Pumpkin Spice Self Care

Taking Care of You


Darrien Wilkins

Pumpkins come in all colors and sizes here at HCC

Zaira Girala, Staff Writer

Hello October, with your super spooky midterms, pumpkin spice everything, crisp air, perfect weather, and onslaught of school work that prevents me from enjoying all of the above. Except, perhaps unfortunately, the midterms and ever pervasive pumpkin spice everything. In all seriousness, our fall comes with the subtle progression of darkness, the gradual waning of sunlight each day as more and more winter creeps into the humid morning chill.

Amidst approaching spring transfer deadlines, the project surge, the social demands of holidays, the sleepless nights and other fearful October occurrences, it’s easy to miss the cold or dark when it catches. As sunlight becomes sparse and temperatures drop, it’s easy to pass off feeling cold indoors. Ignoring a changing appetite within the blur of meetings, classes, work and travel. Cubbyholing fatigue in with a lack of sleep. The season seeps into productivity, routine and selfcare, throwing a wrench into the preexisting chaos. Such is not the case for all, but perhaps for some, as everything from the seasonal blues to Seasonal Affective Depressive Disorder, tend to amplify throughout the colder months.

From that perspective it almost seems ironic that we seem to place the most pressure on ourselves across the board when the risk for our own mental health seems elevated. As per usual, there are the typical sociocultural culprits and agitators. In the disquiet chaos of never-ending mental to-do lists and expectations, particularly of students who work to support themselves as well, there is still a hesitance to reach out and speak to professors or the counseling center at HCC. This odd disconnect is often the lovechild of stigma and self-imposed expectation. Stigma, often interpreted as negative connotations surrounding socially dictated taboos, is often internalized as well. With the pressures of a preconceived traditional college path, work demands and the seeming homogenized social expectations from all of us, it’s hard to take a deep breath and stand back. Perhaps harder yet to accept that some of that expectation is self imposed. I did not come to such revelation without the help of a dear friend. My light in the dark, if you’ll pardon the cliche. I admired her for her championing of a work life balance. They were involved, seemed fairly well-rested, dabbled in everything and always seemed to overachieve. I believe we all know the type. And yet a conversation with her provided the singular secret behind it, her seeming invincibility; to know very well that you are not. To be gentle on yourself. To step out and walk through campus for a bit. Watch the leaves turn to gold and fire as the weeks pass. Find your quiet places when you find yourself in chaos. To reach out and ask for help. To relax the tension in your shoulders.

To breathe slowly. To find the path less traveled, the one to your own self-exploration, or simply to alternative way to class, and take it. So as fall approaches in pumpkin spice scented bounds, and as the setting sun leaves more of itself amidst the fiery canopy, I hope we both take that advice, and take that path less traveled. It is your own to shape and your own to care for yourself through. One which is no less beautiful for having been unexplored. And most of all, be gentle
with yourself.