Self Care: Awareness

Staying Healthy in the Midst of Chaos


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”


We may have uttered these words in our adolescence, but as we move into adulthood, we realize that this simply isn’t true. Words not only hurt, but they can wound, making areas of our lives tender to interactions with others and certain social situations.


Many times we are so focused on our jobs, we can gradually become unaware of our own mental and emotional health. When unexpected crisis or change is added to the mix of daily pressure, we can quickly move into a type of reactionary mode with more impulsive behaviour.


In this reactionary mode, the pendulum can swing from disengagement to martyrdom. Disengagement occurs when we cut off all personal connections many times both professionally and personally. We try to dehumanize ourselves to enter a state of self preservation. Martyrdom is at the opposite end of the spectrum. In cases of martyrdom there is a sacrificing of personal health in order for “the greater good” of the situation at hand. This may appear noble on the surface but if it becomes a pattern of behavior it can lead to a state of physical and emotional bankruptcy. We will usually naturally drift towards one or the other. During times of unexpected change or crisis, in order to pursue health, we must be aware of our emotional and mental state. We should not only focus on how these situations affect our performance, but also on how they affect us as people.  By increasing our awareness of self, we lay the foundation to move towards health.


We will all be wounded at some point in our lives, either intentionally or unintentionally. We must be aware of how these wounds are affecting us and what needs may follow as a result. When is it possible to push through and when do we need to take a break?


In pursuing self care, we must also be teachable in learning to be aware of our tendencies in times of change or crisis. In the midst of our reactionary mode, while the adrenaline is pumping, we may not realize that we have taken a hit. It isn’t until later that we start to feel of the effects. It is in these times, in a healthy community, when others may notice and speak into our life.  It is not with condemnation that a wound is pointed out, but out of care. Awareness is one of the first steps towards self care. In times of peace and in times of chaos awareness helps us move towards health.  Sticks and stones may break our bones, words may also wound…but healing is possible.


Over the next few weeks, we will be talking more about the issue of self care, specifically in the arena of emotional and mental health. This is different than the focus on physical health of the “Be Well” initiative and the Partnership Promise. This new partnership between Collegiate Abbey and the University seeks to provide resources and assistance for a healthy campus community. Through our partnership we will highlight some of the existing resources the university provides while also presenting new and additional resources from Collegiate Abbey.


Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the students and staff of our collegiate community.


Grace and Peace,

Britton Sharp


Collegiate Abbey