“You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball
I found myself in a mindfulness workshop, lead by one of my resident assistants, thinking, ‘wait, do I actually do this?’ As I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, I realized that was the first moment in two weeks I slowed down enough to focus on myself.
As Student Affairs practitioners, our work is often busy and chaotic. It’s no secret there’s a high burnout and turnover rate in our field. This work can be very stressful sometimes, as student needs are often multi-faceted and complicated. As graduate students and new professionals, self-care is crucial. I often felt overwhelmed by feelings of living for my job, instead of devoting more time and energy to friends, family, partners, building strong connections with colleagues, etc. The amount of work on our desks will always be more than the amount of hours in the day. Urgent matters tend to crowd out the important on a regular basis. And if we let it, our work can be all-consuming. This is why I find self-care necessary. It’s one thing to encourage healthy living to our students, it’s quite another to practice it in our daily lives.
The main ways I remain balanced are eating healthy meals, consistently getting enough sleep, spending as much time with friends and family as my schedule allows, and exercising regularly. Remember those best friends from high school and college, and family you haven’t spoken to in a few months? Yeah, they miss you too! Give them a call, have dinner, see a movie. Simply sharing space with other people that know and love you can be cathartic.
Self-care has unfortunately been viewed by many as selfish. However, I view self-care as central to my physical, emotional and mental wellness. I also find the more I take care of myself in my personal life, the more efficient I am professionally. Maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself is important as it boosts your confidence.
These are healthy habits we can infuse organically into our everyday workplaces and lives, and while I’m the first one to admit I don’t always practice what I preach, I’ll keep showing up for myself because I need to model healthy behavior to the students I serve, and I need to be as healthy as I can be. Graduate students and new professionals must prioritize self-care because each of us only has so much emotional bandwidth! We are vital to growth of this field, and taking care of ourselves is where me must start. As I’m constantly reminding my staff and myself: ‘if I don’t have the best of me, how can anyone else?'
Morgan Rae Glazier works as a Resident Director at Miami University. She loves to spend time with family and friends, sing, write, and is an advocate for mental health and wellness. She can be reached on Twitter @MRae123.