I used to be the type of person who took pride in filling my days up. I loved checking items off my to-do list, saying yes to everything and filling my week with social plans. I took pride in productivity and living a fast-paced life. But the pandemic and the shift to new ways of working and living forced me to re-examine my mindset. I had to be intentional in rethinking how I structured my days and build in time for self-reflection, care and introspection.
This shift isn’t unique to just me. The past few years have been marked by uncertainty, and students in particular have been profoundly impacted in the way they learn, socialize and approach health.
So the theme of self-care felt fitting for our 14th annual Doodle for Google student contest. The 2022 contest theme is, “I care for myself by…”. We’re asking students to share how they nurture themselves in tough times. What do they do to feel better when they’re feeling down? How do they approach taking a break? What activities make them feel calm or give them energy? What or who brings them joy? Our theme this year invites students to share how they take care of their minds, bodies and spirits as they face the opportunities and challenges every new day brings.
Meet the judges
This year’s judges are all passionate about self-care and wellness. The panel will help us determine our 54 state and territory winners and five national finalists, one of whom will go on to be the national grand prize winner.
Selena Gomez is a Grammy-nominated artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. One of her personal passions is starting conversations around mental health, and in 2019 she founded the Rare Impact Fund, pledging to raise $100 million for mental health services for individuals in underserved communities. “Art is something that has always been an important part of my life,” she says. “I am thrilled to join this year’s judges panel in the Doodle for Google contest as the theme is ‘I care for myself by,’ which is a topic close to my heart. As a longtime advocate for mental health awareness, the concept that self-care is becoming a part of our everyday conversation makes me hopeful for the future.”
Our second judge, Elyse Fox, is a director, model and mental health activist. She created Sad Girls Club, a nonprofit committed to destigmatizing mental wellness for millennial and Gen Z women, girls and femmes of color, and she’s a member of the Rare Beauty Mental Health Council. “This year's theme ‘I care for myself by’ is an important prompt we should all be asking ourselves, especially in today's climate,” she says. “I love the theme because sometimes people may think caring for yourself is selfish, but on the contrary it's necessary for us to prioritize to be the best versions of who we want to be.”
Our final judge, Juliana Urtubey, is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year, and she currently serves as a special education co-teacher at Kermit Booker Elementary in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has spent her career advocating for joyous and just education for all, and community-oriented wellbeing is at the center of her mission. “One of the ways I care for myself is through self-reflection and engaging with my community,” she says. “Knowing yourself and understanding how and why you process certain emotions is influenced by where you come from, and for me, my collective community keeps me grounded and centered. I teach my students how to acknowledge and regulate their emotions and since their relationships and interactions with family, friends and community members can have a major impact on their health and well-being, we always talk about our emotions with a community context.”
The 2022 Doodle for Google contest is open to students based in the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through March 4. For details on how to enter the contest, resources for educators and parents, as well the contest rules, head to our website. The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, receive a $30,000 college scholarship and the winner’s school will receive a $50,000 technology grant. We can’t wait to see what students create.