Self-Care Follow-up

By: Alissa (Disability Specialist & Guest Blogger)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post continues the collaboration we are doing with the Disability Resources office on the UMD Campus.

Adding on to our last post on self-care, I would like to share this list (source) I stumbled upon called 10 self-care ideas to inspire your process:

Pause and listen. Set a timer if you need to, but pause every hour or so and listen to your mental body, physical body, and emotional body. At a minimum, pause and listen once a day. I consider the 3 level check in step number one in our self-care practice.

How can we know what we need if we aren’t cultivating a relationship with our mental, emotional, and physical bodies? They each have different needs and it’s vital that we know what they each need for daily nourishment. Listen up! Need a reminder about the 3 level check-in?

Self-Care Journal. Keep a “self-care journal” and record the steps you are taking each day to care for yourself. Record your 3 level check-ins in your journal and any steps you’ve taken each day to care for yourself. This can include movement, creativity, food choices, rest and meditation, using healthy boundaries, breath awareness, and your 3 level check-ins, plus anything else that you are using to intentionally and radically care for yourself. This journal can be that thread throughout your self-care practice of what’s working and not working for you.

What do you do a lot of? What are you neglecting? Here are some questions to consider:

How have I supported and cared for myself today? What actions expressed my commitment to self-care today? What steps am I committed to for my own well being this week? What boundaries are nourishing me or where might I need to re-commit to them? Where might I need to make some adjustments in my self-care practices? What am I learning?

Ten self-care ideas for your mental, physical, and emotional health

Nourish From the Inside Out. Eat simply, eat at regular mealtimes, and eat slowly in a quiet setting if possible. Nourish yourself from the inside out with delicious and wholesome meals.

Get Embodied. Move your body and get embodied. Whether it’s walking, running, a ride on your bike, or a stroll through the woods. Move your body. Dance, stretch and do yoga. Move around and stay energized

Beyond the Body. Caring for your physical body in terms of self-care is essential. Just remember that self-care goes beyond the physical body and also must include the emotional body and mental body as well. Are you tending to your emotional body needs and your mental body needs in your self-care regimen? Are you addressing healthy boundaries in your self-care practices? Have you been re-evaluating your mental body messages? Are you working directly with the emotional body and the felt senses? Make sure your approach to self-care is well rounded.

You may need help with these pieces so check in with a coach, therapist or counselor if you need extra support.

Healthy Boundaries. Pay close attention to your boundaries. Listen to how you feel when you are with others. What sensations arrive physically, mentally, and emotionally? What feelings and thoughts arrive? Be aware of how your relationships affect you. Do they nourish? Overstimulate? Exhaust or support you? What relationships are worthy of your time and energy- which ones should be restructured or let go?

Healthy boundaries are a basic step in getting your needs met and getting the nourishment you need in your life. Use them as a vital self-care tool.

Ask for Support and Express Your Needs. Are you piling your plate too high? Are you feeling burdened and heavy with responsibilities and general overwhelm? Remember to seek support, guidance, and ask for assistance.

Don’t self-isolate and don’t keep your needs to yourself. Who and what are the trustworthy support systems in your life? Call upon them, invite them in, anchor with them. Seek the abundance of support available to you and your life, but don’t go at things alone and martyr yourself. If you don’t feel like you have the support that you need, it may be time to call in a new team of resources. Find a trustworthy therapist, coach, counselor or mentor to get the process started. Seek answers and solutions.

Get Inspired and Go for the Joy! Do something new that inspires you. Try a new class, try a new cafe or recipe, or simply take a different hiking trail today. Be curious and explore while getting out of old ruts and patterns that might be less than fulfilling.

Remember that this can be simple and doesn’t have to be a move to a new state or an exotic vacation in paradise! Do activities that bring you joy, recharge your batteries and inspire you – but do it daily if possible. Walk in the woods, write poetry, dance, draw, journal, play with your animal companions, cook nourishing foods, do yoga.

