3 ideas for improving self-care
AU educational counsellor offers insight into ways to improve caring for ourselves physically and emotionally
In my role as a counsellor at Athabasca University (AU), I have the great privilege of working with learners as they achieve their career and educational goals. As I think about self-care and what would be important for post-secondary learners to know about to improve their overall well-being, I am reminded of three things: mindfulness, kindness, and becoming a change agent.
You may find these considerations useful as you contemplate your personal purpose and passion, and how you can live a life of meaning.
1. Be mindful
What do the terms “be mindful” or “practise mindfulness” really mean? In its simplest form, being mindful is about focusing your attention on the present moment.
Mindfulness is about making space for reflection, which plays an important role in learning. Life is busy with little time to pause, gather thoughts, or reflect. Yet we can’t lose sight of the importance of personal reflection.
“People who take time to practise mindfulness are more likely to achieve personal and learning goals.”
Based on my doctoral research and ongoing work with adult learners, it’s clear that people who take time to practise mindfulness are more likely to achieve personal and learning goals. As an adult educator and researcher, I have gathered evidence that self-reflection and critical evaluation of unconscious assumptions and biases promotes mindfulness, learning, and goal attainment.
If you have a learning goal, AU can help you achieve it. Visit our counselling page to access related resources. You can also schedule an appointment with an AU counsellor to discuss your academic goal and how to successfully achieve your goal.
2. Be kind (to yourself and others)
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are words most are familiar with. They speak of our universal desire to be unique individuals, to experience fairness, and belong.
With so many divisions and conflicts in our world today, we all have a role to play in making these universal desires a reality. It starts with me, it starts with you, and it starts today.
“When we are kind to each other, we are also being kind to ourselves.”
Rather than focus on things that bring division and conflict, such as cultural, ethnic, or religious differences, perhaps we can focus our attention on what brings us together? In our collective humanity we are one. When we are kind to each other, we are also being kind to ourselves.
Together, we can create a world we all want to be part of—a world where we respect our differences, where we uphold fairness and where we embrace our collective humanity.
3. Be the change
What gives your life meaning? What does a meaningful life look like?
A meaningful life is one where you connect deeply with a significant and important endeavour. When you pause to reflect on your life experiences, it’s likely you can identify things in the world that you would like to change.
“A meaningful life is one where you connect deeply with a significant and important endeavour.”
Once you contemplate the change you would like to see in your life or in the world, you can participate in making it happen. Some individuals devote their life work to making the world a better place. I am reminded of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi to whom some have attributed the famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”