Posts Tagged 'Karisse Callender'

The Practice of Mindfulness and Self-Care

This post originally appeared on Dr. Karisse Callender’s blog Islander Journey on July 9, 2018.


ginko-49880_640

Karisse Callender

We hear the words mindfulness and self-care often – at least it seems so. But what does it really mean for you? Let’s take a moment to answer a few questions:

 

 

 

  • How do you practice being mindful in your daily living?
  • What do you do to take care of yourself?
  • How do you cope with stressful situations?
  • What are the signs that you are becoming either overwhelmed or experiencing burnout?
  • When you get up on mornings, what motivates you to begin your day?
  • What do you think about just before bed?

Living a mindful life is so much more than sitting down to meditate or going to a yoga class. It’s about active awareness of what’s happening at the moment, and being able to fully experience what is happening. For example, if someone is talking to you and you are on your phone or laptop at the same time but say you are listening – you’re not being mindful. In this case, being mindful would mean that you put your phone down or turn away from the computer to give that person your undivided attention. While listening to the person, you are aware of what they are saying, how they are feeling, and how you respond to what you hear.

Self-care somewhat speaks for itself – it’s about taking care of your needs in several areas. Here are some examples:

  • physical body: eg., getting your yearly check-up, exercise, nutrition, sleep, medication as prescribed.
  • emotional and mental: eg., taking medication as prescribed, meditation
  • financial: eg., managing debt, keeping a budget, having some savings.
  • spiritual: eg., prayer, meditation, support groups, place of worship.
  • environment/social: eg., safe housing/community, job, community groups, clean environment, social connections/friends.

There are several ways to practice self-care (some are even free!) and the most important thing is to do what works for you. We all have different needs, therefore, our self-care activities may vary. Here are some examples:

  • getting enough sleep
  • journaling
  • going to the beach/lake
  • hanging out with friends/loved ones
  • get yourself a treat
  • have someone you can trust to share when you feel stressed or overwhelmed
  • get some exercise (outdoor walking, gym membership, etc.)
  • listen to your favorite music and you can even make fun playlists!
  • social support
2018-03-11 10.59.43

One of the ways I practice self-care and mindfulness at the same time is when I read. I like being fully absorbed in the book and diving into the words. I like the imagery that my brain creates as I read the stories! Another way I practice mindfulness is when I drink tea. I sip slowly and try to savor the taste of the tea. I try to drink the tea in silence and sometimes I read or watch tv while doing it (oops! ha!).

Mindfulness and self-care are connected as they both represent a way of life. I refer to both as a practice because they require intention, consistency, determination, and the belief that you deserve all good things.

How can you practice mindfulness? What are some things you can do for your self-care?

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.” 
― Alexandra Elle

Let’s Talk About Sleep

This post originally appeared on Dr. Karisse Callender’s blog Islander Journey on June 25, 2018.


By Karisse Callender

I recently attended a presentation on sleep and what lack of sleep does to your body. We got a magazine with information on sleep, a bath bomb, and a lavender roll-on! (jackpot!)

2018-05-22 09.44.09It wasn’t the first time I heard this information, and yet I found myself feeling surprised while the presenter shared the information from the National Sleep Foundation. How come? There’s so much information about the importance of sleep, how much we should get, and developing good sleep hygiene. So why was this information so surprising to me? I think it’s because I take this for granted and just go about my day without thinking about the quality of my sleep unless I feel tired during the day.

Since I attended that presentation, I’ve been thinking about my sleep habits and how I prepare for bedtime. So, random but not random, when I got home from the presentation I cleaned up my night table and put up tips for preparing for bed in a nice frame. I diffused oils, changed the sheets and was excited to get into bed. I could not sleep! I did everything we talked about and just couldn’t sleep! Ha! How ironic, right? Anyways…let’s get back to this sleep talk.

I also experience sleep difficulties on and off. So I decided to pay closer attention to my sleep habits and decided to track my sleep. I also kept a log/journal to track what happened in my day/my mood/food/activities (I know…i’m a little extra). Here’s a look at my sleep chart for one week. I think I may continue keeping a sleep log.

fullsizeoutput_a29It is quite helpful to observe and notice how much I sleep as I can also make connections between the number of hours of sleep and other things that happen in my day.

