Self-Care

Dear faculty,

as I clarify below, this Tuesday Tip is sent on behalf of one of the READI equity fellows, Tina Hanson-Lewis.

However, I want to reiterate how important it is, especially at this time of year, to dedicate some time to yourselves and to practice some self-care. Below you find some practical steps to follow, and I encourage you to explore the ones that better apply to you.

For some of us, this means focusing on and prioritizing our family and loved ones. In this spirit, I want to inform you that the December issue of the FDEV Zine will be released on Monday 12/12, instead of Monday 12/5, and our next FDEV podcast will be released in early Spring instead of this coming Thursday. 

Chiara

Sent on behalf of Tina Hanson-Lewis, lecturer in Chemistry and Biochemistry and READI equity fellow.

Make time for yourself the same way you make time for work. We will always have never-ending to-do lists: classes to prep, grading piling up, emails awaiting responses, meetings to attend — not to mention actually teaching. Additionally, conversations about complex topics arise frequently while we are trying to increase equity, inclusion, retention and success in our classrooms, programs, and across our campus. While these conversations are important, they can be very challenging and draining for everyone involved. Since stress is inevitable, especially at this point in the semester, it’s important to take time for self-care. Self-care refers to activities that we can do on a regular basis to reduce stress and boost our health and well-being. Practicing self-care is an important professional development activity that will help you cognitively, physically, and emotionally ‘bounce back’ each day. This will, in turn, make you more capable of handling the stressful situations that can arise in our careers and lives.

Everyone’s approach to self-care will be different because it is demarcated by what you do to look after your holistic wellbeing. While there is no self-care routine that works as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan, there is a common thread to all self-care plans: take some time to focus on important aspects of your life such as mind, body, emotions, spirit, work, and relationships. To refine your own self-care plan, you will want to think about what you value and need in your day-to-day life, this is called “maintenance self-care,” and strategies you can employ when or if you face a crisis along the way, called “emergency self-care.” Since we are all strapped for time, I want to provide succinct steps and resources to guide you:

  1. Identify what it is you are doing now to manage the stress in your life. Additionally, determine if those coping strategies are healthy or unhealthy. The “Is your life causing you stress?” assessment can help you with this. Decreasing or eliminating at least one unhealthy coping strategy can be one of the goals of your maintenance self-care. Utilizing more healthy strategies can be another goal.
  2. Recognize what you are doing now for self-care. The “Self-Care Assessment” can help you realize the healthy things you are doing for yourself already. This assessment can also help you see where imbalances exist in your current self-care practices and give you ideas for additional activities you can do to correct those imbalances.
  3. Draft a maintenance self-care plan. The “My Maintenance Self-Care Plan Worksheet” can be used to write down the activities you want to focus on in each domain of your life as well as barriers you might face (see the “Self-Care Assessment” for ideas). This document can then be referred to when you are feeling stressed, burned out, or overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to modify and update it over time; it is your self-care plan!
  4. Sketch out an emergency self-care plan. Even though emergency events are relatively rare, they do still happen. Being prepared can really help in the moment. The “My Emergency Self-Care Plan Worksheet” can guide you.
  5. Make a commitment to yourself and dedicate the time needed to complete your selfcare routine. You deserve self-care. Take a little bit of time to come up with a plan and then make a promise to yourself. If you find it tough to commit, sit with those feelings and think about why you are hesitant. Remind yourself that you must support yourself before you can truly support others.

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