Reflect and give gratitude. Openly express your gratitude to yourself and others. This can be an essential ritual for experiencing more nourishment in your life. What are you grateful for about yourself? What qualities are you proud of in yourself and in your life? What can you applaud yourself for accomplishing each day that serves your well being?

Celebrate yourself! And celebrate others! Expressing truthful gratitude to others can be a balm for their hearts as well as your own. Speak honestly and kindly to others and remind them why they are so special. I consider this an essential ingredient for life and love.

Work it like a job! Consider self-care to be your part-time job—or full-time job! Nourish yourself daily and always be moving towards greater nourishment for yourself and your life. Take baby steps or leaps, but remember that what you do today will provide sustainable nourishment and well being for your future days. Your steps really add up!

Above all, do what you love, and love what you do, your life depends on it!

As you continue your self-care journey, remember to pause periodically and ask yourself how your self-care practices are working for you and if there are any holes in how you are caring for yourself. Make the necessary adjustments along the way and remember this is a process. Enjoy!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read other posts Alissa has written

Photo Source: Unsplash | Billy Williams

Meet Me in Morocco: Study Abroad Part 3

By: Tori

Editor’s note: You can check out the rest of Tori’s Morocco experience in previous posts.

The best part of my study abroad experience was the freedom to do something new and exciting every single day. Conducting research abroad did not require a set schedule, I was able to determine when and where I was going to be, which allowed me to have some pretty amazing adventures. This is a list of the top five things to do in Morocco. Now, I may be a bit biased, but I know there are definitely more than five “top” things to do in Morocco. But I hope this gives you a little insight into what Morocco is like!

Top Five Things to Do in Morocco!

Ride a camel in the Saharan Desert
Take a journey to Merzouga, which is right near the Algerian border and ride off into the desert at sunset for a “24-hour desert experience”. Watch the stars from atop the sand dunes, and listen to traditional Berber music while you feast on tajine and sip on mint tea. In the morning, get up early to watch the sunrise and ride the camels back to civilization. Although it’s a trek, it is well worth it!

People riding camels in Sahara Desert

Riding camels in the Sahara Desert.

2 young women sitting in the sand at the Sahara Desert

Tori & friend in the Sahara Desert

Essaouira/ Chefchaouen
Two of my favorite cities. If you are looking for a good mix of tourism and culture, these are the cities meant for you!

Essaouira is an artistic coastal city with many museums, small streets, and very difficult rug shop owners who will make you work to get your rug for the price you want. The fresh fish here is delicious and the city is very peaceful compared to other cities in Morocco.

Essaouriora ally

Essaouiora

Chefchaouen is a northern city, near the tip of Morocco. This city has a lot of Spanish influence as Spain in only 8 miles from the coast of Morocco! Chefchaouen is a famous hill-side city, hidden in the Rif mountains and painted completely blue. While in Chefchaouen you can visit Cascades d’Akchour, an area with many hiking trails that will take you back to fresh springs and waterfalls (if the season is right). Taking a dip here on a hot day is the most refreshing feeling.

City buildings overview - ChefChaouen Morocco

ChefChaouen

DCIM101GOPRO

Tori & friends at Akchour

Jemaa el-Fnaa
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the famous square in Marrakech. Marrakech is a Moroccan city known for its craziness. Within seconds of being in the square, motorbikes will speed past you, monkeys will be doing backflips, and people will be throwing snakes around your neck and saying “10 Dirham.” Although it sounds stressful and overwhelming, Marrakech shows you the “wild side” or Morocco. The square comes to life at night after the sun goes down and people retreat from their homes to enjoy each other’s company. It is safe to say Marrakech is entertainment central of Morocco.

Tour the Medina in Fez
Fez is the old city and is the second largest city in all of Morocco. Touring the Fez medina was my favorite “touristy” activity. We visited the weavery, tannery, and learned all about the history of the city. Fez is home to the oldest university in the world, amazing street food, and families who have lived within the walls of the medina for centuries. I could go on and on about this beautiful city, but I think pictures will do it more justice.

