Otters learn how to cope with stress

The Personal Growth and Counseling Center (PGCC) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) hosted a Self-Care Workshop for students on Oct. 28. These workshops have been offered before and serve as a reminder periodically for students to reflect and take a break from their day to day routine. 

PGCC strives to provide an open conversation and safe environment for students. Additionally, it emphasizes practicing self-care habits on top of sparking new ideas and ways to achieve that. 

Jessica Lopez, counselor faculty at PGCC, led the event.

A question posed before and asked again was “what is self-care?” Self-Care has been defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s health,” by Oxford Dictionary. 

This meaning can be manifested as various activities or things used to serve as an escape from their normal day-to-day routine, bettering the mind and soul. Purposely slowing down and reflecting on what is efficient and beneficial to oneself is part of practicing self-care.

The next question proposed with self-care is “how has it changed now that students are in the middle of the semester?”

Early on in the semester, the workshops looked at what self-care is, how to identify stressors, how to maintain physical and emotional help and how to create safe spaces. Reflecting on the tools given, the challenge for most students is continuing practices and making good habits stick. 

While this can be challenging, it was highlighted that just like students’ courses, to be able to maintain something takes effort and accountability on students’ behalf. With midterms and the end of the semester fast approaching, it can be difficult to think about anything else. 

Different activities and practices were discussed and suggested to maintain self-care such as:

  • Exercising and short walks
  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Taking a nap
  • Going out with friends (dinner, drinks)
  • Waking up early instead of sleeping in
  • Plan a trip, whether big or small
  • Meditate (mindfulness)
  • Repeat affirmations to oneself as a way of motivation 

While listing activities can be easy, it is the constant reminder to be disciplined to separate and dedicate specific time to solely take care of yourself when needed. 

Self-care provides an opportunity to justify and find time to pause everything and do what one truly enjoys. There is no harm or guilt in taking a step back from time-to-time to recharge one’s mind and body. 

Consistency is key, as well as being able to identify what works and what does not. Each workshop presented various ways to address and brainstorm different avenues to achieve self-care. 

The self-care workshop serves as a reminder to check-in with oneself and evaluate thoughts and emotions during high levels of stress throughout the semester. 

If at any point a student is still struggling to achieve and maintain self-care practices, [email protected] is available through the school’s website. All that is needed: an OtterID and students can create and customize their dashboard to fit their needs. 

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