Pedagogy

First Day of Class Self-Care

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

This semester, like all semesters, I’m thinking about what I can do to practice self-care and balance my mental/physical wellbeing with a new semester of classes, projects, and deadlines. I’m also thinking about what I can do to encourage my students to practice self-care.

At the end of last semester, I asked my first-year seminar students to create infographics that offered advice to other first-year college students: what to expect, what not to do, how to co-exist with your roommate, how to keep up in your classes, how to navigate campus. etc. One of my students produced an infographic focused (in part) on self-care, which gave me an idea.

Today was the first day of my first-year composition course. I asked my students how many of them felt run down at the end of last semester. Half of them sheepishly raised their hands. I asked how many of them felt like they were overwhelmed last semester by work and didn’t take care of themselves as much as they would have liked. More hands.

So today, on the first day of class, we developed self-care plans.

First, I created & distributed a handout with some context about self-care, ideas for both mental/physical wellbeing, and campus resources (the Center for Writing & Communication, Tutoring Services, the Counseling Center, and Student Health Center).

Then, we mapped our self-care plans for the semester. This sheet asks them to brainstorm practices to nourish their minds, bodies, and spirits; to map their goals for the semester; and to reflect on what support systems they have in place to help them achieve those goals.

We will revisit (& revise) these plans at midterms and at the end of the semester. Take care!

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