So, although you may know this information already, I want to share some tips I learned to help with getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Keep your bedroom as comfortably cool as possible (it’s also a good excuse to have lots of cozy blankets and pillows on the bed!)
  • Try to sleep in a dark room (even the light from clocks can disturb your sleep. You can always try using an eye mask or cover the clock, or get room darkening drapes)
  • Avoid eating and exercise at least 2 hours before bed
  • Limit your use of technology (yes, put your phone down and get off social media!) at least 1 hour before bed.
  • Limit liquid intake before bedtime (mostly to avoid getting up several times per night to go to the bathroom).

It’s also a good idea to develop a routine for bedtime – that way you create a habit with activities that pretty much sets you up for classical conditioning. In other words, when you have a consistent routine, once you begin that process your body gets the hint that you are winding down to sleep. Depending on your job or family life, it may be difficult to have an exact bedtime; however, your routine to prepare for bed should be as consistent as possible. When I was completing my master’s degree I had a lot going on especially in the last year of the program. It was difficult for me to have a consistent bedtime (and awake time), mostly because I did overnight shifts. I struggled to get to sleep on the nights I did not work and my body was constantly confused. What I realized was that it was more important for me to have consistency with the routine, and not so much the time. Actually, on those mornings when I came off my shift, if I started the routine I did at night, my body began to relax and I could get to sleep (most times).

My sleep routine has been consistent (mostly), although there are nights when I just cannot sleep and I’ve learned to accept that. Here are some of the things I do to prepare for bed (in no specific order):

  • I meditate. I usually begin and end my day with some kind of meditation, whether it’s a guided meditation with a theme or practicing vipassana (insight meditation). I aim to do this daily but there are days when it doesn’t happen.
  • drink a cup of tea (no caffeine). Ideally, I would drink this tea while doing nothing else. Other times, I drink the tea while watching the news or reading.
  • take a shower. This helps me to relax, especially because I use lavender or mint shower gel. Those scents help me to unwind.
  • diffuse essential oils. My bedtime blend is usually a combination of lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and a protective blend to keep things healthy 🙂
  • I cream my hands when I get into bed with anything that has eucalyptus and or lavender in it (sounds weird….I know ha!)
  • Once I’m settled in bed, I put on an eye mask (most times)

The great thing is that you can make your bedtime routine whatever you would like it to be. The important thing is that it creates a relaxing environment and allows you to unwind.

Do you have a bedtime routine? If not, think about some simple ways that you can begin to create one that is unique to your needs.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die.
And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

Embracing Change

Originally published on Dr. Karisse Callender’s blog “Islander Journey.”

 

flower-2372998_1920By Karisse Callender

I just wrapped up my first academic year as a faculty member and it still seems unreal! So may experiences seem like it happened just yesterday – I remember making the move to begin my doctoral program, all the study groups, comprehensive exam, job interviews, and the move to my current location. I guess time does fly when you are having fun! There were so many changes that seemed to happen in a short space of time and at times I felt very overwhelmed. Sometimes change is a challenge for me (because who likes stepping out of their comfort zone?), but it’s an additional challenge when several changes happen at one time.

So how do you embrace change? How do you practice acceptance of what is and not try to change things to be as you prefer it? I think the answer lies in the ability to practice radical acceptance, self-compassion, and to have genuine people who you can trust to share your struggles.

Radical acceptance: It’s so much easier to want to control how things “should” be instead of accepting what is actually happening. Radical acceptance (which can be difficult at times. I mean..come on) is accepting what is happening in your life as it is. For example, one thing I had to radically accept was that I was at a phase in my life where certain changes were inevitable and there was nothing I could do to change it. I actually wrote “it is what it is and not what I think it should be” on a post-it and placed it where I can see it often. This served as a reminder for me to let go of the need to control everything (let’s face it, that’s exhausting!)

Self-compassion: Saying negative things to myself during the process of change will not make things any better, although, it does seem like the easiest option, right? I mean it’s easier (at least for me) to think “there’s no way you can compete with these people” than to believe “you have skills and knowledge that someone will benefit from.” I had to practice a lot of self-compassion during my transition, especially because I felt (and still feel) that strong imposter syndrome and it was taking over my brain! I confided in a dear friend and was able to share my struggle of comparing myself and having the inadequate button pushed!

