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Self-Care Sunday: Show You Care

In honor of the ending of Culture of Care Week, I wanted to share their AMAZING video. Throughout the week, actors staged various scenes on campus to see how students would react (while secretly being filmed). The caring responses of strangers in these video clips make my heart swell. When you reach out to care for another, you are caring for yourself by holding true to your values. If you value kindness, respect, and safety, then take opportunities to show it — you’ll improve everyone’s day, not just the person you help. It feels good to care — it feels good to have alignment between your values and your actions — and it does the world good. Thanks for your amazing work, Culture of Care. Learn more about the initiative at care.indiana.edu.

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

I figured out a great way to share the calendar for SAAM at IU! At this link you can see a full-sized PDF and download it to print out! Please post it on your dorm or office door and share SAAM with your friends. To download, click on “share” and you will be presented with sharing options on Facebook, email, Twitter, etc…and a download button. We recommend you click on all of them. ­čÖé

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and there’s a lot going on! Click the calendar file to open it in a new window and zoom in. Once the image is open you can also control click or right-click and save it to your computer.

I’ll try to post regular updates here with information about locations & times, and any new events we hear about. You can learn about the history of SAAM by clicking here.

Self-Care Sunday: Recognize What You Do

Sometimes the idea of self-care can be intimidating.┬áWhat if I don’t have an hour to spend doing yoga and reading fun books and hugging myself?┬áSchool gets busier next┬ámonth, and as your to-do list grows longer, you might feel like there isn’t a moment to catch your breath. Although it’s important to try and set aside time for yourself, there are going to be periods in your life where that isn’t really an option, or days where you just forget to. So let’s look at some of the things you already do on a regular basis that you can reframe as self-care activities.

1. Showering or bathing: This is definitely a way to take care of your body. If you’re stressed, turn your shower time into self-care time.┬áIf you have a shower radio,┬áput on soothing music. Another great activity for the shower is to visualize all the negative feelings you have, like self-doubt or anger or sadness, wash off you and swirl down the shower drain. And it never hurts to buy a nice body wash or fancy new shampoo and enjoy the scents while you scrub.

2. Eating: Choosing healthy foods for yourself is a great way to practice self-care. For example, I used to drink diet soda for the energy, but eventually realized it was making me feel sick. Now I feel good about taking care of myself when I choose water or iced tea instead. If you eat meals alone, you can use that time as self-care — instead of studying while eating, try reading a fun book or watching a video.┬á

3. Washing your hands: Every time you wash your hands throughout the day, take a little bit longer than you normally would.┬áRub your fingers if they’re sore from typing, or scrub under your nails. Use the hand dryer and take the time to practice a few deep breaths.

4.┬áTraveling: When traveling between classes or between work and home, notice the nature around you. As spring is juuuuuust beginning, you might notice that crocuses have started to pop up here in Bloomington. See if you can identify any of the birds you see (I see robins, cardinals, and blue jays around here). Count clouds. Just take the time to be a bit more aware of what’s around you. (Note: Don’t count clouds etc. if you are driving a car. Duh. :P)

These are all tiny little shifts in your daily routine that you can incorporate into your self-care practice. Remember that taking even 5-minute breaks is still a great idea! Hug a stuffed animal, do a 2-minute meditation, stretch, watch a video of a laughing baby, or text a loved one. Hang in there, Hoosiers!

Self-Care Sunday: Take a Break

[Whoops: This was queued to post yesterday while I was driving from New York back to Indiana but something went wrong. Here’s the post one day late!) Welcome back from Spring Break! (groan)

With the end of the semester looming in the near future, it can easily seem like you have to be GO-GO-GOing all the time. But spending hours on end doing homework or chores can make you sluggish and sad, or can lead to an epic stress-induced meltdown (not that I’ve ever had one of those of course). ┬áTaking breaks can give your brain time to mull concepts over subconsciously and increase your mood — thus making you actually more productive overall. Taking a 5 – 10 minute break every 45 minutes or so can really help you get lots done and also take care of you, which is, after all, your priority. ­čÖé

But what can you do in 5 – 10 minutes? Well, lots…

First things first, SET A TIMER. Use your cell phone or this free online hourglass.
Avoid “starting” a TV show (aka, getting sucked into a 45-minute-episode), taking a nap, or anything that could end up making you feel crummy or sluggish rather than energized.
Here’s a Five-Minute Desk Yoga routine to stretch your muscles relax, and wake up.
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and a healthy snack.
Walk around the block.
Listen to a favorite song.
Read a few pages of a fun book.
Watch a funny YouTube video.
Try a calm.com guided meditation (2, 5, or 10 minute options as well as longer ones).
Write out your frustrations or stresses about school in a journal.
Send a quick email to a loved one.
Cuddle a pet or stuffed animal.

What’s your favorite mini-break?

Interesting Links: The Right Way to Take a Study Break, The Psychology of Getting More Done, A Year of Productivity on breaks, Zen Habits on breaks.

Self Care Sunday: Be Mindful of the Media

This week is a little different than usual — more about a shift, a spring cleaning, if you will. With the sun shining and windows open in my apartment, I am definitely ready for spring. (55 degrees, woohoo!)

Have you ever heard the expression “you are what you eat”? As I understand it, if you want to feel healthy, you should eat healthy foods. It’s pretty logical and easy argument to follow. But what about what you read and watch? What about which websites you browse? Would it make sense to say “you think what you see”? Numerous studies show this is true, whether it’s with body image concerns, racist mascots*, or sexism. Now that we know this, we can make healthy choices for our mind the same way we make healthy eating choices for our bodies. This can mean anything from choosing movies with positive female role models, to switching from violent video games to sports and racing games, or picking up a novel instead of a Cosmopolitan magazine. Just being conscious of the way that the media effects you can make a big difference. If you notice yourself getting bogged down by anti-gay slurs in your music, or impossibly beautiful women in the movie you’re watching, take a step back and ground yourself in reality. Read about some good news or reflect on the people in your life who are beautiful or strong to you — and notice that they don’t look anything like the pop stars you see on TV. Be careful about what you put in your mind, and make the best choices for yourself.┬á

Take care of yourselves, Hoosiers!

* Much of this research and advocacy work comes from IU professor Dr. Jesse Steinfeldt. GO HOOSIERS!

Mini Self-Care Sunday

I got a bit behind on my posts due to midterm exams — sorry loves! But for those of us in Bloomington, my suggestions for self-care Sunday are as follows:

1. Make a hot beverage for yourself (be it tea, coffee, or hot chocolate)
2. Curl up in front of a fire (here is one for those of you, like me, who do not have fireplaces)
3. Read, watch a movie, or daydream about spring — it’s coming…I think…

Stay warm & safe, Hoosiers!