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Soul Care: Take What You Need

Posted By Nicole DeLiberis, Residential Communities Coordinator, Millikin University , Monday, June 25, 2018

Heading into my third year as a professional, I find myself more compelled to seek spiritual experiences as a way of negotiating work and life. So much of the trivial nature of giving to people encourages me to seek answers that I do not - and may not ever - have. When we have an opportunity to truly step away from our work, especially for those of us who live where we work, the moments we encounter in which we choose to be present can be truly awe-inspiring as we reconnect with ourselves and the universe beyond work.

Most of my encounters have occurred within nature. In December 2017, I was grateful to visit my family in New England for the holidays after a particularly grueling Fall semester. I lost my sense of purpose and gratitude for my work, felt the weight of compassion fatigue, and could not shake the feeling of hundreds of conduct folders pushed across my desk - I couldn't let anything go. Alone, I attended a church recommended by a friend, and near that church was a place in my home state I had never visited in my 18 years of living there - Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island. I exited the car and stood in my winter jacket on a rock close to the crashing waves as the cool ocean air hit my face - familiarity. No phone, no alerts or alarms to distract me. After standing there for thirty seconds, the wind picked up and whisked away the losing attitude and the fear of inability and discontentment, replacing it with nothing new except peace. I remember only feeling the same feeling once before that moment, and how refreshed I felt then, and in the twenty minutes standing there after the wind, and on the 45-minute drive back to my childhood home.


While I am not a spiritual wellness expert, I did feel compelled to share the transformative realization that in the work we do constantly giving to others, spiritual connection and wellness is an opportunity to borrow back from the universe and refill ourselves with connection and meaning. For some, spiritual wellness and re-centering involves immersing oneself in nature. One website describes spirituality in three types, two of them being religious and non-religious spirituality. Religious spirituality "involves belief in a being greater than oneself, church, and prayer" with faith and spirit as one, while non-religious spirituality "centers on doing something positive", whether it may be creating with your hands, feeding nourishing your soul back to health separately from religion. There are endless ways to connect spiritually with the universe, which also often leads to emotional wellbeing. Some of those profound spiritual connections come to me in the form of concerts, books for fun, getting tattooed, and serving others outside of the profession. Professionals in our field take endless amounts of time to exhaust terms like "self-care", "wellness", "intentional time", and "work/life balance". Spiritual wellness IS a type of self-care - it's "soul-care". In connecting intentionally and spiritually, we often release control (if only temporarily) to the universe to shape us during moments of connection.



While student affairs professionals tend to be natural givers, we can seize the opportunity to borrow from the universe - this is your permission. Do you want or need to re-center? Take a moment to answer these questions - your Future Self will thank you for thinking of your Present Self. Allow yourself to be open to new experiences and inspiration from unexpected places.


  • Have any big changes happened recently? How have I felt as a result?

  • Is there something I need to borrow from the universe?

  • Is there something I need to healthily borrow from others as I find it on your own?

  • Do I make time for relaxation on my day?

  • Do my beliefs/principles/values guide my decisions and actions?

  • Do I understand my sense of direction or purpose?

  • What are my important relationships?

  • What do I value most?

  • What gives me hope?

For anyone who wants more motivation to search on spirituality, here are some fantastic reads:

Mental Health America: Take Care of Your Spirit - breakdown of different spiritual practices ranging from organized religion to mental health and exploring your deeper self.

Renovaré: Selfish Care versus Soul-Care: a Christian-based blog post on tending to our souls.

Sinclair Ceasar's Blog- an awesome and affirming Student Affairs Professional at Loyola University Maryland in Student Life.


Tags:  #wellness #SAPro #SAGrad #GLACUHO #H_W 

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