Why can't recovery be beautiful?

Mental health recovery can be an onerous process, but taking time for oneself can make all the difference. Iman Bakayoko discusses how taking the time to physically prep for the day ahead can change a difficult process into a beautiful journey.


As Label Press Beauty editor, Gabi Bouvier, said, "put yourself before anything else." However, as a stressed out college junior, I frankly had no idea what to do with that advice. Putting yourself before anything else in this day and age could mean anything from taking a night off and having fun, to staying at home and treating yourself to a mani-pedi.

For those of us with mental health difficulties, the simple act of everyday self-care can be a treat. Taking five minutes each day for the most basic of care feels luxurious, because not only are we trapped in an endless cycle of homework and social obligations, we are also trapped within our minds. Our mental prison is full of intense self-doubt and various pressures telling us to give up and that our life is not worth what it is. When we are stressed out about school, work, and everything in between, the simple act of showering and putting on clothing may seem impossible. It feels like a steep mountain that we have to climb, only to wake up the next morning and have to do it all over again.However, as difficult as it is, it is also vital to our continued recovery.

Recovering within itself is not a beautiful process, it takes a lot of courage to even begin. However, once it begins, it leads to a whole host of beautiful discoveries. Through recovery, you learn how to love yourself in a much more powerful way than you ever have before. Through recovery, you are able to fully observe and appreciate everything around you. The rise of the sun no longer brings the dread of a new day, but instead, the promise of a new adventure, no matter how mundane. In fact, it is the mundane moments in life that you can find comfort in during recovery.

Everyday self-care, while seemingly unimportant in the hubbub of obligation, actually serves as an important reminder to yourself that you are worth it. Waking up in the morning, taking medication and then taking the time to clean and refresh your body is a great reminder of how much strength you possess despite your doubts. Self-care does not have to be extravagant spa days; it can be putting on shoes that you were saving for "a special day". It is renewing your body and thereby renewing your purpose for your routine.

A good routine for self-care in a university student's life can be as simple as showering, washing your face, brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. These tasks which might seem to occupy the minutiae of our day to day life, can have much more purpose and power if you take that time for yourself. Those teeny moments of peace can be 100% yours for the taking. It is time for you to clear your mind before you truly get started with the tasks ahead. At first, this may seem strange, as you probably think that you just can't find the time. However, as time goes on, you will find yourself enjoying those stolen moments to yourself.