Recently, I’ve noticed the trend topic of self care showing up more on places such as Twitter, here on the SA Blog, and The Huffington Post. People are talking about their adventures in working out, changing their diet (like myself), etc.
I think those articles, Facebook updates, and Tweets are great and I know have personally helped motivate me in my attempts to live a healthier life. However, there’s one glaring topic that I have not seen as much of: healthy sleeping habits (again, guilty as charged). The Huffington Post has started a campaign called “The Freshmen 8” in which they are encouraging first year students to make sure that they get their eight hours of sleep per day. Dr. Michael J. Breus writes:
“Sleep deprivation leads to poor concentration, inability to focus, decreased coordination… in college terms, lower grades and potentially less-than-peak athletic performance. Not necessarily the way you want to start, spend or end your college career.”
So, doesn’t the same hold for us? While most student affairs professionals are the poster children for over-achieving: working long hours with usually the least amount of resources allocated within an institution. On top of our daily grueling schedules, we also work on presentations for conferences, participate on professional committees, write articles/blogs, do podcasts, consult, and/or work on an additional terminal degree…and I’m not even getting into our personal commitments (our families, friends, hobbies, etc). There is literally not enough time in the day if your a student affairs proessfional.
We talk about balancing with our students but are we role modeling that behavior? I bet most folks would say yes that they are since balance is really a subjective topic and will be different for everyone. With that said, I am putting out this challenge: make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep yourself so that you can achieve whatever goals you have, whether it’s a one specific to that day or one that’s a life-long goal. For me, that means I’m going to have to break some bad habits that I have formed which are mostly around being glued to my iPhone or other devices every second that I am awake.
With the benefits you get from being well-rested, maybe your productivity will go up. Maybe you won’t need so much caffeine to keep you concentrated and coordinated. I’m going to start a log to see if I notice any changes in my day and I’ll make sure to do a follow blog in a month or two to share with everyone. I hope you’ll join me and post any changes you notice.
Note: If you would like to read Dr. Michael J. Breus’ article, you can find it here: http://huff.to/akPUa0
Pete Pereira is Coordinator of Campus Activities at Texas State University – San Marcos