MOOC USSV101x | Veteran Voices: Effective Time Management | Why Self-Care Matters

– I think that a topic that frankly isn’t given enough importance or talked about frequently is self care. The attitude, a lot of
times, in the military is largely based on other people letting you know what
it is you have to do, scheduling your dental
appointments for you, and you have to be at
formation at this time, and if you don’t wake up,
someone’s going to wake you up. These things, they’re
not done in isolation, and so, you get out of the
military, and all of a sudden, you’ve made the decision to go to school, no one is going to wake you up if you sleep through your
alarm, and that’s on you. And, no one’s gonna schedule
your dental appointments. No one’s going to force you to work out, or to remember to eat, or
to shower, or to eat well, or to find time to do something that is really important to you that has nothing to do with school. And so, you know, we kind
of, especially combat arms, the saying, weapon, gear, self. And so, that’s the order of priorities, and probably a little cheesy, but in school, that order changes, or thinking of your mind as
your weapon, if you want, and so, your weapon is not going
to be functioning optimally if you’re not taking care of it. And, that means getting six to eight hours of sleep every single night, being on a healthy schedule, not losing an entire weekend
to some crazy hangover, and then not doing your homework and playing catch-up and
being stressed out, and then, “Oh, I forgot to schedule
that dental appointment.” Really making sure to take the time to remember that you
have to be an adult now, and you’re in charge of you. And, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not doing well as a student or just trying to power through it, and not admitting that you
can’t do something well, it’s finding those times
to really sit with it, figure out what it is
that you want to be doing, What is your goal for doing this? Why are you at school? Distilling that, finding that thing that allows you to keep
everything else in perspective. There’s always going to be little day-to-day problems that come up, but they seem a whole lot bigger if you don’t have that larger
thing you’re working towards. Probably most people in
the military, I would say, are wired to need a mission. I know it’s true for me,
and for a lot of my friends. And so, I find that, if
there’s that larger mission that I’m working towards, again, it gives me that go/no-go filter, keeping things in perspective, the little day-to-day problems are little day-to-day problems, but again, if there’s nothing out there
that you’re working towards, those things seem much larger, and so they’re a lot more overwhelming, and then it’s a lot easier to kind-of, “Well, I’m in a bad mood, so
I don’t need to go to class,” and things just fall apart. And so, part of that really
important self care, again, is figuring out, for yourself, and not having it be told to you, is, “What is my mission? “What is it that I’m working towards? “Why are these things important to me?” And then, the smaller
strategies and the day-to-day of making time to work out, or
to meditate, or to take a nap, whatever it is, read fan fiction. It doesn’t matter, whatever it is to you that you can just zone out and
not be thinking about school, and let your brain rest, and feel like you’re
doing something for you, at least a little bit every day, or a few times a week. Even getting a beer with
a friend, whatever it is, and finding those things
and really making sure that that’s in your schedule, because it’s so easy to
let it all pile up and, “Well, I’m not as important, “I can put that aside, because school,” or, whatever it is, and so,
you’re not going to do well if you’re not taking care of yourself, and so that has to happen. I feel like a lot of people
forget that pretty easily, and so forcing yourself to make sure that you are a priority, and
that’s not a selfish thing, that’s something that just,
that’s how this needs to happen, it’s very different from the military, and where you don’t matter, the guy to your left
and your right matters, to now, you matter. And so, learning that, understanding that, sitting with it, and really figuring out how to engage with that
in a meaningful way.

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