Improving your self-care can be done through various areas of your life, and one of them is through spirituality. Whether you are religious or not, the chaplains at Deakin are always there to support you. We’ve spoken to Rev. John Carrick, who is an Anglican Chaplain from the Burwood Campus, who has given some advice for students.
What can I do when I’m feeling hopeless or overwhelmed?
The first step is to ask yourself “is there a particular reason for how I am feeling?”. Sometimes you’ll find there are multiple factors contributing to how you’re feeling, and that is completely normal. Regardless if you do or don’t know what’s causing you to feel this way, you should seek some help. Some practical things you can do include;
- See your GP
- Exercise (physical exercise can help lift our mood)
- Eat healthy (good food = good mood)
- Get a good night’s rest
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Speak with someone you trust: friends, family, a Counsellor (ask your GP for a referral),
a Chaplain (no referral required)
- Pray: the spiritual aspect of our lives is worth developing as this gives depth and meaning
which can be anchor for us when life feels tumultuous.
What are some resources I can access about spirituality?
There are many resources available for everyone. You can read about the life of Jesus and what he taught, and see how his teaching resonates with you. Specifically read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books in the Bible detail the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and are collectively known as the Gospels (which means good news!)
If you’d prefer to read something other than the Bible, you can read some classic books on Christianity and Christian experience, or alternatively listen to them as audio books. Why not start off with either Augustine’s Confessions or C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.
Reading isn’t your thing? There are other options available to you. There are podcasts you can listen to
Or you can speak with a chaplain about spirituality and ask questions. There are chaplains on campus, and you can also contact them via phone or email. You can also check out the Christian Union on campus, or via their Facebook page. You can connect with them and find out what spirituality means for your fellow students.
What is a chaplain? Why would I see one?
A chaplain is someone that you can reach out to and speak with about anything. Many people seek out chaplains to discuss things which they feel they are unable to talk about with anyone else.
You may want to see a chaplain because you:
- Identify as a Christian and want to connect with a chaplain on campus
- Do not have a faith but have questions of a spiritual nature
- Have started reading a bible and want to ask questions about it
- Are agnostic but want to know if you could have faith
- Are an atheist but have your doubts
- Want someone to pray with or for you
- Want someone to shout you a coffee/tea
Don’t really think you are a religious person? Where can you start?
Firstly, check out the resources mentioned above. Then if you want to know or discuss more, make an appointment to speak individually with the chaplains and find out about their faith. Ask the question, “what would my life look like if I believed this?”
Check out Miroslav Volf speaking about his course at Yale where students are asked to consider what their life would look like if they truly believed in;
- The Christian message
- Mohammed’s teaching
- Nietzsche, etc.
But what if I’m not religious?
That’s totally fine! Chaplains will talk to anyone.
I’m interested in talking to a chaplain, how do I get in contact with one at Deakin?
As mentioned, you can get in touch with the Deakin chaplains via email or phone, or if you live in an area where you can travel to campus, you can seek out the Chaplain’s office. To find out more about Deakin chaplains or to contact them, visit https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/health-and-wellbeing/multifaith-chaplain/contact-a-chaplain