Scenario 1: You zone out while digging through your bottomless inbox in a student organization meeting and finally look up only to meet the eye of one of your student leaders.
Scenario 2: You hurry into a student appointment having run from another meeting for yet another committee. You realize after the student explains her concern that you were listening… but your mind was still in that other meeting.
Scenario 3: You can’t help but vent to your RAs about how you’re just so BUSY that you haven’t had time to eat, sleep, or exercise!
Some variation on one of these moments has likely happened to you. I know they happen to me. Being overcommitted and overwhelmed seems to be a #SAoccupationalhazard! Yet, I have been involved in several conversations recently about how to prevent student leaders from running themselves ragged until they cannot be effective in any of their roles (including their most important roles as people, students, friends, and family members). Sound familiar? I can’t help but notice that their behavior is simply a reflection of ours. I propose that we consider the impact of role modeling on how our students approach self-care and time management. Here are some strategies I am utilizing to tackle this issue:
Check your values and goals, then spend your time accordingly.
Time is our most precious commodity. I have sought out to regularly check in with how I am spending that precious time, and consider my “why.” Before I commit to that new project, I consider my motivation for saying “yes”, and ask myself – Are my commitments and daily schedule in alignment with my values? How are my daily and weekly actions moving me closer to my goals?
Be there… and then don’t.
This may sound harsh, but I believe we are doing our students a disservice if we don’t teach them about how to set and observe boundaries. I always try to ensure when I am at a meeting or event, especially meeting individually or in a group with students, I am all there. Step away from the cell phone! On the other hand, if I am spending time away from work with friends, family, or some quality “me time,” I communicate that to my colleagues and students and give my full attention to the fun and relaxation at hand!
Take care of yourself. Your students can tell if you aren’t.
My guiding purpose in my work is to facilitate holistic student growth and development. It only makes sense to ensure I am attending to my own physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. Not only because we “cannot serve from an empty vessel”, but because our students will follow our lead. To many of these students, we serve as not only professional mentors but also personal role models. While this is an exciting opportunity to make an impact, it is also a great responsibility.
Please comment and share your strategies, success stories, and struggles about role modeling self-care for your students.
Ringing in the new year with no particular theme, this month is a grab bag, where contributors can share any topic of interest. Because nobody puts baby in a corner.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at email@example.com.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Conor McLaughlin on SA Work-Life Balance