I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit the University of Minnesota and meet with their Wellness Advocates who serve as ambassadors across the campus through the promotion of well-being solutions. My colleague Jeff Klem and I spoke with them about mindful stress management solutions, motivation and defining one’s purpose.
“The U” has phenomenal numbers of wellness resources available to their students, faculty and employees, including a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in which most of the Advocates had already participated. The challenge, as I pointed out in my remarks, is to “find the time” to utilize any of those resources. In these times of “doing more with less”, it is easy to put taking care of one’s self at the bottom of a priority list, allowing our own well-being to go under-served.
We must challenge our own perception of “I don’t have enough time” and be mindful that there are the same number of hours in a day as yesterday, last week, last month and last year and it is the way in which we use them that counts. By accepting the premise that we cannot take care of others’ needs nor complete the tasks expected of us unless we take care of ourselves first, we accept accountability for our own wellness.
There are so many options available (like those at U of MN), no matter where we live. In my book, Mindful Stress Solutions for Today’s Leaders, I discuss Maya Frost’s “Real World Mindfulness” in which one can identify cues within each day’s journey that can remind us to pay attention to the present moment. By practicing mindfulness, we recognize the level of presence we bring to each interaction and we can allow ourselves to take stock of our own well-being and make choices that can serve both ourselves and those around us.
To my new Wellness Advocate friends – thank you for letting me into the uniqueness of your service and I hope our paths will cross again!