Assistant professor Cheryl Woods Giscombé, PhD, PMHNP, was invited to speak at a TEDx event held at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham, NC. Her talk, “Take the Time,” focused on the importance of self-care.

As an NCSSM alumna, Dr. Giscombé knows very about the pressure to excel that NCSSM students in the audience were facing. “Everyone in here is highly motivated,” she said. “You have a lot of goals and you probably have a lot of passion of what you do. What will nurture you over the years so that you can grow your passions and reach your goals?”

Dr. Giscombé answered the question by sharing a pivotal moment in her career path. When she was pursuing her PhD in psychology, she decided that she wanted to become a nurse. Rather than quitting her PhD program, Dr. Giscombé pursued both interests. Combining nursing and research, she realized would provide her with the self-fulfillment that comes from helping people directly and satisfy her passion for solving problems through science.

The cost of pursuing dual degrees eventually caught up to Dr. Giscombé. While finishing her PhD program, and working as a nurse on weekends, she developed cluster headaches that were so debilitating she had to take a month off from school. “Life is kind of like a bath tub that gets stopped up,” she said. “There are sediments in the pipes that build up and build up that you won’t see if you don’t take the time to really notice if you’re in balance.”

To counteract stress, Dr. Giscombé suggested to students that they build a bit of meaningfulness or fun into their every day routines. Doing so would help them to achieve and cultivate their brilliance over the long run. “If you don’t take the time, that water will start to build up,” she said. “Longevity and sustainability is really key to good work and to impacting the world,”

You can view Dr. Giscombé’s TEDxNCSSM talk below. Dr. Giscombé was also recently featured in a story about the importance of service and self-care on the front page of University Gazette. You can read the whole story online by clicking here.