A pink flower

A Case for Gratitude

I’ve read these articles before. “Times are tough. Focus on the positive. You'll get though, you always do.” Sure, it might be a winning argument because those who don’t aren’t going to argue with you. But I didn’t think that was the message we needed, and it wasn’t the message I needed.
Two speech bubbles with different patterns

The Power of Conversation: When Talk Turns Tough

Having a conversation with confidence and a clear understanding of what was said and shared is familiar; yet when following up, confusion and uncertainty can exist. We might say or hear, “That’s not what you said,” or “I did what we discussed,” or “That’s not true.”
Group of five people standing next to each other

Connection is key in moving forward post pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic ripped apart all sense of normalcy for many people. Data shows a rise in addictive behaviors since March 2020 as people saw drastic increases in stress and isolation. Stress and isolation are risk factors for increased alcohol consumption, other substance use, and maladaptive coping, such as other process addictions, which include eating or shopping. The brain seeks pleasure from the chemical dopamine that is produced through connection and enjoyable things, but in the absence of positive stimuli, the brain seeks out pleasure, including alcohol or other substances.
American flags on the Pentacrest

Fostering Veteran Community

As a member of the Air National Guard, a student at the University of Iowa, and someone who works in the area of veteran support, I have seen first-hand the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on our veteran and military-connected (VMC) community. While no two people’s experiences of the pandemic have been the same, one defining feature that lockdown had on the VMC community was loss.
photo of burnt forest

Burnout: Disturbance and succession

Disturbances alter the state and trajectory of an ecosystem and can shape ecosystem dynamics long into the future. This is particularly the case for disturbances that are large, severe, and infrequent that capture the public attention and challenge our understanding of an ecosystem. I see the disturbance of the COVID-19 pandemic creating similar damage and challenges to our human ecosystem. This disturbance has been large, severe, and infrequent.
Third annual Roll Bounce, a Black History Month event, in the IMU 2nd floor ballroom celebrating black heritage, history, and culture.

Navigating cultural spaces, different than your own

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cultural humility as, “a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of their own beliefs and cultural identities.”
In This Together video opener

In This Together

During the fall semester, the Mental Health Postvention Task Force spoke with members of the UI community about their experiences during the pandemic, and asked what advice they have for other Hawkeyes that may still be struggling. These are their stories.
balloons with smiley faces

Reframing focusing on the positive

Practicing positivity can lower stress, improve physical health, yield healthier relationships, and more. I am drawn to books, articles, and podcasts that provide practical strategies for reframing my outlook and perceptions in ways that support my wellness and healthy relationships with others. There is no shortage of strategies. Strategies such as these worked for me at various life stages—until March 2020.
a heron resting on the water

Grace and patience

Grace, the experience of gifts freely given, is ever present; it’s the body breathing, and the heart beating, it is seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, and feeling (emotion), thinking, and it is language and speech, listening, laughter, kindness, generosity and gratitude, and it is the awareness that knows in and through all these and more. “Resting” in grace requires patience, the ability to stay and attend long enough to receive and savor what has been freely given.
Woman working and laughing

Revive meaning in work with mindful actions, attitudes

Our success at work is often measured by metrics of productivity and efficiency, with working faster, longer, and harder sometimes presumed to be their own reward. Work also can be entangled with status judgments, in which our answer to, “What do you do?” brings a loaded assessment of our importance by another’s standards. Our work is not only about what we do or how fast we do it. It is also about who we are and choose to be. It is about the deep meaningfulness of our individual stories, values, and self-understanding.