By Maria Gallardo-Williams
Welcome to #UnpluggedNCState’s second week, and thank you so much for signing up for this series! We had such a wonderful response to the content for our first week, and we can’t wait to see you engage with the rest of our series.
We spent some time our first week accepting that some things (maybe lots of things) are not OK, and finding ways to come to terms with the events of the past year. Some of our journaling prompts/conversation starters encouraged us to name our feelings, to acknowledge them and appreciate the journey that we have been through. Although all of us have experienced different things during the COVID-19 pandemic, with political and racial overtones that can’t be ignored, this will be one of those collective experiences that will be remembered for years to come. We all went through this together, and hopefully we are ready to move on together, but we have to be practical and acknowledge that our future steps are not as clear as we would like them to be. This seems like a good week to reflect on our own journey, and to choose steps that might get us closer to our personal wellness goals.
Of course, wellness is one of those things that is different for everyone. For some, it might look like training for a 5K, while for others it requires time for quiet reflection. In our podcast for this week I interviewed two people that embody the idea of wellness in very different ways: Cathi Dunnagan and Marion Martin. I invite you to listen to their words (or read the transcript) and use their suggestions to craft your own definition. It is interesting to me that Marion prefers the gym while Cathi enjoys nature walks, but both suggest the use of mindfulness and meditation apps (Calm for Cathi, Insight Timer for Marion) and both are regular attendees at OFE’s Mindful Mondays, a program that has a devoted following.
In a recent article for Elle magazine (did I just cite an article from Elle Magazine? Well, yes, I did! If you prefer a journal article, here is one that comes to the same conclusion) Annie Werner explores the depth of our collective trauma, and some possible pathways for healing. Among the many expert opinions offered, I found a quote that captured my attention:
“The antidote of trauma is practicing being here and now”
That quote reminded me of my mom, a trauma survivor who really knew how to be in the moment. Nobody would have called my mom a wellness expert. In fact, with her mercurial moods and dark disposition, she would have scoffed at such a claim. If you asked my mom to tell you her life story, she would relate how her father died during the first week of the Spanish Civil War, and it was all downhill from there. However, regardless of how hard her life had been, my mom could enjoy a moment with all her heart. It could be as simple as eating bread, warm from the oven, or going to get yarn from the craft store. It could be an extra sappy episode of her favorite soap opera, or a satisfactory real estate deal. She relished her moments. She lost herself in them. And I learned by watching her.
This past year I have found myself searching for those moments, creating them for those around me, losing myself in the here and now. While teaching online might not seem like the perfect vehicle for being mindful, it has afforded me the opportunity to be present for my students (Zoom office hours worked so well). I found myself getting lost in the enjoyment of an online pet therapy session. I have rediscovered how much fun yarn can be (thanks, mom!). We have collected a list of mindful options and have linked them below, including a special online pet therapy session organized for our group by the NC State Libraries on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 11:00am to 12:00pm. My hope is that you will find something that appeals to you, and that you will make strides in your wellness adventure.
Wherever you are in your journey, please know that we want to support you. You can leave us a comment (if you have an NC State Unity ID), or we will be following this conversation on Twitter at #UnpluggedNCState and you can join us there. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Journaling prompts/conversation starters:
- What does wellness mean to you?
- What makes a moment enjoyable for you?
- Who deserves the gift of your presence today?
Some useful links:
Suggested Reading for this week: How We Can Start Fixing Our Brains After Living Through The Trauma Of COVID-19 or Being present and enjoying it: Dispositional mindfulness and savoring the moment are distinct, interactive predictors of positive emotions and psychological health
Mindful Mondays (a program from the Office of Faculty Excellence)
Pet Therapy at the NC State Libraries Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 11:00am to 12:00pm
Calm: An app for sleep, meditation and relaxation.
Calm Student Initiative: Calm is also now free for educators. Teachers can now get free access to Calm’s paid subscription service and access a library chock-full of guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and soothing tunes to keep your feeling present, blissful, or put you to bed. Through the Calm Students Initiative teachers can also opt in to receive best practices to introduce mindfulness to the classroom as well.