Self-Care Season is Every Season
Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School. Updated by Erin Michel, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.
Mindfulness and self-care are important aspects of our overall wellbeing. Simply put, if you’re not taking care of yourself, it can be difficult to navigate the many challenges graduate school will throw at you. Self-care will look different for each individual, whether it be finding your center through meditation or binge-watching New Girl, but one thing is certain: everyone needs time to focus on taking care of themselves. Below are a few of our ideas.
Join Meditation Wednesdays with SKY Campus Happiness
Meditation is one of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. SKY Campus Happiness, a mindfulness program that brings campus communities together, runs weekly group sessions that guide participants through a meditation. Each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., the organization hosts these in-person sessions at Tangeman, focusing on breathing techniques that help participants increase their mindfulness and decrease their stress. Visit their Campus Link page to learn more and check out this video that features Yale students who participated in SKY’s meditation programs:
Download Apps that Help You Disconnect from Your Phone
Yes, the heading above is ironic. But if you, like many, have found yourself spending too much time on the smartphone lately, then there is a solution: apps that help you stop using your apps. Space (for iOS and Android) and QualityTime (for Android) both help users to track their usage and be more mindful of their time. It’s too easy to get lost in deep Google search rabbit holes or mindlessly scroll on Instagram and Twitter; these apps are valuable tools to learn your habits, disconnect, and spend your time in more meaningful ways.
Host a Communal Binge-Watch With TeleParty
Most of us have likely found plenty of time to binge watch our favorite shows on Netflix and Disney+ during the pandemic, but one feature that makes the activity less isolated is the TeleParty feature. TeleParty is a Google Chrome plugin that lets you synchronize your shows with other users and create a chat window for you to communicate with each other. The plugin works with Netflix, HBO, Disney+, and Hulu, so the options for group binge-watching are truly endless. Remember when the lockdown began and everyone seemed to coop up at home to watch Tiger King? Now with Teleparty we can do it alone, together.
Schedule a Let’s Talk Session
If you’re in need of advice or professional help with your mental health, but aren’t sure how to start, CAPS’ Let’s Talk sessions are a good stepping off point. Let’s Talk sessions are not traditional therapy; rather, they enable you to have a quick, 15-20-minute consultation with a counselor on whatever topic or issue you need help with. These sessions are free and confidential (with the exception of emergency situations that require immediate action). Upon leaving the session, you can expect to know more about your resources and next steps.
CAPS also hosts free group counseling sessions, so if you want to chat about things in a safe, group setting, these sessions are a great option. Also be sure to check out CAPS’ Reach Out app to get emergency contact numbers and other resources directly on your phone.
Participate in a Peer Support Group
Another program that CAPS supports is the Bearcats Support Network, a peer group that hosts weekly groups. The meetings are confidential and much less structured than a traditional therapy session. The Bearcats Support Network is run by students for students, so if you’re looking for an inclusive community and face-to-face interaction during these virtual times, this group is a good option. Sign up for a session at the Bearcats Support Network’s Campus Link page.
If a graduate student-specific peer group is more your style, you're in luck. Meeting virtually every Tuesday from 5-6pm, this group, led by CECH doctoral students, is a great space to vent and receive empathy or advice on a wide range of concerns. For more information about the group including it's background and philosophy, check out this feature article.
For more resources on virtual wellness, check out this webpage that the Student Wellness Center compiled. An essential read is the New York Times opinion piece by an astronaut who spent nearly a year isolated in space.