Why did Waldo go to therapy? To find himself. HA! Just trying something different to start today’s blog…did you laugh? No? Well, that’s fine. But that joke does lead us into what we are talking about today!
Last month, Brandeis Counseling Center and the office of Equity Inclusion and Diversity teamed up to put on a Self-Care series. The series hosted Waffles and Wellness on Thursdays and Mindful Mondays. Being that it was midterm month, I had no intention of stopping in at any of these events. I needed every minute of my day for tests and papers! But one fateful Thursday, the smell of waffles drifted into my classroom and all at once, my classmates began to look around wondering where that beautiful smell was coming from (that’s how they lure you in, free food). I had coffee and breakfast already that morning, so I wasn’t too hungry, but after class, I chose to follow my friends to a nearby study room where Waffles and Wellness was just getting started and sat down waiting for my friends to finish eating. I wasn’t looking to talk about wellness or really to talk at all. I was just patiently waiting.
Now let me pause here and say I LOVE therapy. I am a big advocate for everyone to do at least a few sessions every couple of years just to check in and make sure they are in a good place mentally. I did therapy during my undergrad years, and it was truly lifesaving. So, by no means am I opposed to the practice of therapy, but on this particular day, mental wellness was not at the top of my to do list. Now let’s get back to the story.
As I sat waiting patiently, watching waffles, both gluten-free and gluten-filled, being made fresh and passed out, Heller’s community therapist, Roxann, began going around the room presenting a deck of note cards for students to pick from. Each card had a definition for mental wellness. For example, the first card read “Mental wellness is taking a break”. Again, this was smack dab in the middle of midterm season, so I wasn’t the only one to chuckle after this card was read aloud. Roxann sensing the overwhelming rejection of this definition began asking those who were present questions and explained how essential stepping away from work was to overall productivity and success of any assignment. After this, another student picked from the deck and read aloud “Mental wellness is going to therapy”. Again, I chuckled, but this time, I was the only one… And if you didn’t know, laughing at going to therapy in front of a therapist is the fastest way to find yourself as a new client of that therapist, willing or unwilling (I’m kidding, sort of). Recognizing that I was the only one that laughed, I immediately looked up to lock eyes with Roxann, knowing that I wasn’t going to get away without sharing the reason behind my reaction.
Again, I want to pause. Please don’t think I was pressured to share or even be in the space. I was very much a willing participant. But there is something about being in an open space, with open people that compels you to be open too. And that was the point of the series, creating an environment for people to come together, share, learn how to care for each other and ourselves better, and get the necessary tools to practice every day. But once more, back to the story.
I won’t divulge everything that was discussed after that moment, but I will tell you that before I left that room, I sent Roxann an email requesting to start sessions with her the next week. Just like that, following people who were following the smell of waffles landed me back in therapy. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
That’s my story of Waffles and Wellness. As I tend to leave tidbits of advice in my blogs, I will leave you with this. Stay away from waffles. Kidding! You are never too busy to take care of you. Never.