Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles: A time to be mindful – December 21, 2018
December 21, 2018
Last week, the Strategic Administrative Leadership Team learned about mindfulness for a healthy lifestyle with Assistant Director of Student Involvement Juan-Carlos Pineiro and Faculty Counselor Pat Sheehan. If you think you saw about 60 administrators and managers doing yoga through the windows of the Student Center a week ago, your eyes did not deceive you. We departed from our usual leadership development topics and focused on an area just as important. We routinely look out for others — whether a student, a co-worker, someone who works for us, or someone we work for — and they, too, look out for us. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with taking care of others that we neglect to take care of ourselves. Our work serving students and each other is complex — at times exhilarating and occasionally frustrating and exhausting. As we pour into others, we can deplete what we have within ourselves to give.
Sometimes, we even reach levels of intensity that result in being “short” or “snappy.” This is rarely about negative thoughts or feelings toward others. It is more of a reflection of what we might be feeling internally — either work related or due to non-work pressures — that affect our behavior and interaction with students and with team members.
In these instances, there is opportunity to recognize our triggers and find ways to deescalate. We may need to take a break, take a walk, or take a few deep breaths. On occasions when someone communicates more intensely or sharply than preferred, consider stepping away for a moment. Sometimes a different approach, a different time, or an intermediary can help.
When we take care of ourselves, we increase our capacity to care for others. During our leadership session, we learned and practiced techniques for replenishing ourselves throughout the workday. I appreciate the leadership team participating in the mindfulness seminar and valuing the need for balance and restoration.
Put another way, those who serve others must take time to renew themselves. Many of our daily tasks and the world around us are changing at an unprecedented pace. Tools for managing increasing stress and ambiguity can be very helpful for avoiding anxiety and discovering new ways of being productive. Thanks for everything you do for others and for keeping yourself well, too.
Have a joyous, safe, rejuvenating holiday break!
Dr. Belinda S. Miles