The Grounding Moment Challenge

As family program professionals, we often talk about engaging families in supporting their students’ mental health, and I can only imagine these types of interactions with families have increased during the pandemic. We might be working with campus partners and family members to figure out how to best support a student. We may even be tangentially navigating a family member’s mental health. We go to trainings and sessions on how to support students and their families. We read articles and consult with mental health professionals. But how often do we talk about our own mental health? How often are we taking time to make sure we are filling up our cup before we are helping others fill their own?

Grounding or earthing refers to acts that reconnect the body back to the earth’s electrons such as walking barefoot, laying in the grass, gardening without gloves – anything where our body meets the earth. For most of us, this might be hard to do while at work, unless you are still working from home. We know how beneficial self-care can be – we preach this to students all the time. Our colleagues have sessions about it often and share with students how self-care and grounding techniques specifically can reduce the body’s stress response and boost the immune system (which is something we definitely need going into cold and flu season). It can improve our sleep and reduce our pain which in turn can help us focus and enables us to combat burnout.

So how are we taking care of ourselves? We have busy lives, and our schedules can sometimes be unpredictable. What are we to do while in the office for a good majority of our waking hours Monday through Friday? How can we carve out moments in our daily schedules where we can replicate the feelings and serenity that grounding brings?

I challenge you to explore carving out 15 minutes each day to set aside for a grounding moment. Fill this time with whatever you need that day. Maybe you have a difficult conversation with a family member later in the day or maybe you had an unexpected hard conversation earlier. Maybe the family Facebook page is popping with nonsense. Maybe you are processing something happening outside of work (because we are whole people and don’t leave part of ourselves at the office door). Maybe you are just having a rough day and can’t pinpoint the reason why. If you don’t need the full 15 minutes, that’s fine because this is your time. BUT it’s important to keep this time sacred and to treat this time as one of those important daily to-do tasks. Prince of Poppy flower

I find these moments help me remember not to carry the weight of those heavy conversations especially when they aren’t mine to carry and helps me show up with empathy in my interactions. Over the past 20 months these moments have been vital in helping me cope with everything. Including, figuring out how to support families and students navigating a global pandemic without a playbook, and while navigating a global pandemic outside of work as well.

You are probably thinking to yourself, or hopefully you will start to, what can I do during my grounding moment. Here are just a few ideas of things you can do during that time.

The beautiful thing about grounding is it can be anything that will help you reset and take a moment to pause. I presented a similar session to our division of student affairs in January 2021 and some attendees shared what they have used as grounding techniques – they include mindfully watering plants (this staff member has quite a few plants in their office), sound baths, and handwriting little notes of gratitude. It’s important to experiment and find what works for you.

Diane Eshelman is the Assistant Director for First-Year Orientation and Family Engagement at Carnegie Melon University.

Share this post:

Comments on "The Grounding Moment Challenge"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment