You might be wondering what prompted a site/blog like this one. Of course, as I said before, I have some bad habits that have affected my productivity and effectiveness as a teacher. But honestly, the motivation runs deeper than that.
The Academy does awful things to us. The quest for productivity means that being overworked and overtired is a badge of courage. There is a fair amount of competitiveness in higher education. The Lake Woebegone Effect is alive and well in academia – everyone is expected to be above average in teaching, research, and service.
A few years ago, someone close to me passed away suddenly. His boss came by with a plate of break-and-bake cookies and said, “I’m sorry for your loss. I need his computer back.” This was one of those turning point moments. Another one was when my mother got sick with heart disease and cancer. Before her illness, she was a fastidious homemaker. One of my friends once remarked that she thought we were wealthy because our home was so clean. When my Mom remarked she wouldn’t be able to clean her house anymore, one of her physical therapists remarked, “that is what you want your legacy to be?”
So what do these stories have to do with Fitness and Wellness in the Academy? Well, I’ve come to realize that caring for yourself is critical if you want to stick around – and do the things you want to do. Academia is unique in that we work A LOT, and we spend the rest of the time feeling guilty that we aren’t working. To paraphrase a friend of mine, you have the flexibility to choose which 70 hours a week you want to work. There is also a hidden curriculum – how do you get it all done? When is it ok to say no and when is it in your best interest to say yes?
As a low (low-low) level supervisor, too, I’m hearing more about repetitive stress injuries, increasing mental health issues, and general anxiety of having to do more with less. Yet when I look for resources on wellness and fitness for the unique needs of academics, I came up with nothing. So, I decided to design this site.
It is my hope that the resources I provide and the documentation of my journey is helpful and inspiring to you. My goal is to talk about the things no one is talking about with regard to healthy living in the academy. I want to give practical advice – while there will be some links to meditation and yoga, I’ll try to keep those at a minimum. Rather, I’ll stick to evidence-based practices that will increase productivity and healthy living. Leave a comment and let me know how I’m doing!