Gearing up for Semester 2

Our lives often unfold in cycles or phases marked by events, celebrations, milestones, and seasons. Our university is no different.

As we sit in this small window of preparedness and lull through the winter recess, gearing up for Semester 2, it's important to recognise that not everyone experiences this period as downtime. For many, workloads and busy lifestyles persist.

To ensure a smooth and successful experience in any stage of life or business, preparation is key. Part of this preparation involves taking stock - evaluating and reflecting on where we've been. But let’s be honest, how often do we pause and take stock? When was the last time you metaphorically put on the brakes and prepared yourself for what lies ahead?

Mystic and theologian Howard Thurman referred to a practice known as 'centering down'. This process involves sitting quietly and allowing the mental traffic to pass by, which sounds both inviting and challenging to achieve. In a world bombarded by notifications from every device, how enjoyable would it be to turn off the mental notifications and go into 'airplane mode' for a small portion of our day?

According to the Mayo Clinic, clearing away mental and emotional overload can greatly benefit our stress levels and physical health. To achieve a sense of calm and preparedness, incorporating mindfulness or prayer into our daily routines can be an effective strategy. Mindfulness involves paying deliberate attention to our present experiences without judgment, while prayer involves an awareness and interconnectedness of our innermost self with God. One practical way to start is by setting aside just five to ten minutes each day for deep breathing exercises or guided meditation. Apps like Headspace, Calm, Hallow or joining an online prayer group offered on our campuses, can provide easy-to-follow guided sessions.

Additionally, incorporating short, mindful breaks throughout the day can significantly reduce stress levels. For instance, take a five-minute break every hour to stretch, walk, or simply sit quietly. These small interruptions can help reset your focus and maintain productivity.

Establishing a clear boundary between work and personal time is another critical component. This separation can prevent burnout and ensure you have time to recharge.

As we embark on the new semester, it's essential to remember that preparation isn't solely about our planning. Our mental and emotional well-being is equally crucial. By being intentional in our practice of setting clear ‘mental traffic’ boundaries, we can enhance our overall experience and performance.

So, as we gear up for Semester 2, let’s commit to not just preparing our schedules, but also to center down and care for our mental and spiritual health. By doing so, we can approach the upcoming challenges with a clear mind and a resilient spirit, ready to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. And don’t forget, we are in this together!

Colleen Tracey
Pastoral Associate (staff) Brisbane Campus

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