Self-Care for the Collegiate Gigster: Start a 'Be Kind Portfolio'

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In an earlier post, I spoke about the Imposter Syndrome and how it can impact the lives of Collegiate Gigsters. I included a Knowledge Inventory Guide that I created to help you detail concrete evidence of your skills and abilities in order to push back on the feelings of being an imposter. I would like to follow up that discussion by recommending a Be Kind Portfolio.

Part of the work of pushing back against feeling like an imposter is self-care. You have to care about yourself enough to know that once you do what you have to do, you must make time to do what you want to do. Looking to the academic world for inspiration, I came across an article discussing how academics can and must focus on their own self-care. In her article, Pam Whitfield talks about strategies she believes can help us all focus on self-care as it relates to mental well-being. She proposes you develop a Be Kind Portfolio:

"Start a Be Kind Portfolio. Fill it with material that demonstrates your love for the profession, care for students, and commitment to your community. You’ll fill it up fast. And looking back through your portfolio on the low days will fill you up and get you back on track."

Use this portfolio to remind yourself of the accomplishments you’ve made, especially on those days when things didn’t go as well as you would like them to. For example when a client is upset, or your presentation less than stellar, focus on your accomplishments instead of the negatives around you. I would also suggest you include in the Be Kind Portfolio, all the people you’ve come in contact with that have added to your overall sense of well-being. Human connections are vital for mental and physical health. According to research, human connections are the primary contributor to a long and healthy life. I’ve started a Be Kind Portfolio for myself. As a Collegiate Gigster and a professional educator, the portfolio serves as my guidebook for success and the successes I still aim to achieve.

People sometimes pull away from those they care about, and live “in their heads”. This is a a normal response. I too need a way to remind myself that I am doing better than my environment would suggest. I have people who care about me that want the best for me and it is important to keep this in mind as often as possible, but especially when things don't go exactly as planned. As part of your own self-care practice, I hope you begin a Be Kind Portfolio and let me know how it works out for you.

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This blog post is part of a newsletter I publish weekly called The Gigster 'Zine. It is a production of the Colégas Group, an organization that seeks to offer new opportunities for anyone with a college degree. To learn more about us, to receive valuable strategies for improvement, and to find innovative employment opportunities, sign up for the complete newsletter at colegasgroup.com.