“I’ve always hated wearing shoes,” Ashlyn Griffin, sophomore in secondary education, said.
Though the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” mindset is in effect in certain places like Kansas State University classrooms, Griffin said she likes to spend as much of her time barefoot as possible.
“A big reason I go barefoot is because of an anthropology class I took freshman year,” Griffin said. “We talked about how people used to walk, and run and live their lives without shoes on, so I figured, ‘Why should I have to wear shoes all the time?’
“They’re restrictive and uncomfortable,” she said. “I feel much more free and grounded without them.”
Toward the end of the semester, Griffin said she’s found herself overwhelmed with classwork and other obligations.
“Right now, I’m feeling a little frazzled because when you’re a student, your brain is in a million different places,” she said. “You have stuff at home to worry about, you have stuff that’s going on right now, you have your academic stuff and you have your friends and making sure they’re doing okay. It’s hard to make sure that you’re doing okay sometimes.”
Griffin said her relief from stress comes from everyday things.
“I’ve been able to enjoy little moments of walking to class and spending time in my own thoughts,” Griffin said. “Those tiny moments where you get to take time for yourself during a busy schedule are so important.”
Pursuing her spirituality and spending time with her Christian community is another way Griffin said she takes care of herself.
“I’ve also always been into taking care of my physical health,” Griffin said.
While she was an avid jazzercise-goer in high school to help with stress relief, Griffin said she now fills that void with yoga.
“First of all, you get to be barefooted, so that’s great,” Griffin said. “But you also get to take time before and after your practice to meditate on whatever’s going on in your mind which has been a huge help for me.”
For Griffin, going without shoes as often as she can is a way of feeling more present and in tune with herself and her surroundings. With the weather warming up recently, she said being outside in her bare feet is one of her favorite ways to spend some free time.
Griffin said taking just a moment to recenter and decompress can make all the difference, even if you choose to de-stress with your shoes on.