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Practicing Radical Self-Care to Thrive in Scholarship and Life

The pandemic has impacted every dimension of the human spirit. Therefore, the recent session of the Holmes Program Summer Webinar Series was timely. When I signed up for the session titled, “Practicing Radical Self-Care to Thrive in Scholarship and Life,” I wondered what was radical self-care and why was it essential? The presenters’ knowledge, skills and dispositions eventually answered the question resoundingly with their stories and activities.

Kimberly-White Smith, dean of the LaFetra College of Education at the University of La Verne, reminded us of the critical context we are currently experiencing. Many of us are engaged in activities that have us navigating different spaces and experiences, especially doctoral students with a clear goal to graduate. Therefore, in the session, we were exposed to tools that will allow us to monitor our trajectory as we continued our scholarship.

This practice will enable us to understand that we all will have stories to tell. We will be able to document them and, more importantly, use the experience for an upcoming breakthrough. For example, the presenter shared her experience of having a submitted article rejected. How do we respond to this experience because it may not be the first and the last?  Radical self-care will allow us to realize that there are still many opportunities to turn that article into another critical paper, presentation, or complementary idea. More importantly, it is essential to be conscious of our mental response to these experiences because the practice of radical self-care strategies can then release a radical self-care response of empowerment and grit.

What are these radical self-care strategies that can empower us in the short, medium, and long term, you may ask? Niki Elliot, co-director for the Center for Neurodiversity, Learning and Wellness also at LaFetra College of Education, allowed us, even in a virtual setting, to experience these strategies. We were reminded of the nerve or nerves that touch every organ in our bodies and are impacted by external stimuli. Meditation, breathing techniques, self-care touch of the arms and shaking of the hands added invigorating experiences. Participant responses in the chat were also in the affirmative. We all experienced a relaxing period that made us more aware of our emotional response to good and bad stimuli.

Consequently, after experiencing these activities and music, I was convinced that radical self-care is of utmost importance. We were individually enriched as we collectively practiced the strategies. Moreover, in the one hour, we experienced the nexus between radical self-care and thriving in an intrapersonal manner. Therefore, as we all continue to thrive in scholarship and life, let us normalize the practice of daily radical self-care as far as possible and ensure we are in an optimal position to eventually assist others.


Paul Massy

Holmes Scholar, Florida Atlantic University