February has begun, and conversations about love are starting to dominate social media and Accra’s radio waves. One thing that I think is missing from the conversation about love is showing love to oneself. Young adults tend to focus so much on everything else—money, career, school, and family (sometimes)—but themselves.
Recently, I had a conversation with a good friend whom I hadn’t heard from in a while. It turned out that throughout her period of silence, she had been in and out of the hospital battling severe pain caused by ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are caused by a slew of problems, the most common being hormonal imbalance and stress. As she described and complained about the terrible stressful life she led, which was heavily influenced by her demanding work schedule, I couldn’t help but realize how much that had been a great factor in her current situation.
Her life was a stressful cycle of waking up early, traveling quite a distance to her place of work, spending more than nine hours working, traveling another great distance back home, getting home late, and sleeping late. She rarely slept for more than five hours (even that was a blessing), worked on the weekends, and often missed breakfast and lunch. This lifestyle was bound to bring great problems.
Finding a balance is one of the toughest things every young adult faces, and I had the displeasure of facing a similar issue a year ago. Such an unfortunate event becomes a wake-up call that challenges you to pause and take a second look at your actions and their consequences on your health and well-being. Self-love and self-care are often disregarded and ignored in the thoughts and conversations of many young people.
It’s easy to let the demands of our daily, rigorous routines consume our thoughts and our lives. It’s especially easy to focus our energy on taking great care of everyone else but ourselves. We are guilty of pushing self-love and self-care to the corner when we are busy with other aspects of our lives. Yet, they remain important in each person’s quest toward achieving success.
Being immersed in work, school, career, and family, can be both rewarding and detrimental to our well-being, and it is essential for us to aim to find a balance in everything. This is why I challenge you to make yourself a priority this month. Intentionally set some time aside each week for yourself and do the things you love, whether it’s reading, exercising, spending time at your favorite café, seeing your favorite movie, or sleeping past your usual wake up time on the weekends. Do it, and enjoy every moment of it!
Remember that you are the most important person in your life. You can never achieve success if you neglect to take care of yourself!