Man standing at weaving machine

Weavery in Fez

people working at a tannery

Tannery in Fez

Go Surfing/ Visit the Beaches
Morocco is a coastal country so you may as well take advantage of the water! Take a surfing lesson and get out of your comfort zone – try to stay up for more than 5 seconds (it’s a lot harder than it looks!). The beaches of Legzira are the perfect weekend getaway. With beautiful rocks and arches lining the shore, you can explore all day long!

Young woman walking on beach

Tori walking on the beach at Legzira

3 young women jumping at the beach

Tori & friends on the beach at Legzira

No matter what you choose to do in Morocco, I am sure you will find it to be exciting, challenging, and full of memories to last a lifetime! Throughout my travels, it made a big difference to stay in places with great views! Typically, accommodations in Morocco are much cheaper than in the US, so the “extra bucks” are worth it. If you ever find yourself in Spain over the years, hop over to Morocco. It’s a cheap flight and is well worth the trip! Hope you enjoyed learning all about Morocco!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo source: Tori

How I Chose My Major, and a Minor I Wish Was Another Major

By: Tony

I’ve always been good at social studies. Growing up, it was always my favorite part of the school day, and my academics reflected that. I earned A’s in social studies and English, but that trend didn’t always extend to math. As my mom likes to put it, I’m good at words, not numbers. In high school, this pattern continued, and I began to really think about it. I knew that I wanted to attend college, but I wasn’t sure what I would study. This was a few years into the huge STEM surge that we are still going through, and those studies were being pushed heavily at my school. I knew that numbers aren’t really my thing, and I began to worry that I had no idea what I wanted to study. At the same time, I was excelling in my history, economics, and civics classes, and I was also really into reading dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World. I was wary of wanting to pursue these studies in college because I was well aware of the jokes surrounding the liberal arts, and all my friends were planning on studying STEM fields like computer science and engineering. Luckily, this hesitation ceased in the fall of my senior year of high school.

The class that changed everything was my 4th period political science class. I’ve heard of poli sci prior to this class, but I didn’t really know what it was. In case you’re not sure of what it is either, political science is the study of power, specifically what power is, how it’s distributed, and how it should be distributed. In essence, it looks at how society is run and maintained, and possibilities of how those operations can be done better. I absolutely loved that class, we talked about theory, current events, our own opinions, justice, and a whole lot more. After I took that class, I had my mind made up, I was going to study political science in college. During my senior year, I also took a sociology course, which I also loved, but I had my mind set on political science.

The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it's a different kind of life. - R. Buckminster Fuller

Fast-forward to junior year at UMD. I was a happy poli sci major with a sociology minor. I didn’t really pay too much attention to my progress in sociology beyond making sure that I was on track to complete the minor. While applying for Spring semester classes I decided to look at what it would take to complete a sociology major as well. As it turned out, I was much closer to that reality than I thought, but there were still a few obstacles in the way. I would need to complete a branch of required courses related to completing an internship, and it didn’t seem that I would be able to complete everything and graduate on time. The first course in the branch seemed to be similar to one that I completed for my political science major, and so I reached out to my academic advisor to see if I could get that course waived. I got the paperwork for the request, but life got in the way and I forgot to submit it. I still regret not at least submitting it and seeing what happened. Maybe I would be a double major now.

I care a lot about sociology, just as much as, if not more than, political science. If you’re wondering, sociology is essentially the scientific version of people-watching at the mall. The goal of sociology is to better understand how society functions and how people interact with each other. It allows me to better comprehend the world around me and the potentials for improvement. In fact, I am applying to attend grad school for sociology because I want to continue learning and figure out how I can connect those lessons to a career.

