Self-Care: Who Has Time for That?

In this guest post, Gabrielle Pointon, M.S., Psychology Intern at the University Counseling Center, addresses the importance of self-care for graduate students. 

Self-Care. It’s an infamous word that you all have probably heard, but often ignore because of how impossible it seems. You don’t have the time. You don’t have the energy. There are more important things to do. I urge you to really think about this concept of self-care. As you are reading this, how are you feeling? Run down? Burnt out? Sleep deprived? Graduate school is a prime period in your life to feel this way because you have so much to accomplish in such a small amount of time. You probably even feel guilty when you take time for yourself because you could be doing something “more productive.”

This outlook has led to an epidemic, a crisis if you so choose, in the mental health of graduate students. You all have a lot of pressure on your shoulders, and this pressure leads to isolation and feelings of inadequacy. To make it even more difficult, you are in the minority in terms of educational achievement, so most of the people outside of your academic circle cannot even comprehend the stress you are under or the work you are trying to complete. If you are still in graduate school, you’re winning, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel like you’re drowning at the same time. This is why graduate students have been found to be SIX TIMES more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the general population.

So, why is self-care important? Part of the reason is because students with a good work-life balance have significantly better mental health outcomes. This means making sure you take care of your basic needs, such as getting adequate nutrition and sleep, is important, but it’s more than just that. It’s taking a break and recharging too. It is essential that you are trying to disconnect from school by having a set time each day to find a little piece of comfort and joy. Self-care looks different for each person, so this could consist of social time, meditation, exercising, engaging in a hobby, etc. If you feel guilty about even the idea of taking breaks, remember that research demonstrates breaks lead to more productivity in the long run.

The take away here is this: make self-care just as much a priority as your work. Some days you’ll have hours and some days you’ll merely have minutes, but your mental health is dependent on these types of choices. Let’s make your graduate career a positive one to look back upon!

How can we, as a community of graduate students, prioritize self-care in our daily lives? What are your favorite strategies for practicing self-care? Leave a comment below!

South Bend Music Scene: a Small City with a Lot of Good Noise (Part I)

The Control Group playing in the Biology grad Halloween party.

In this guest post, Elvin E. Morales Pérez, Ph.D. Candidate in Biological Sciences, shares his favorite places to enjoy live music in South Bend.

Hailing from a small agricultural town in Puerto Rico, finding entertaining music-related events that didn’t involve Salsa or Reggaeton was a bit of an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting my dance on every so often, but musical variety is an important part of a growing young man’s education. Once I moved to South Bend, however, I was very pleasantly surprised. “The Bend,” as it is more commonly known to the “Youths,” is the biggest city I have ever lived in (sad, I know) and as such, I wanted to explore everything it had to offer. It was during this process that I came to discover a very active, vibrant, and above all varied music scene in the city. Live bands, open mics, dance events, random/slightly obscure/underground house shows (like that time my band The Control Group, played an acoustic show in my garageshameless plug), and even cool roaming DJs spinning vintage vinyl from the back of a VW van (actual thing, not kidding), South Bend is just full of various things that anyone from professional or aspiring musicians to even regular music lovers would enjoy.

For all of those interested in the occasional piece of live entertainment or for those of you looking to share your musical talents with the rest of the world, I know a couple of places that you might be interested in:

 

  • Fiddler’s Hearth: South Bend’s very own local Irish pub is one of the most important musical focal points in the city with live musical events sometimes every day of the week. There is Open Irish Music Session on Mondays, Old Timey Music Sessions on Tuesdays, Acoustic Open Stage on Wednesdays, where you can play or enjoy shows by local bands playing anything from Irish folk songs to sweet, sweet funk music during the weekends. Fiddler’s is definitely a place where you’ll have a good time with some good food.

 

  • Vegetable Buddies: Veggie buddies is a place full of South Bend musical history. A musical hub in the city during the late 70’s, this prominent musical venue — which hosted some of the greats in jazz, blues, bluegrass, and Woodstock-era rock and roll — returned to South Bend in the last few years and has kept that tradition going strong. On Fridays and Saturdays, Veggie Buddies hosts artists from all over, which sometimes even open the stage for local musicians to play with them, so if you’re interested in some cool music with some good atmosphere check it out. (They also have Latin Dance Nights on Wednesdays if you want to get your groove on; variety man, wonderful stuff).

 

  • LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern: Although a little bit difficult to get to, involving a trek through the alleyway next to the building, and going up the back stairwell to the third floor (makes you feel kind of cool actually), the LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern is one of my favorite places in South Bend. Good food, good atmosphere, and above all, really cool music shows, with bands and solo artists playing most Fridays and Saturdays. One time, I heard a Spanish rock band playing which ended up hitting right in the feels, mainly because I was one of the few that actually understood the language that night, but it was still amazing.

 

  • Lang Lab: When you first look at Lang Lab from the outside you may think “this place looks like an old warehouse.” Well, the reason why this is the first thing that pops into people’s minds is that it is a warehouse, or much rather, it used to be. The owners converted the 33,000 sq. ft. building into a multi-use cultural and educational facility that hosts several local businesses (one of them a coffee shop, yay!), as well as many theater groups and musical artists. Additionally, it has its very own gallery, displaying pieces from various local artists.

 

Aside from the various places I mentioned, there are also a lot of city-wide musical events like the Riverlights Music Festival, a two-day event which takes place every summer and includes over 50 local musicians playing only original music. Remember, these are only a couple of suggestions to get you going, there are still many places and events around “The Bend” that space constraints and a lack of literary wit prevent me from telling you about. Go out, explore, and start making fun, new experiences involving awesome, weird, and funky fresh sounds.

P.S. In the next installment of “Elvin kind of talks about music stuff” I’ll talk about places where the more adventurous but not-as-musically-oriented people might want to try their luck: Karaoke bars… (*ominous thunder sounds*)

Do you have any questions about living in South Bend? Ask the Salmon! Submit your questions to gradlife@nd.edu or go to the Ask a Question tab at the top of this page.