Having genuine people to talk with: I just mentioned that I had a friend I confided in and I cannot say enough how helpful it was. What was most helpful was that she validated how I felt and at the same time provided support and encouragement. I also have another friend who happened to be going through the same transition, so it was a relief to go through this with someone. I think the key is to be intentional and careful about who you seek support from – not everyone can give us what we need when we need it (and that’s okay).

Despite the challenges, I’ve learned to embrace these changes with compassion and I am still learning to trust the process. It’s an exciting and anxiety provoking time, and I am grateful for all the experiences!

How do you deal with change? What helps you when you have to make major transitions?

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” 
― Lao Tzu

Introducing Dr. Karisse A. Callender

Photo Jan 20, 11 20 16 AM copy


The College of Education is pleased to introduce you to one of our three new faculty members for the 2017–2018 school year. Dr. Karisse A. Callender is an Assistant Professor in the Counselor Education Counseling Psychology department. She holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi. We caught up with Dr. Callender to ask her some questions about her views on education, Milwaukee, and her favorite books!

 

 


I want to prepare my students with the foundation to go into their respective communities with knowledge to help them develop behaviors and skills that are holistic, and career-sustaining, as they work with their clients and colleagues.

Tell us a little more about yourself! Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite book?

Dr. Karisse Callender: I am from the beautiful island of Tobago, the smaller of the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As a child, I loved reading and that hasn’t changed in my adult life. Two of my favorites for this year are The Compassionate Achiever by Christopher L. Kukk and The Prophet by Kahil Gibran. I don’t drink coffee but I love hot teas and usually drink several cups each day! My education began with an undergraduate degree in behavioral sciences (psychology with a sociology minor), a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling (concentration in alcohol and other drug abuse) and a doctoral degree in counselor education. I am a licensed professional counselor and substance abuse counselor, and I worked with adolescents, adults, couples, and families in both outpatient and residential settings with presenting issues related to mental health, substance use, and trauma.

How long have you lived in Milwaukee?

KC: I am new to the Milwaukee area and so far, I love the many activities I can enjoy outdoors and being in a vibrant city. Although it will take some time to adjust to a bigger city, I am excited to call Milwaukee my new home and look forward to creating many happy memories here. I would like to learn more about the culture and explore outdoor activities, community organizations, and anything that is local to Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

What is your favorite educational experience?

KC: When I teach and I observe students struggling to understand the concepts in their textbook or from materials in class, my favorite thing to do is to draw from my clinical experience to provide them with a real-life example and interpretation of what they read. It’s amazing to see how their eyes light up when they finally experience the “aha!” moment. As a doctoral student, one of my favorite educational experiences was learning how to design, implement, and manage a fully functional online class and teach a module online.

What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

KC: I am excited to get into my research agenda and collaborate with students, colleagues and community organizations. I look forwarding to playing a role in bridging the researcher-practitioner gap as I learn about the needs within the community. I want to prepare my students with the foundation to go into their respective communities with knowledge to help them develop behaviors and skills that are holistic, and career-sustaining, as they work with their clients and colleagues.

What are your research interests?

KC: My research interests are grounded in three primary areas: trauma, addiction, and clinical supervision. I am interested in studying the effects and implications of trauma and addiction across the lifespan and interventions that are most appropriate for this population. As counselors and counselor educators we often supervise individuals at different stages of their professional development. I want to find out about specific supervision needs and interventions for students and counselors who may be in recovery, and those who work primarily with clients with trauma or addiction diagnoses.

Across my research agenda, my intention is to find out what works for whom, how it works, and under what circumstances. I’m also interested in discovering ways to bridge the researcher-practitioner gap through my teaching, research, leadership, and service.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

KC: The mission of Marquette resonates with me on a personal and professional level. I share the belief that through excellence in my work, faith in myself and others, and compassionate leadership and service, I can inspire and encourage others. The COED has a nurturing and caring environment which indicates that this is a place where I can flourish as part of the faculty and as an individual. I believe I am very fortunate to be part of Marquette University, the COED, and especially the CECP department.

Dr. Callender will teach “Group Counseling” along with “Human Growth and Development” this fall. Want to know more about the College of Education? You can learn more about our new faculty and degree programs by visiting us today!


What is a Marquette Educator?

Follow us on Twitter

Archives