In this issue

Tips for practicing self-care

This article shares practical tips for graduate students for incorporating self-care into their lives.

By Nicole R. Bartholomew, MA

Let's face it, one does not become a graduate student without being able to multitask, prioritize, sacrifice and delay gratification. These abilities allow students to successfully balance the immense workload, impending deadlines and degree requirements that are expected when entering graduate school.

Additionally, Div. 18, Criminal Justice Section students' stress may be compounded by the challenges of working in correctional environments where they are exposed to traumatic material and sometimes resistant clients. It is because of these stressors that caring for our own mental health is imperative.

We hear about the importance of self-care, and we all do a great job at identifying what we can do to the engage in self-care (e.g., exercise, read a non-academic book, hang out with friends, eat healthy, get enough sleep). However, we often drop the ball by not knowing how to incorporate the activities into our schedules. So how can we become better at engaging in the self-care activities that we know are important?

  • Have a self-care accountability buddy. Communicate your self-care plan to someone who will check in to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
  • Keep an activity log. You may find that you are not spending your time efficiently, allowing you to free up opportunities for self-care.
  • Create a reward system. Use self-care activities as incentives for achieving attainable goals you set for yourself.
  • Multitask. Engage in self-care while meeting work requirements. For example, if you miss spending time with your peers but have a test tomorrow, have a study party. If you want to work out but you feel like you should be studying for the licensing exam, purchase EPPP workshop mp3s to listen to while you work out instead of music.
  • Connect to others outside of your program. They can provide support, normalize your experiences and be a resource when you need suggestions for managing stress. The best part is, this is easy because you can connect with other Div. 18 and Criminal Justice Section students and professionals through the following:
  • Div. 18 mentoring program
  • Div. 18 Twitter feed
  • Div. 18 Facebook page
  • Div. 18 LinkedIn page
  • Div. 18 Criminal Justice Section Facebook page

Graduate school is a challenging but incredibly rewarding processes that can be enjoyable. Rewarding yourself for all of your hard work will allow you to appreciate the process of graduate school, recognize your growth and accomplishments and reduce the inherent stress. Care for yourself so you can care for others.