In college it is easy to stay busy. There is always a never-ending list of obligations that require your attention and over time it is easy to become addicted to a demanding lifestyle. This was especially true in my case. A normal weekday for me would begin before 8:00 A.M. and end well after midnight. I enjoyed being busy, so it was easy to overlook how poorly I was treating myself mentally, spiritually, and physically. It wasn’t until I had graduated that I truly understood the damage I was doing by living that lifestyle.
I made the decision to use my year of service with Mercy Volunteer Corps to also take time to take care of myself. I started the first week off with the simple goal of getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Within the first three days, that simple dedication left me feeling renewed and in a well rested state that I had not felt in a while. After stabilizing my sleeping pattern I began paying attention to my eating habits, and lastly began to incorporate regular exercise into my routine. Within the first two weeks, my physical health had increased noticeably.
The physical changes to my daily routine were affective, but very quickly it became obvious that I needed to focus on the health of my mind and my spirit with the same dedication that I was giving to my body. This proved to be a bit harder than expected. Initially trying to participate in healing activities like meditating, praying, or simply watching a movie with my community was surprisingly stressful. I found that after a few minutes my mind would begin to scratch itself raw with the notion that by not being active, I was wasting time. Luckily for me, my service site, Faithful Fools, and community members, Cisco, Marissa and Lupe, have created environments that are nurturing to my mental and spiritual health. With their help I have begun to enjoy these activities!
Now, just a bit less than a month into my year of service, I am already noticing a significant increase in my overall mental, physical and spiritual health. As the rest of this year unfolds, I hope to continue to take time to take care of myself and I expect that these are practices I will carry with me well after the year comes to a close.
Nicole Fusco: Faithful Fools San Francisco, CA