Nov. 26, 2019Print | PDF
Thank you Brittany.
Good morning everyone and welcome to our second Elevating Laurier Leaders event in Waterloo Region.
Before we begin I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee people and that it is a privilege to be here for the purposes of this event.
As Brittany mentioned, today’s session focuses on self-care and in a few minutes we’ll be hearing from an expert on the topic – our very own Sarah Syrett who graduated from the Master of Social Work program in 2013.
Sarah is uniquely qualified to discuss this topic because she is a field co-ordinator for Laurier’s Bachelor of Social Work program as well as a self-care facilitator.
I know that I am excited to learn from her this morning because I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that as a busy professional, my day can be filled with to-do lists and meetings and it can be difficult to find a moment to pause and take some time to focus on myself.
The nature of work today for many women is to perform with near-constant output. This creates a situation that just isn’t sustainable for our well-being because when having time for lunch becomes a luxury, we are obviously neglecting our self-care.
In my life, I try to find those moments of self-reflection and take some time to focus on something outside of work.
I find water to be restorative and peaceful so enjoy spending time near a lake or the ocean.
I enjoy science fiction and try to get in a few episodes of Star Trek in when I can.
I also enjoy physical activity and will take the opportunity to play sports, go to the gym or take a walk with my dogs whenever I can.
I’ve learned that part of self-care is learning to recognize when it’s time to ask for help.
Nothing good can come from being overwhelmed, and relying on others for advice or assistance to carry the load is an important part of maintaining our mental and physical health.
When I was about three quarters of the way done my PhD I hit a wall.
The courage and passion that had propelled me to that point seemed to have deserted me.
In hindsight, there were lots of reasons for this: job prospects in academia and research were low at the time; and my interests were expanding from straight research into volunteer areas completely outside of research and science.
It could also be that I had been in school with no break since kindergarten and was starting to feel the pressure academia was having on me.
I reached out to my graduate supervisor to let him know that I couldn’t continue at the pace I had been setting for myself.
He did the best thing he could for me. He showed me compassion and, importantly, patience, and let me set the pace I needed to complete my studies.
All it took was asking for help to greatly improve my outlook and my well-being.
I’m sure we all have moments when we feel like we have to decide between what we feel we must do and doing what’s best for ourselves.
I think that’s a false choice and am looking forward to hearing what tools Sarah has for us in acknowledging that self-care and productivity are not mutually exclusive.
And in fact, with self-care we are able to better focus, prioritize and succeed.
With that, I’d like to welcome Sarah Syrett up to lead her workshop.
Thank you, Sarah for that excellent workshop.
I think we’ve all learned some valuable things about self-care that we can incorporate into our daily lives.
Thank you also to Laurier’s alumni relations team for putting this series together, it’s always such a pleasure for me to get together with our alumni community.
Once again, thank you for coming today and I look forward to seeing you all at our next event in Waterloo Region on April 16 when we will be talking about imposter syndrome.
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