So that is the story of how I chose my major, and a minor that I wish I had picked up as a major. Even though I came into UMD with an idea of what to study, I still regret my hesitation in figuring out what additional opportunities I had. Hopefully, my experience will encourage you to take those extra steps if you are in the same spot that I was.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tony’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Steve Halama

Obtaining a Leadership Position as an Introvert

By: Heidi

Going into my Junior year of college, I was feeling rather content with where I was at starting a new job at Career and Internship Services as well as taking on a leadership role as the Volunteer Coordinator for UMD’s yoga club. During Junior year everything starts to become a little more real and intense. Running for a leadership position in my sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma was not something on the top of my priority list, but it was something that was fun and exciting to consider. As the applications were sent out, I started to think a little more seriously, “what position would I run for?”, and “could I really pull this off?” I personally have never held a high position in an organization let alone an executive board position of a chapter with 100+ women.

obtaining a position in leadership as an introvert

One of the main reasons I was so hesitant to running for a position is because I didn’t feel like I would be a good leader because I am introverted. What I needed to learn is that there is already a misunderstanding that introverts are shy, when actually we are great listeners, which is fitting for leadership roles.

For the longest time, I did not know or understand my own strengths. This is where I used my results from the CliftonStrengths for Students to my advantage. Everybody has their own strengths and in this process, I realized it was about time I stopped doubting myself. Ask yourself “would I be a good fit?” Now change the question to ask “why would I be a good fit?” to understand from a different perspective. The most important thing is to run for a position that aligns with you in which you could passionately contribute to your organization.

If you find yourself wanting to run for a leadership position but feel hesitant, that is natural! What do you have to lose? Take the time to understand what would make you a strong leader because chances are the answers are already there.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelli Tungay

Spotlight: Kirby Leadership Institute

By: Whitney

“I don’t really see myself as a leader” I would say to myself. Leaders take charge, head up organizations, and they have the confidence to handle that type of responsibility. Leading flows out of them naturally. One day my friend said to me, “you’re looking at it wrong.”

During my first year at UMD, I experienced a dip in confidence, after all the fun and excitement of a new school and new adventure wore off. What can I do to build up my confidence? Well, I thought, who do I think is confident? Leaders. Next, I found myself sitting in a chair at the CEHSP advising office asking if there were any courses in leadership, even outside of my psychology major. My advisor pointed me in the direction of UMD’s Kirby Leadership Institute (KLI). After asking lots of questions, and being assured that there was no penalty if I ended up not completing the requirements, I joined. I’m so glad I did, and here are my top five reasons to join (in no particular order).

Gain hands-on experience and build skills
KLI is a co-curricular certificate program at UMD and is FREE of charge to ANY UMD undergraduate who wants to participate. Kirby Leadership emphasizes diversity and inclusion, as well as hands-on experience with leadership through service in the community, both at UMD and in Duluth. When asked why volunteering is important to Leadership, Joie Acheson Lee, Associate Director for Leadership Development, and Coordinator for the Kirby Leadership Institute stated, “volunteering helps you practice [your leadership] skills and gain experience” in your field. As a college student who as spent most of my life inside a classroom, sometimes it can be hard to see myself as anything more than a student. Getting outside of the classroom, as a peer mentor, and in other roles, helped me put my learning into practice and helped me expand my view of myself as more than just a student.

"For me, KLI was the push I needed to step outside my comfort zone and take a more active role in the communities I was a part of." - Whitney

Confidence and community involvement
Using your strengths helps you grow and build on them. Talking with Joie, it is very clear that KLI is passionate about empowering students and young adults. Joie says “we want students and young adults [to] have a sense of their own worth.” The fact that we bring unique experiences, skills, and abilities to all our endeavors. For me, KLI was the push I needed to step outside my comfort zone and take a more active role in the communities I was a part of. It opened my eyes to the opportunities out there that fit my interests and I could bring my skill set to. Being more invested in the community helped me meet so many awesome people and become aware of the power I had to impact my community and my life. They also emphasize equity, diversity, and inclusion helping individuals to become more aware of others and more inclusive in how they lead.

Receive recognition for things you already do
One thing I have learned while in KLI is there is not just one way to be “a leader.” Leading is about doing what you can where you are to help others and the community. KLI sees everyone as leaders and believes there are leadership opportunities in every field. KLI provides a way for you to document the leadership activities you are already involved in or will be during college. With its emphasis on community involvement, any unpaid work you do is considered volunteering both on and off campus. This can include practicums, job shadowing, unpaid internships for your major/field, and taking a leadership role within a club or on-campus. Many of us will do one or more of these things as part of our college career and the Leadership Institute wants us to see how valuable these activities are in shaping us as leaders within our fields.

