Year 2 is coming to an end pretty soon. Yikes! It’s been such an emotional journey and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. Recently, I attended the graduation ceremony of my mentor/friend (he probably doesn’t know he’s my mentor, but he gave me so much support and direction, was always available when I needed help, and I admired his drive and dedication to his work), and I kept visualizing my graduation and the excitement I would experience. It made me think about this journey of going through graduate school and what I need to continue being successful. I thought about my personal wellness and how I take care of myself, and I realized that there is always room for growth. Self-care practices do not have to be confined to one set of practices that are constantly repeated (unless that’s your thing), you can add as much variety as you need. You can do what you need to do, in order to get what you need to get.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I set aside one day of the week as my “free” day. I’m really loving this practice I’ve set for myself. It really makes a difference having one day where I commit to doing nothing related to school. I’ve been able to maintain this practice consistently and learned to set boundaries with others if they ask me to do school-related stuff on that day. Hey, if I don’t take care of myself, this PhD is of no use, and I WANT this, so….yea.
In addition to taking a day off, I’ve also incorporated other ways to take care of myself and want to share a few of them with you.
- I read novels. Fiction has never been a preference, but I learned how amazing it is to step out of the world of counseling/supervision/education/ self-help/therapy/teaching and dive into another world that requires no helping skills or pedagogy 🙂 Right now I’m reading The Expats by Chris Pavone.
- I dedicate time on mornings (as often as I can) to reading from my meditation book before I start my day. I try to make this a daily morning ritual but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. My morning meditations include readings from The Book of Awakening: Having the Life you Want by Being Present to the Life you Have by Mark Nepo and the following Hazelden meditation books: The Language of Letting Go, Each Day a New Beginning, and Believing in Myself: Self Esteem Daily Meditations. I usually read Nepo’s book and select another from the Hazelden meditations for variety. So many great messages in these small books and they help to keep me balanced, centered, and focused.
- Meditation. I use the Calm app and I have a meditation “buddy.” We check in with each other to see our progress. This app is pretty great and you have a variety of meditations to try out.
- I find new places to explore in my town. I’m not really a fan of living where I am, but hey, it’s going to be my home for while again, might as well enjoy it right?
- Netflix. I make time to watch my favorite shows on Netflix when the TV doesn’t seem as interesting.
- Yoga. This is essential. Although I have not been to class in a long time, yoga is a way of life, so there are other ways I can practice and I enjoy doing this.
Those are just a few of the ways I de-stress and maintain my sanity during this PhD program. I would love to hear some of your self-care practices.
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
― Eleanor Brownn