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Dr. Get-Your-Life-Together says, “Remember to Exhale.”

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  • More now than ever do I/we need a pause button to press to allow time for aimless gazing, reflection, guidance seeking from the spiritual realm, strategizing plans of execution, sense making, and feeling present.

    Inhale…1, 2, 3…Exhale. Inhaling all that’s good in the world. Exhaling the nonsense, irrelevant, space invading, and toxic. Semester’s end is rapidly approaching, which means stress levels are starting to rise as we think about and face head-on all that we are currently enthralled in and bracing for the things to come. My gosh there’s more to come! When will it end? Inhale…1, 2, 3…Exhale. 

    I often joke about needing to display a sign in my office that says “Pause.” More now than ever do I/we need a pause button to press to allow time for aimless gazing, reflection, guidance seeking from the spiritual realm, strategizing plans of execution, sense making, and feeling present. A daily exercise for me is to show up and be present in mind, body, and spirit. I don’t want these moments to pass me by and I not be able to notice things as simple as the beauty of the color purple. 

    Weighted in trials and tribulations, challenges, the unknown, and circumstance has the power to drain us, consume our daily thoughts, and confuse our mind that “this is life,” “this is normal,” so get used to it. I refuse and you should too. I challenge you/me/us during these stressful times to make space for simple joys like taking a walk, listening to music, meditating, cooking, playing, carving out guilt-free time for family and friends, sleeping, being selfish with our time, and breathing. Inhale…1, 2, 3…Exhale. 

    We are at our best when we are refreshed, refueled, and able to think clearly about our current situations and what’s awaiting us. This isn’t novel, but sometimes we need someone or something to remind us. Yes, you still need to write that paper, read those articles, study for that exam, work that shift, prepare for that presentation, attend that meeting, and care for loved ones. But, you can also plan to attend Mason Day, watch Cochella/Beychella YouTube videos on repeat, bake treats for the office staff, grab lunch with friends or colleagues in the JC, check-in with yourself by speaking to a mental health professional, and walk around Patriot Circle feeling the sun on your skin. Let’s not sacrifice everyday experiences of joy because of our stressors. Stress is inevitable, but it’s not all that this life has for us. I’m convinced of that. Breathe. Inhale…1, 2, 3…Exhale.

    Dr. Ivory Berry, also known as “Dr. Get-Your-Life-Together,” is the Assistant Dean for Student Success for the College of Education and Human Development. He shares his no-nonsense wisdom every day in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs, and occasionally, here on the Student Success Blog.