By Daniella Maria Feijoo (’19). Daniella (she/her) served as Wake Forest University’s Campus Life Fellow in the Office of
Wellbeing 2019-2020 and is currently pursuing her M.S.Ed degree in Higher Education Student Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
As a young professional, whether you are beginning a new job, looking for work, or continuing your studies, self-care and wellbeing practices are crucial in creating intentional, meaningful, and fulfilling both personal and professional lives in your post-Wake Forest chapter. The post-college transition, although challenging, especially in a time in which remote work is the case for many people, is a wonderful time to re-prioritize goals and build a sustainable lifestyle. Additionally, in today’s political, cultural, and social climate, you may likely find yourself in a position of educating others in anti-racism work, having conversations around race and social justice topics in the workplace or classroom, calling out microaggressions, and/or managing difficult conversations and behaviors. Whether you are a Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC) and/or ally, here are some practices that are increasingly important in building your resilience toolkit and holistic wellbeing.
Reflect on how you are engaging the 8 dimensions of wellbeing in the workplace/professional school and in your personal life.
In my experience with my first job out of college, this was the first time that I had extended amounts of “free” time to be able to intentionally select how I wanted to recharge my body and mind before, during, and after work. Wake Forest’s Office of Wellbeing emphasizes these 8 dimensions of wellbeing: spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, social, environmental, intellectual, occupational. A few examples of how to incorporate each dimension in your transition might include:
- Physical: mindful eating, moving your body (going for a short walk to clear your head)
- Emotional: Resilience work, gratitude journaling/practices, and self-compassion
- Social: creating rituals each week to meet (sometimes virtually) with a support system of friends or family to decompress and connect; join a group to learn a new activity (knitting, biking) and/or engage with others who you share a favorite hobby with (reading, hiking)
To learn more, follow @WFUThrive on Instagram and Facebook and visit WFU Thrive. Zeroing in on these 8 dimensions can help in managing emotions, stress, and in recharging your mind, body, and spirit before and after having difficult conversations and encountering racist behaviors.
Be intentional in how you expend your energy. Take care of YOU first.
- Write down your worries and try to only focus on them during specifically scheduled “worry time”
- Create – crocheting, gardening, cooking/baking, blogging, dancing, playing a musical instrument
- Embrace your inner child – develop a daily practice (could be as short as 5-10 minutes) where you engage in a joyous activity that reminds you of your childhood (i.e. painting, dancing, singing, coloring)
- Set boundaries with friends and co-workers – try not to overextend yourself and normalize saying ‘no’ to side projects or social activities that you genuinely don’t have a desire to attend. Remember that you are not there to answer coworkers’ questions/concerns regarding race and social justice issues solely due to your identity as a BIPOC – if you feel inclined, you can refer the colleague to resources; however, you are not required to educate and expend your energy at any point in time.
Cultivate a spiritual wellbeing practice.
This can take many forms – some examples include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, journaling or a journaling app you can download on your phone (i.e. Longwalks), coming together in community with a religious or interfaith group, devoting time to prayer, spending time in nature, and deep breathing. Each of these practices can contribute to building and sustaining your healthy, fulfilling lifestyle as you transition from student to young professional. Prioritizing your wellbeing practices is the ultimate practice of self-compassion and will provide you with a firm foundation to continue thriving as you journey through life’s beautiful and challenging moments.