Academic Leadership & Self Care

As we pivot to the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic on our campuses, academic leaders have stepped up in extraordinary ways to craft responses and shepherd our students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders in compassionate and practical ways. These are not ordinary times. And these are not ordinary efforts.

While we go through this hectic pace of meetings, decisions, and actions, it is important that we keep a look out for signs of wear and tear amongst our colleagues, but also our own selves. Much has been asked and there is much to do to ensure the safety of our wards, continuity in the academic enterprise, and at the same time providing a healthy, safe, environment at home with our families, especially the children and the elderly.

But without you, yes, you, the academic leader, tending to your own wellbeing things will not go as planned.

As we go about our work in a crisis, leaders tend to wear masks to portray a sense of comfort, strength, empathy, and optimism lest our worries creates an unhealthy organizational culture. Under that mask, when peeled, there is often doubt & fear whether we made the right decisions at the appropriate times. Our minds are working in overdrive, and we lose ourselves in our work to do right. This is natural. This is common. This is real.

There are some simple elements we can introduce into our routine that will help us take care of US. These could include:

  • Believe and trust in your team wholeheartedly
  • Rest (Take powernaps if possible or just switch off your monitors and turn away from your computer)
  • Reflect and remember why you are doing this work : Purpose grounds you
  • Keep a journal of this historic time
  • Practice Positivity
  • Be there for others (sometimes just an acknowledgement works wonders)
  • Connect with your friends, family, and peers (just meetup to chill)
  • Go for walks – Outdoor!
  • Laugh – Joke around with friends or watch a funny movie
  • Vent to a close colleague or family member (Get it off your chest)
  • Mediate and mind to your spiritual needs
  • Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Your mind needs to shut down to reboot fresh!

This too will pass. Hence, plan a future vacation with family and friends. Now.