Today's Update: Monday, May 18

May 18, 2020

Dear Student Life Team,  

I truly regret that I had to cancel our Zoom team session on Friday, and I very much appreciate your understanding and patience. I have rescheduled it for Friday, May 29, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and will send a link closer to the date. I’m looking forward to “seeing” everyone! 

You can probably tell that self-care is important to me, for me, and for you. But a note I got last week from a team member reminded me that I have some room for my own growth in this area right now.   

A team member wrote me after my update on Zoom Fatigue about their experiences with virtual meetings. Many of us can relate to things like meetings that run long or the lack of opportunity to get up and stretch. But as I read the email, I realized that taking care of ourselves is absolutely key to taking care of others.  

It’s like face coverings. Yes, they protect you, but they are even more effective at protecting those around you. You’ve probably seen the charts showing that when everyone wears a covering the odds of infection are dramatically lower than if just you are wearing one.  

The analogy carries into our daily work. If you or I practice self-care, it helps others do the same thing. That’s where I feel I’ve fallen short. I believe in it, but haven’t “walked the talk” as well as I’d like. In my defense these are unique times that require something different from all of us, and part of that requirement is to be constantly vigilant about our need for self-care.  

For example, do we really need to schedule meetings during the lunch hour and risk hangry participants? Does a meeting need to go for a full hour or hour and a half, or would a 30 - 45-minute call accomplish the same goal (in a much more disciplined way, of course)? Or would it be more efficient to just send an email?     

Other thoughts for self-care: For those who are able to stand, host standing meetings; remember to heap praise on each other (we are all doing our best); remember to eat and do the things that you need to do to be whole – if you can take a walk while on a call, do it! And most importantly, be patient with each other as we are all doing the best we can in an environment that is completely different than we are accustomed to operating. 

I worry that there is an assumption people have “more time for more meetings because we are just at home.” I personally don’t believe I’ve ever had as many meetings in one day as I have during this time. I realize my position allows me some ability to say, “too much in one day” and asking to have things rescheduled, but I also feel as though I’ve neglected using my ability to say no. Personal rules such as no lunch or late afternoon meetings have totally gone by the wayside. For now. The same is true for the increased number of late evening emails. Many apologies to those who are the recipients of those messages, by the way.   

I’m vowing, to you and to myself, to do a better job. There is much we cannot control, especially now, but I encourage you to ask yourself the same question I’m asking myself: How can I take better care of myself? Doing so helps take care of, or more importantly honors, the time and space of others. If each of us pays attention to our own well-being, it helps not only us, but everyone we encounter. It helps us all stay Scarlet and Great.