New episode of Eastern Michigan University’s “Enlighten U” touches on self-care and its importance for students and beyond

Lolita Cummings, Raina LaGrand, Laleh Walker, and Melissa Thrasher on the set of the "Enlighten U" video podcast.
From left: Lolita Cummings, Raina LaGrand, Laleh Walker, and Melissa Thrasher on the set of the "Enlighten U" video podcast.

YPSILANTI — Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans did not consider self-care a priority. But, as of 2020, almost 70% of respondents in a survey conducted by wellness software company Vargo said they were planning on doing more self-care the following year.

Despite the recent recognition of the importance of self-care - possibly driven by the changes caused by the pandemic - many individuals continue to face barriers to practicing it. This month’s episode of “Enlighten U,” Eastern Michigan University’s mental health podcast, teaches listeners about self-care, why it’s so important, and how to make time for it in daily life.

Expert guest Raina LaGrand, LMSW, MPH, CYT, owns Root to Rise Somatics in Ypsilanti. There, she focuses on connectedness and how it impacts our well-being. LaGrand emphasizes the need for this connection in self-care routines.

“You can drink all the green juice, go to Orange Theory every day, and quit smoking,” LaGrand said. “But if you’re not connected, you’re not going to be well.”

Student guest Laleh Walker, a rising sophomore at Eastern Michigan studying public relations, said her freshman year was extraordinarily busy. Luckily, she recognized the importance of self-care when she felt drained.

“I felt like the walls were caving in on me,” Walker said.

While discussing her feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed, Walker shared her self-care strategies, including forming a routine, meditation, and talking to her parents - further illustrating the importance LaGrand places on connectedness and communication.

Throughout the episode, Walker and LaGrand also discuss self-care facets, including goal setting, realistic goals, forming good habits for later in life, and how students can keep in touch over the summer.

The episode also offers listeners a special opportunity to win a self-care-related prize. To enter, listeners must watch the episode to the end, like the video, comment, and subscribe to Eastern Michigan University’s YouTube channel. Five winners will be randomly selected and announced in early July. They will then have 30 days to claim their prize from EMU.

Future episodes of “Enlighten U” will address the fear of failure, learning disabilities, adjustment to campus life, navigating the transition from high school to college, and more.

For more information, please contact Lolita Cummings at or Melissa Thrasher at To submit a topic idea or to be a guest, please contact the show directly at 


About “Enlighten U”
“Enlighten U” is an Eastern Michigan University-produced podcast for college students as they experience unique stressors, including academic pressures, personal growth, social challenges, and more. EMU executive director of media relations and social media Melissa Thrasher and EMU public relations professor Lolita Cummings serve as co-hosts. Each episode is released each month and welcomes a student or alum and a subject-matter professional. Episodes of “Enlighten U” address mental health topics like imposter syndrome, financial strain, grading anxiety, adjustment to campus life, social media harms, social justice, and more.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

June 18, 2024

Written by:
Maisey Jones

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher