LaShonda King personifies inspiration. Having only been on campus for two years, she has taken professional development to a whole new level as a volunteer co-chair at this year’s NACADA conference and as a two-time presenter at Stay Day.  At the latter, she presented on self-care and has a thing or two to share about its importance in the daily life of an advisor.

You created a presentation based on a C.A.R.E. model that fit right in with the “Culture of Care” theme for Stay Day. Was that planned?

LDK: I have always been very interested in self-care. I had the idea  before I knew the theme of Stay Day, but it fit perfectly. My previous experience speaking at a conference was emceeing the First Time Attendee Orientation at the NACADA conference. Initially, I was scheduled to do a short presentation, but it all came together when Erin Wixson, Stay Day Chair, suggested I do a full presentation on the topic instead.

Can you outline what the C.A.R.E. acronym stands for and how you presented it?

LDK: I love sharing information and having fun! I wanted an interactive presentation with a mix of discussion and group activities. I used a C.A.R.E. acronym (Community, Activity, Rest, Encouragement) and the Care Bears to illustrate topics. I explained who the Care Bears were, discussed qualities of caregivers, signs of stress and caregiver burnout, then we moved into the interactive portion.  I explained C.A.R.E and after each letter, participants listed barriers on wall post-its. At the end, we went around the room and brainstormed solutions. It very was very empowering!

  • Community- Being a part of a group that shares common interests or values. To name a few, community can be family, friends, colleagues, a walking club, a church group. A community is a place to get support from others, and maybe even tips from those with similar experiences.
  • Activity – Engaging in mental and/or physical activities. Activities can be things like exercise, meditation, or even a group activity with your office.
  • Rest- Refreshing oneself through breaks, sleeping, or being still. Rest can be taking a quick break from a task to taking a vacation, and everything in between. Breaks keep you focused and on track. Everyone needs breaks!
  • Encouragement-It is your choice to be encouraging; we must begin by encouraging ourselves. There are real stressors in our lives; they can make us grumpy ( and that's okay!) However, we shouldn't stay that way.  You can choose to work through it!

How did you close the presentation?

LDK: At the end, participants took time to visit the different barriers written by their peers and provide support and solutions. I also provided some resources and asked those in the room to share what they knew.  The session in itself built a new community! As they were leaving, participants reported feeling encouraged, refreshed and empowered.

How might your C.A.R.E. model translate into the goals you set in working with students?

LDK: My goals are to help students succeed, make a difference on campus and make sure no one falls through the cracks, whether students or staff. I LOVE to explain things in analogies! During a flight safety demo, the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others; it means to take care of yourself before you help others. It’s the same as an advisor! Self-care is important for us because our students benefit the most when we take good C.A.R.E. of ourselves! My C.A.R.E model is easy to remember and to apply to everyday life. When I am practicing a lifestyle of self-care, it helps me to accomplish my goals!

LaShonda King presents at Stay Day