McNair Self-Care Blog

Middle Ground.

I caught up with one of our scholars this week. We’ve been talking about doing a “sit down” since the beginning of the semester and we finally made it happen (!). We hit on all of the “expected” topics. How are those classes going, as I eyeball the gigantic biochemistry book sitting on the table. How’s lab? Or how’s lab not going since we have this amazing new Biosciences building here on campus that still needs a few “tweaks” or “major fixings,” depending upon your point of view. I decided I shouldn’t ask her mentor how it’s going since they still need baseline equipment installed before getting on with things (smile).

We talked about some of the “logistics of life.” Did she get the “insurance thing” straightened out. Apartment set up still good. Gonna have to depend more on the bus these days, needing to get rid of the car. That might suck with snow in the forecast this weekend (smile).

And inevitably, we talk about how we’re feeling. How are we feeling in the departments of mind, body and spirit, if you will (smile). It’s no secret that I love my scholars (and they are mine). There are many things I love about our scholars, but having daily exchanges on “what’s shaking” and how we’re riding the waves of life, is the best.

“Riding waves” essentially comes down to how we’re taking care of ourselves. At least in my book. We commiserated on having “fallen off” with some of our self-care. We talked about how “on” we feel when we’re doing great with the self-care stuff. And then not so good when we’re not.

This makes me think of a concept recently shared at our CrossFit gym. This idea of striking a middle ground when it comes to, well, all if not most, things. It’s all well and good when we can be rocking it out on all fronts, but the reality is that some days are better than others. I’m a big fan of not “beating ourselves up” when we fall off the train.

However, I think the better scenario might be to tie a rope and hang on, so that even if we are teetering, we don’t fall off completely (smile). I’m sort of into inserting *smile* throughout this post so you know I’m sort of making a funny. Not sure why (smile).

So back to this notion of staying on the train as opposed to completely letting ourselves go. That’s what I would like for you to consider today. How are you staying on the train? How are you striking middle ground when it comes to taking care of you?

I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve been feeling off lately. It’s possible it’s in response to *multiple* things, but really, I haven’t been eating well, especially at night, which leads to not so good sleep, which makes me feel sluggish in the morning and so on. It’s a cycle. A bit of a sad cycle.

It’s easy for me to get into this mindset of, well, I’m not eating well for now. Which means I’m not going to try to eat better for now. Which means I get used to not eating well and I get used to feeling less than good as a result.

Instead, I’m working on shifting my mindset toward more of a “middle ground.” Well, I ate crappy last night and I didn’t feel that great today, but tonight I’m going to eat a little less and maybe eat a little better so that tomorrow is a little better than today.

It’s so easy to fall into a slump with, really, anything. You get into the routine + habit of not following through with doing things you know are essential for your well-being and then you just keep justifying it in your mind.

The next time you see this happening for you, think about making a tiny shift that will result in keeping you more on that middle ground. Do a small thing that reminds you of what you need to do to keep yourself strong amidst the pressures we all feel everyday. If you don’t do it today, be sure you do it tomorrow. And then help a friend, or fellow scholar mate, do the same.

Self-care is the answer.


Please check out JUMPSTART YOUR SEMESTER SELF-CARE specially created for our Ronald E. McNair scholar community. It may already be mid-semester, but there’s never a better time to jumpstart your self-care practices like the present moment.

I talk more about this initiative HERE. Take a moment to watch the video and then decide for yourself what you need.

Let’s do this together!

Join the McNair Self-Care Challenge by clicking this LINK and declaring your intentions for the remaining of the semester.

Our special community is the key to our collective success! Let’s come together around this important topic as our scholars work hard toward building their education and ultimately achieving their Ph.D.’s.

Lynn 🙂