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5 Ways to Cultivate Resilience & Mental Wellness As a Graduate Student

Updated: 3 days ago

Laura E. Knight, a phenomenal leadership development coach, recently facilitated a workshop with NAVCAP centering the importance of resilience, mental wellness, and self care. She urged us to consider what healing looks like on an individual level-- healing from institutional trauma, from social trauma, even from the personal hurt we carry with us from everyday living. This workshop began with consideration, moved to reflection and visualization, and finally ended with developing a self-care plan. We were all going through the process of assessing where we were on the wellness continuum, thinking about the choices we’ve made, our life situations, and truly---, receiving, feeling, and planning for the changes we needed to make to prioritize self-care.

I hadn’t considered what the six different type of selfcare looked like in my own life. And, I began to think more deeply about my roles as a mother, a teacher, a grad-student and a researcher. In some of these roles, I had been in service to others joyfully, and in other roles I had assumed a value-stance in line with what was embedded in the organizational culture I was a part of. In both cases, I had normalized the neglect of self.

This workshop illuminated the need for both individual movement and support in a community as healing can be both personal and collective. Our time together reminded me that each one of us has the personal power to pivot and make intentional choices over time to support our holistic well-being. It also reminded me that the culture in organizations and in certain roles or professions does not actively support self-care. In-fact, some organizational cultures are what I call, “work and personal-life boundary-breakers.” There are unwritten, but very real expectations that you will not be respected, credible, or good-enough without over-working. And, these cultural messages lead to peop