Categorized | Viewpoints

Spring cleaning and self-care go hand in hand

Despite graduating in a few short weeks, I too am feeling the pressure of staying energized and refreshed as the academic year comes to a close. Oftentimes our conversations on academic performance and well-being are skewed because of contemporary notions surrounding success and self-care. For my viewpoint, I want to provide an alternative perspective to “spring cleaning” that challenges us to think broadly about ourselves and living well.

For those who don’t know, my Senior Independent Study, “Reclaiming Self-Love: Philosophy of Moral Worth,” examines the philosophical implications of self-care. When some of us hear “self-care”, the “Parks and Recreation” character Tom Haverford may come to mind. If not, I highly recommend you check out his references to “Treat Yo-Self” day. As in the case of “Parks and Recreation,” self-care is painted in a highly consumerist light: facemasks, shopping sprees, decadent desserts, you name it.

However, in my I.S., I argue against consumerist notions of self-care and propose alternative conceptions to self-care and self-love. Self-love is a virtue we should aim for, but it is situated within a spectrum of self-hatred and self-indulgences. Feeling better about schoolwork, ourselves and others requires hard work. As tempting as the pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is, I challenge “treat-yourselfers” by claiming that such a “treat” isn’t always the remedy we need to feel better.

Rather, I propose self-care as intimate checks and balances with yourself. You are a morally worthy person that deserves dignity, self-respect and flourishing. Due to this, you deserve much more than a temporary treat: a new perspective to success and well-being.

One of my biggest stressors is schoolwork. I am a hardwired perfectionist: nothing I do is ever good enough; I am not smart enough; I don’t work hard enough; I am not enough. My I.S. pushes back on all these notions and argues that self-love is engaging in a relationship with yourself, not “treating yourself.” For example, when it comes to my relationship with myself and school, I have to pause, breathe deeply and know it will be okay. The papers, group presentations and projects will get done. This means that rather than buying myself out of depression, I remind myself I can do this. Rather than eating my way through peanut butter cookies, I reflect on the progress I have made this entire year and that finals is just one last push. Instead of staying up all night to perfect my paper, I define what my best will be in this given situation, try my best and — this is the hardest part ­— let the rest go.

Not only is the moral worth and dignity I want from others not guaranteed, it is nowhere near as valuable to me than saying, “I am proud of myself.” Though I am practicing this concept, I am learning that you are the only person you can guarantee will never walk out of your life. You are the only person you have to live with; therefore, it may be in your best interest to enjoy that experience and be proud of your accomplishments.

To me, “spring cleaning” and “self-care” go hand in hand. They both require perspective and self-honesty. Be kind to yourselves, trust yourselves and define what finishing the semester strongly means to you as an individual.

Colleen Gilfether, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

This post was written by:

- who has written 1111 posts on The Wooster Voice.

Contact the author

Leave a Reply