For those of us in higher education administration, we have made a commitment and career choice to work tirelessly and be advocates for students. As a result of our unpredictable schedules and propensity to put our students first, we often forget to take a moment for me.
Student affairs advocates and administrators are most effective when we take the necessary steps to set boundaries between work and personal time. Our students need us, but we must first take care of ourselves before we take care of them. Here are few suggestions to help you with the balancing act and managing stress.
1) Do something special for yourself at least once a week – Whether its treating yourself to a nice meal off-campus or turning off your ringer while you stay home and watch a good movie, your mind and body will appreciate a little self-pampering.
2) Take a few minutes during the day to relax and take a deep breath – Close your office door and reflect on the last time you laughed or heard a good joke. Take a relaxing 10-minute walk around campus and let your mind wander.
3) Try not to bring work home – Although it is sometimes impossible, leave your paperwork and files in the office. The work will be waiting for you when you return.
4) Take ALL of your vacation days – What is the purpose of having time to get away if you don’t take advantage? Vacation is not necessarily leaving town or traveling to some exotic location. Use a couple of vacation days on Thursday and Friday and make it a four-day weekend.
5) Smile, have fun, and keep a positive attitude – Obviously, this is most important. Enjoy what you do and let other know you take pride and have enthusiasm for your job. Always look for positive solutions instead of negative consequences. Everyday may not be perfect, but we can strive each day to make it that way.
Submitted by Aaron J. Hart, Assistant Community Coordinator, Arizona State University