It’s self-driven and 100% tailored to you
KLI is a co-curricular activity and not a minor, which affords it the ability to really tailor your leadership experiences to who you are, what you’re interested in, and the strengths you have and want to build on. When I first thought of leaders, I automatically thought, those are the people who go into things like management. I didn’t think there were many ways someone with a psychology major could exercise leadership. I am interested in helping people, so I have picked opportunities in line with those interests. Also, you have your entire college career to work towards the leadership certificate AND because much of it includes things you already would be doing throughout college regardless, it is achievable!

Top 5 reasons to join Kirby Leadership Institute

The leadership portfolio
Any activities you are involved in throughout college can be a springboard for your future. KLI has crafted the program with that knowledge in mind. After completing the program, they help you create a portfolio of all your leadership experiences while in college. Not only is it cool to look back and realize all you have accomplished, it is something you can leave with potential employers at job interviews. When asked what experience you have or how you have demonstrated leadership, you can only speak for so long. The leadership portfolio is a document that speaks loudly and clearly about your skills and abilities and how you have gained and used them. The leadership portfolio cannot replace a well-crafted resume, it does enhance it though; and as an addition to your resume, it can help you stand out. The leadership portfolio is something unique, created at UMD for UMD students. Employers see thousands of resumes, chances are they haven’t seen a leadership portfolio.

LEADERSHIP—WHAT IS IT ANYWAY?

I 100% guarantee you, you are already leading. Joie’s take on it is that “Leadership is the ability to influence others,” a set of skills that can be learned and not something that is just for the few. If you think about it everyone has influence in someone’s life. Siblings influence each other, friends influence friends, you influence yourself and the choices you make. Leading doesn’t have to look a certain way and leaders don’t have to be alike. “There are as many styles of leadership as there are leaders,” Joie says. I joined KLI simply because I didn’t see myself as a leader. Joining has broadened my understanding of leadership and encouraged me to see it in new ways. It has helped me give myself more credit for the work that I do and increased my confidence by pushing me out of my comfort zone. Whether you are part of KLI or not, I hope you to see the value you bring to everything you’re a part of, and if you don’t see yourself as a leader, I encourage you to look again.

Learn more about the Kirby Leadership Institute and the Leadership Certificate.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Whitney’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Fred Russo & Hope House Press

Informational Interviewing Got Me an Internship

By: McKenzie

About a year ago I came across a subject that I had never heard of before. It’s called Informational Interviewing. When I first encountered discussion around this topic I was rightly skeptical. I thought to myself, “Who would want to talk to me (a stranger) about themselves,” and funny enough the answer is: a lot of people. And so I began my journey. I’ve always been a pretty curious person. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know about people and the lives they lead. Turns out Informational interviewing is PERFECT for me.

Benefits of informational interviewing

Here’s why you should try it too:

You learn for FREE
Getting out there and talking to people is a free, interactive way to gain knowledge. You can gain insights into how people pursue their careers, in what ways they gained experience, and suggestions for how you can be a marketable candidate for a similar position.

It’s practice
You may not think it at first, but informational interviewing will help you practice for interviews in the future. For starters, you learn what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. You realize that the person interviewing might just be as nervous as you and it can be helpful to empathize with the fact that we’re all human. Secondly, informational interviews have a tendency to open a space for you to talk about yourself as well which can bring about other opportunities.

Connections are made
The interview often turns into a conversation between two professionals which can have its perks. You develop a more professional connection with the person. For example, when I conducted an informational interview the interviewee had seen my LinkedIn profile since that’s how I reached out to her. At the end of the interview, she began to ask me questions about my aspirations and career plans. After communicating my goals with her she knew of an internship position that was within my interests and suggested that I apply.

Finding a possible mentor
The biggest thing that I have gained from informational interviewing was not the internship I obtained following the interview. Although the internship was one of the best experiences I could have asked for, it was still a temporary experience. My supervisor and informational interviewee became my mentor and she continues to guide me in my professional pursuits. This is something that has continued to benefit me even though the internship has ended.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Carolina Bonito

Meet Me in Morocco: Study Abroad Part 2

By: Tori

This summer I embarked on a journey to conduct research abroad in Morocco! (You can read about Tori’s pre-trip excitement.) It was an amazing experience and I find myself missing bits and pieces of this mystical place every day. While my time two months abroad are hard to compress, I hope this list of the top five things I will miss about Morocco gives you a glimpse into the different culture this North African country has to offer.

Large group photo of students

Large group photo of students.

Our dear friends.
We arrived in Morocco with no pre-made plans on how we were going to get connected with fellow students. It was simply fate when we met with a student group called “Be Positive”, who are focused on learning about and connecting with other cultures. These people became our companions quickly and are who I spent the majority of the two months abroad with. This was, in my opinion, the best part of the trip. They traveled with us, took us to all the cool places in Agadir (where I lived in Morocco), and even invited us into their homes. We grew close with their family as we spent many Iftar meals with them. Iftar is the meal in which Muslims break fast during the month of Ramadan. Another major bonus was they lived right in our neighborhood! It was so easy to hangout and they taught us how to navigate the bus system (thankfully, otherwise we would have done WAY more walking than necessary).

Celebrating 4th of July with Moroccan friends

Celebrating 4th of July with Moroccan friends

Morocco friends of 4th of July

Morocco friends of 4th of July

The exchange rate.
All I can say is that I miss how easy Morocco was on my bank account. Although the flight over was fairly spendy, the exchange rate for Morocco is AMAZING. Moroccans use dirhams as their currency and 1 dirham is equivalent to $0.10. Each of my meals only cost roughly $2-$3. And a train ride clear across the country was only $15. It’s safe to say I’m going to miss those dirhams.

Msemen, Mint Tea, and Fresh OJ
These were by FAR my favorite treats in Morocco. Msemen is a Moroccan crepe- it’s a lot like lefse but a little thicker. It is a popular item at breakfast as it is served with jam, honey, and amlou – which is a lot like almond butter but mixed with argan oil. Along with Msemen, they also serve mint tea and fresh OJ. Mint tea is nicknamed “Moroccan whiskey” because they serve it in teeny-tiny glasses all day long. The fresh OJ always quenched my thirst – I had never had such delicious juice before!

Msemen & OJ

Msemen & OJ

Pouring Mint Tea

Pouring Mint Tea

The present-day mindset
Americans tend to always be on the go; multi-tasking, getting as much done ahead of time as possible, etc. It is the total opposite in Morocco. As a developing country, they tend to worry simply about what is in front of them and have comfort in knowing they cannot control the future. They truly carry the “Don’t worry, Be happy” mindset throughout their everyday life. While this was hard to adjust to at first, I miss this part of their culture – especially now during midterm season.

Souk Shopping
In Morocco, there aren’t many grocery stores. Instead, they shop in areas called souks. Souks are within the medina walls and have tight walkways filled with a variety of items to buy. On your left there can be fruits and vegetables, chicken, dates, etc. and on your right, someone can be selling sandals, pants, rugs, and paintings. You can buy EVERYTHING in the souk, which is nice and convenient. Another interesting thing about the souk is the haggling. In Morocco, you are allowed to bargain on a price with the shopkeeper. At first, this was nerve-racking. I didn’t know the language or understand what a good price was, but after a short while I was hooked (more like addicted) on haggling with those in the souk. I still go to Target today and have the desire to bargain for a better price on a scarf. Sometimes the shopkeepers will even let you have a better deal “just because you are beautiful”, haha!

Souk - Moroccan market

Souk

Souk - Moroccan market

Souk

Stay tuned for the next blog on Top Five Things to Do in Morocco!!

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo source: Tori