The polls are closed. Now what?
November 9, 2022
Mobilizing and educating student voters is exhausting. After the polls are closed it is your time to restore, revitalize, and reflect. Student voter participation is grueling work, but we have an opportunity to model self-care.
My favorite model of wellness is the Medicine Wheel. This ingenious framework can help us think about the balance of our self-care. Please note that I am not a member of a Native American group. I have learned about this circular symbol from indigenous teachers. November is National Native American Heritage Month, and I take this opportunity to present a practice that I hope will help you through this post-election malaise.
This symbol is delineated into four sections. Each section represents a different part of our well-being. The next section will give you some ideas about meditations and actions.
You can view an example of the Medicine Wheel here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0568/0281/files/Tribal-Trade-Medicine-Wheel-Poster-PDF.pdf?v=1592314353
Our spiritual energy is about our personal connection to other spirits.
Focus: This is a time to connect to the Creator, Mother Earth, the Universe, or nature.
Message: We begin our journey with the spirit. Be open to other energies in the universe and develop your intuition and spiritual connection.
o There are many ways to meditate. You can find apps, or videos to guide you.
o Suggested video: 5 Senses Mindfulness
- If you find prayer helpful. This is the time to use your skill to build your spiritual connections.
- Use your focus on openness and curiosity to learn about something new. Suggestion: Ask your coworker about one of their hobbies.
Our physical body carries us through life.
Focus: It is time to face my physical symptoms of stress.
Message: Stand tall. Beyond eating well and exercising what am I doing to manage my physical manifestations of stress?
- Get plenty of sleep.
o Suggested video: Progressive muscle relaxation
- Spend time connecting with nature. Suggestion: Ask your coworkers to go on a walk around campus.
o Participate in a yoga class. Suggested Video: Just Be Day Yoga Flow
Past experiences help us with future decisions.
Focus: It is time to face my true feelings.
Message: What are my fears, anxieties, and victories? Am I experiencing a build of negative emotions? What tools can I use to regulate?
- Build your emotional intelligence
o Suggested playlist: Emotional Intelligence
- Take mental notes about how you are feeling.
- Gratitude Journaling
o Suggested App: 5 Minute Journal: Self-Care
- Spend quality time with others to form deeper emotional connections. Suggestion: send out a coloring sheet to your peers and host a zoom meeting where you all color them together and chat.
Mistakes are expected, inspected, and corrected.
Focus: I can do hard things.
Message: Notice the decisions you are making. Are they congruent with your values and goals?
- Clarify your values. Suggestion: Host a values auction at your staff meeting. Reflect on your bids.
- Set personal goals.
- Recap your success and failures.
- Read a book. Suggestion: How to Be Fine: What we Learned from Living by the Rules of 50 Self-Help Books
It’s so important that as student affairs professionals, we spend time resetting our intentions. Please take this moment after the polls close to focus on your well-being. It is highly recommended to bring your team into this exercise as well. Modeling good self-care for our students is paramount for their development. Don’t forget you are a human being. Treat yourself with respect.
Mallory at the Tribal Trade. (2020, September 3). How to use the Medicine Wheel 🟡🔴⚫️⚪️ (For Spiritual Wellness and Overall Health). [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKVkJm5hhNM&list=PLIazZd5-txiNA53OIcXJ16uf-CkLpLlVf&index=1