"Field Notes" is a regular AACRAO Connect column covering practical and philosophical issues facing admissions and registrar professionals. The columns are authored by various AACRAO members. If you have an idea for a column and would like to contribute, please send an email to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Tiffani Robertson, MBA, Associate Director of Admissions, Governors State University
"Make time for you." "Take a vacation." "Go for a walk."
These are things that we say to ourselves, our loved ones, or others say to us. But do we actually listen? Are you practicing self-care on a continuous basis?
It takes dedication to practice self-care because it involves creating time and space in order to not just take care of your mental health, but your emotional and physical health as well. Being in higher education, we cannot help but to be overly involved in our work to ensure top notch service to our students. This often results in long hours, taking on additional responsibilities, and taking our work home with us. We are passionate about our work.
We must be equally passionate about taking care of ourselves. Over the years, I have become a huge advocate for self-care. Like many of you, I balance multiple roles and responsibilities on a daily basis so self-care is a necessity for me. If you currently practice self-care, I hope this helps you think of new ideas of practicing self-care. If you are not currently practicing self-care, I hope this helps you to get started!
1. Get comfortable with silence. Learn to quiet actual noise (TV, music, etc.), but also internal chatter, especially negative and/or distracting thoughts or actions.
The best time for me to do this is first thing in the morning. I purposely set my clock 30 minutes earlier than I really need to get up and get moving. During this time I either lay in silence or meditate. I know it is hard to just do nothing for some of you, but try it for a few minutes! When I meditate, it can involve a simple affirmation for the day and repeating it or listening to a mediation app I have downloaded on my phone. This practice helps to set the tone for my day and to have a time where my mind is not constantly thinking about all I have to do that day.
2. Journal. Periodic journaling helps release thoughts and feelings on paper. It's not only freeing, it also gives you an opportunity to go back and reflect. Go and buy a simple notebook to get started and use it only to journal. Even if you only journal a couple of times of month, believe me, it helps!
3. Practice healthy habits. Taking care of your physical health is essential to self-care. Go to the gym, walk around your campus on your lunch break, or start meal prepping. These all affect your well-being.
4. Try something new. Come on, live a little! Trying something new can be both scary and exciting at the same time. Consider taking a new class, zip lining for the first time while on vacation, or singing a song on karaoke night instead of just observing. I have found trying new things give me an extra energy boost. I challenge you all to try something new this month!
5. Schedule time for self-care. Like I said in the beginning, self-care does take dedication. When you are dedicated to something, you make time for it, right? So this is no different. Block those calendars, set reminders, and tell your loved ones about your plans. This will help you be accountable for not just scheduling the time but it will also let others know that you are dedicated to practicing self-care.
These are just a few examples of how you can continue or start practicing self-care. I cannot stress enough how important it is to actively practice self-care. Even adopting one of the above, or trying many of the other ways to practice self-care, will improve your mind, body, and spirit instantly. We must take care of ourselves in order to take care of our families, friends, and of course, the students we work for each and every day. Self-care is truly the way I stay sane.
For more self-care ideas please check out the following articles:
8 Ways You Can Master Self-Care Without Spending a Dime
20 Self-Care Practices for the Mind, Body and Soul
Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself