Show up well: The importance of prioritizing holistic wellness throughout the application process.
The Santa Clara University Wellness Center uses the Eight Dimensions of Wellness model in its support of students throughout their academic career. My challenge to you is to start using it as a model now. Yep, even as you are running off your feet with your AP Biology midterm, Soccer tournament, fundraising for the houseless, that part-time job and of course, college applications!
Time and experience has taught me and many others that you cannot do any of these things well if you are not well yourself. There are key elements of wellness that tend to be skipped over in exchange for those that seem more important like financial and intellectual wellness, i.e. your job, midterms and college apps. Each sphere of wellness supports another or multiple other spheres, so if, for example, your physical wellness is suffering, your intellectual wellness may also be suffering. You have a chance to show up to your important tasks with more internal resources and perform them even better by investing in yourself as a whole, integrated person. In the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, the goal is to cultivate mind, body and spirit integration and intelligence. This means listening to each of these areas and recognizing strengths and room for improvement.
So let's reflect:
What are the areas of wellness that are suffering right now?
How can you cultivate good wellness habits now, that you can carry with you into college?
I highlight only 3 of these 8 dimensions here, but I encourage you to dive deeper and consider how you can show up well!
Taking time for physical wellness has been proven to improve your mood, energy and capacity to show up in the rest of your life. On top of that, stepping out of your brain and into your body gives you a chance to rest your mind and focus on simple motor tasks which can provide a clean slate when you return to your tasks for the day.
Short on time? Take a 10 minute Nature walk
Nature has its own magical benefits for bringing you a sense of wellbeing.
Stressed? Sign yourself up for a Yoga class
Improve your breathing which helps to regulate your stress response, drop into your body in a healing way, connect your mind to your body.
Low energy? Cardio
Get that heart rate up and your blood flowing. For low impact, try barre, for high impact, there's nothing like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
Eat WELL! Maybe it's time for a smoothie, salad or some protein. Nourish yourself with whole foods and leave some room for snacks as you work on those apps!
Aim to get in 10,000 steps a day and 120 active minutes a week.
Meeting up with friends is a great way to take a break. You will benefit more from a quick coffee break with friends than from that same hour spent stressing about your to do list. It is so important to be in the moment and ENJOY your high school experience.
Short on time?
Facetime a friend while on your 10 minute walk.
Get out and do something. Go for a quick trip to Target or out to lunch with friends.
Set aside time for a movie night with friends, family or even by yourself and take a real break!
Do some of your work with friends! The group energy will help you to focus and make it feel less like work.
The last thing we want to think about when we are busy or stressed is how we are feeling. However, these things can really catch up to us and before we know it, we are overwhelmed. Try these tips to help stay on top of the big transitions, changes, and events taking a toll on your emotional wellbeing.
Short on time?
Do a quick meditation, but really be present with it. (I recommend Headspace if you want to go guided)
Journal it out! Sometimes writing out your stressors can really help, especially when you acknowledge what you can actually do to alleviate the stress and what you have to let go of.
SELF CARE. Take a bath, stretch, breathe deep breaths and SLEEP WELL!!
GET HELP! Y'all we have been through a time! We all need help and support from time to time, if not all the time. Make sure you reach out to your network, to trusted friends and family and to healthcare providers and process all that you have been facing, giving yourself extra grace.
The best way to measure and ensure success is to show up well; mind, body and spirit! These are all helpful practices throughout the application process, but they will actually be foundational for your time in college, your career and anything else life throws at you.
Be well! Then “Go forth, and set the world on fire”. - St. Ignatius of Loyola
Saxena, S., et al. “Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity.” Journal of Mental Health, vol. 14, no. 5, Oct. 2005, pp. 445–451. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/09638230500270776. This is only an example of the scholarship available on this subject. The knowledge on this subject is endless and not limited to the medical field alone.
Rakow, Donald A., and Gregory T. Eells. Nature Rx: Improving College-Student Mental Health. Cornell University Press, 2019, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctvfc544p.
Van, der K. B. A. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. , 2014. Print.
“The Magic of 10,000 Steps”, fitbit, <https://blog.fitbit.com/the-magic-of-10000-steps/> June 22, 2010.
Suni, Eric. Vyas Nilong. Sleep Foundation, <https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene> August 14, 2020.