Welcome to Self Care Stories, a blog series showcasing how different people take care of themselves around the world. In our lives, we often forget to prioritize our own well-being. We hope that by reading these stories, you feel inspired to build your own self-care routines because your own care is important.

Meet Bernadette!

What's your background?

My name is Bernadette (but people call my Bernie), and I will be turning 21 next month! I'm from a small beach town in Connecticut, USA called Old Saybrook and I'm currently a rising senior at the University of Connecticut studying Cognitive Science. I am proudly Vietnamese and I'm super involved with the Vietnamese Student Association at school! My interests include: baking, conspiracy theories, true crime, makeup, kpop, culture in general, languages/linguistics, stationery, and anime.

What's your definition of self-care or what does self-care mean to you?

I think self-care is different for everyone. For me, it's doing things I enjoy and can escape from my daily stresses. It's something that calms me down and something I can look forward to. I feel happier when I'm done with it and it should never be stressful or feel like a chore.

Tell me your story. How do you practice self-care in your life?

College has really taught me to value the time I have with myself. As an introvert, I love my friends and enjoy their presence, but I really do need time to recharge. I love my morning routine of putting on makeup and my night routine of removing it and indulging in skincare. Sometimes, self-care is also just taking that nap and saying no to social activities in favor of spending time with myself. Although I'm working on it, saying "no" is one of the best things I can do for myself at times. My true friends and allies will understand, and I don't have to worry about upsetting them. This semester, I also found it really relaxing to re-watch one of my favorite shows of all time, Avatar the Last Airbender. 

What makes taking care of yourself so important to you?

Self-care is an outlet. Struggling with depression, I fail to take care of myself which leads to feeling even worse, which causes me to have less motivation for self-care, etc. Next year will be my last year of undergraduate study, and I want to make it better than this year. Taking on leadership roles, expanding my horizons, getting good grades and trying to land a job ASAP (as soon as possible) will all take a lot out of me, so I think it's really important to let myself breath.

If you had advice to give someone else on practicing self-care, what would it be?

Don't feel guilty about it. You'd tell your friend to take care of themselves, so you can tell that to yourself too. At the same time, it's good to try and find a balance. Work hard, play hard, and also find your time to rest. Self-care is a way to re-energize and renew yourself so you can be the best version of yourself and fulfill the things you want to do or need to get done.

This series was created in collaboration with Self Caid. To find out more information on how to build a self-care routine, check out them out here.

Jed Chun