to study in Canada after she had graduated from EPI College in Aruba with an Associates Degree. After graduating, she took a gap year and worked then finally took the big step to move here to Canada. Back when she was still in Aruba, her fascination and interest to study in Canada grew and grew. Leading to her flourishing in the Honours Bachelors of Business Administration Hospitality Degree program at Niagara College.
Unfortunately, like many other International students Monica did not have the whole college experience. You know! The one where you get to socialize with other students in big crowds, walk down the hallways and pass all the posters for events and clubs on campus, and attend FROSH week and get free treats. These are all meaningful experiences for International students, and we often don’t realize the positive impact it has on our day to day lives.
That is where self-care really matters, steps in and saves the day. Creating fun ways to engage yourself in self-improving and stress relieving activities leaves you feeling a little better everyday. Challenging Monica to a self-care challenge definitely left us feeling a bit better that day. Here are some tips Monica and I would like to share.
Tip #1: Self Love
Monica’s favorite Filipino word is Mahal Kita (I love you) .
The most important reason to ensure you engage in self-care everyday is self-love. Taking care of yourself is showing yourself love, and how you deserve to be treated. Self-care helps to develop your confidence and increases your self-awareness.
TIP #2 FIND A Meaningful Object
For Monica, it’s her Stuffed Animal.
Many people do not know that particular objects are contributing to our emotional well-being, as they provide comfort to us. Especially, if that stuffed animal has some relation to someone important in your life, a special event/moments, etc. Bottom line, stuffed animals make great companions.
TIP #3 Spa Time
A popular and super effective way to implement self-care is giving yourself a spa day. So whether you’re giving yourself a manicure, reading a book in the bathtub, or giving yourself a facial. Spa time is your time to relax and unwind.
TIP #4 Reflecting On Your Small Accomplishments
Surprisingly many of us don’t often sit down and acknowledge our own accomplishments. Whether it is journaling or having a conversation with yourself, embracing the good you have done can be motivating and promote a healthy self-image. Take time to appreciate yourself.
tip #5 Plan Your Week
Self-care is not just about doing nothing. But it’s also about being productive and mindfully planning out your actions. This removes the clutter in your day to day life, as well as reduces overwhelming feelings of stress. Having a planner/ agenda can improve your daily habits and create more room for growth, and more spa time!
Tip #6 Home Cooked Meals
Food has always been a way to our hearts! Tell me who doesn’t feel happy when eating? Adobo is Monica’s favourite dish. Not only because it’s extremely delicious, but it reminds her of home; and it’s even more special when a special person makes Adobo for you. Look below for a simple Adobo recipe.
- 2 lbs chicken cut into serving pieces
- 3 pieces dried bay leaves
- 8 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt optional
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
- Combine chicken, soy sauce, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix well. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour. Note: the longer the time, the better
- Heat a cooking pot. Pour cooking oil.
- When the oil is hot enough, pan-fry the marinated chicken for 2 minutes per side.
- Pour-in the remaining marinade, including garlic. Add water. Bring to a boil
- Add dried bay leaves and whole peppercorn. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken gets tender
- Add vinegar. Stir and cook for 10 minutes.
- Put-in the sugar, and salt. Stir and turn the heat off. Serve while warm and with rice on the side!
tip #7 support system
Being aware of your community resources is also important, and although services are virtual, many universities and colleges are ensuring that students still have access to virtual sessions with counselling. As well, clubs are still active through college club sites and there are many events that have expanded their online presence. Be sure to research what resources are available in your community, because you’ll never know when you’ll need it the most.
Monica finds reaching out to your teachers and booking on camera meetings is crucial to helping her feel like she is still present and able to properly communicate with others. Having support when you need it is important. Self-care doesn’t mean you have to do things alone. It means you have the courage to ask questions and recognize that you need help to accomplish something.
tip #8 Music
It’s a tale as old as time, Music is…
M – Magic
U – Unforgettable
S – Something you shouldn’t live without
I – Infinitely powerful
C – Calming
Music has been found to be an effective way of stress management and relaxation.
Monica’s favourite song is “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
tip #9 find one thing that makes you happy everyday
We all have that one thing that makes us happy everyday. For Monica, making sure she eats her favourite foods is something that makes her happy every single day. Do the one thing that makes you happy everyday. Whether it’s talking to your family, watching your favorite show, or baking a pie. Everyone deserves happiness and joy in their day to day lives.
tip # 10 pick your Favorite de-stresser
It’s no secret that Filipino’s love karaoke, and to continue her love for singing Monica has a portable karaoke microphone. You can find many versions on Amazon.ca and turn your bedroom into a concert hall.
Remember self-care is not just about decreasing daily stressors, but it’s also about the long lasting impact it has on your health and overall well-being. To conquer the world you must first nourish your mind, body, and soul.