2020 and Student Wellness
This year has been unlike any in your life, not just because you are in law school, but because you are in law school during a pandemic and a contentious presidential election year. It is very important to remember your own wellness right now.
One way to be mindful of your wellness is to set, and stick to, boundaries regarding COVID and safety. If you can’t attend a get-together or an event because you don’t know who will be there or if they will be wearing a mask, that is a healthy boundary to have and totally reasonable. One website explains, “People might take it personally, but remember, during COVID-19, boundaries are for your safety as well as others. If you’re a people pleaser, you might feel obliged to remedy anger or any guilt you feel. But a boundary is not a negotiation or a quid pro quo situation. You’re not doing anything wrong by prioritizing your safety, even if it means choosing to wear a mask, not going to intimate events, or other activities that could compromise your well-being.”
Another way to be mindful of your wellness is to take breaks. It is so easy to be working constantly during this time. We are going into finals and we are mostly home all the time anyway. It is critical to take breaks. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang examined neural activity during the brain’s state of rest that’s usually associated with taking a break called the “default mode.” Edutopia explains, “[f]urther experiments showed that this default mode is crucial for consolidating memories, reflecting on past experiences, and planning for the future—in other words, it helps shape how we make sense of our lives. Breaks keep our brains healthy and play a key role in cognitive abilities such as reading comprehension and divergent thinking (the ability to generate and make sense of novel ideas). ‘Rest is indeed not idleness, nor is it a wasted opportunity for productivity,’ Immordino-Yang and her colleagues write.”
Finally, don’t forget the resources available on campus. There is a gym for exercising your body and counseling center to exercise your mind. Also, check out the law library’s guide on Stress Management, Mindfulness and Wellness. In particular, check on this website which is linked in that guide called 1000 Awesome Things. What is an awesome thing? For example see #148, the core of a cinnamon bun. (“Do you bite off the sticky sweet top, slowly twist apart its fresh-bready innards, or maybe chomp away at that sticky flat bottom?”) Either way, sticky and sweet cinnamon buns are one awesome thing!