Relationship Goals: Self-Care for ResLife Pros by Claire Semer

Self-care is the new relationship goal. A self-care plan can help you enhance your health and wellbeing, manage your stress, and maintain professionalism as a residence life professional. I strongly believe that self-care is a personal matter and everyone’s approach will look different. Self-care relates to what you do at work and outside of work to enhance your holistic wellbeing so that you can meet your personal and professional commitments.

We often forget to take care of ourselves. As residence life professionals we’re busy and finding the time to take care of ourselves can be difficult. But if we don’t, it won’t be long before we’re exhausted and useless to ourselves, and especially to our students. Self-care is the constant repetition of practices, which together calm us and make sure we’re at our optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally.

The best way to do this is to implement small self-care habits every day. Regularly include a little bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul in your routine. Here are some of my favorites.


Self-care for the mind

These activities can help you to feel clear-headed and able to intellectually engage with the professional challenges that are found in your work and personal life. Indulge in a non-work hobby, unplug for a bit (edit your social media feeds, and remove any negative people), make time for relaxation (go cloud-watching), and watch your tone. Full disclosure, this is one (tone) I really struggle with. Oftentimes my inside voice tells me something harmful, snippy, sarcastic, or offensive about my body, clothing, decisions, etc. I’ve learned that your body hears everything your mind says, so it’s imperative to stay positive. An unhealthy mind does not work well with a healthy body.

Self-care for the body

These activities can help you to stay fit and healthy with enough energy to get through your work and personal commitments. Develop a regular sleep routine (use your phone to get you started), aim for a healthy diet, never  eat at your desk, go for a walk at lunchtime with a colleague, and get some exercise before/after work regularly (put on your favorite summer beat and dance). Do you know about biofeedback? Learn more about this concept – it could help you!

Self-care for the soul

These activities involve thinking about perspectives beyond work and personal commitments. Engage in reflective practices like meditation, go on a bushwalk, do yoga (or my favorite, Buti Yoga), reflect with a close friend for support, download a mind app and learn more about the practice of mindfulness. Too heavy to start? Well, help someone (carry a bag, open a door, or ask your neighbor if they need anything), be selfish (spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you), or take a long bath or shower.

Self-care for the professional

Self-care for the professional involves activities that help you to work steadily at the professional level expected of you. Engage in regular supervision or consult with a more experienced colleague, be strict with boundaries between students and staff, read professional journals/articles, and attend professional development programs (i.e. ACPA National Conferences, webinars, etc.)

Recharge your body, mind, and spirit. Build a strong relationship with yourself. Drop me an email ( and let me know which small self-care idea you plan to try first.


Bard, E.  (2015, July, 23). 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul. Retrieved from

About the Author:

Claire Semer (she, her, hers) is the Assistant Director of Residence Education at Bowling Green State University. She grew up in Queens, NY – oldest of two children and moved to Athens, Ohio to pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy and School Counseling at Ohio University. She has a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Toledo and serves as adjunct faculty at BGSU and at the University of Toledo. Claire loves to garden and exercise – she values wellness, family, and education. She is blessed with a patient partner and 2 two beautiful children.


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