Faculty Club / Wellness / Faculty Wellness: Strategies for Building Resilience & Finding Joy in Your Work [Free Ebook]

Faculty Wellness: Strategies for Building Resilience & Finding Joy in Your Work [Free Ebook]

Laura Lee Summers, PhD, provides a series of exercises to help you discover the importance of well-being in and outside of the classroom.

In Teaching to Transgress (1994), bell hooks describes “engaged pedagogy” as how educators who are committed to making self-care a priority empower students through their teaching. If we view teaching as holistic, we partner with our students to gain knowledge in our content areas and “ways of knowing that enhance their capacity to live fully and deeply” (p. 22). 

In the past 30 years since her seminal work, the complexity of our lives has increased and the need for resilience is greater than ever before. This guidebook will provide a self reflective process of discovering what is important in each participant’s own daily life for well-being and how their wellbeing extends into their classrooms as well. 

“Each of our individual journeys to well-being is about noticing, wondering, practicing, and reflecting; then cycling back through noticing, wondering, practicing and reflecting.”

Laura Lee Summers, PhD Associate Clinical Professor University of Colorado Denver

Reflection Activity #1: One-Minute Pause

Before we begin this self-discovery and self-reflective process, I would like to recommend a centering warm-up practice. I use this as a moment to breathe into being present. Consider this to be an opportunity to breathe into your inner ways of knowing.

Here is a link to a 1-minute pause practice that I use. 

What came up for you during this moment of silence?

Reflection Activity #2: Time for Wellness Wheel

How do you divide up your time in a day? How many hours/ minutes do you spend sleeping, eating, working, socializing, etc.?

Think of a typical day and divide up your time into sections of a visual pie. 

How can you carve out time for your own self-care and rest? Consider highlighting the sections that you find to be restful, relaxing, or enjoyable.

Reflection Activity #3: Self-Assessment

On a scale of 0 to 5—with 0 meaning never and 5 meaning every day—how well do you integrate each dimension within your life? Add your self-assessment score next to the title of the dimension. 

Next, after reviewing the resources for each of the dimensions, create a goal within a dimension you would like to practice on your journey to wellbeing. Wellbeing is a state of being that requires practice; similar to how one may practice yoga, piano, or a foreign language

Reflection Activity #4: Journey to Well-Being

Choose one of the 8 dimensions of wellness. What is one strategy within this dimension that you would like to practice this month and why? 

Set your timer for 5 to 10 minutes and write about which strategy you would like to practice this week and why. 

Weekly Process

Take a minute at the end of each day during the week to reflect on how you did on your wellness goal. Mark the box to signal success (e.g., a checkmark, a YES, a smiley face, a favorite color, a star)

At the end of the week, reflect on wins from the week:

  • What did I learn about myself? 
  • How did I grow?

Reflection Activity #5: Well-Being Circle

As we try and try again, part of the process is figuring out a way to get back on track. Reflect, write down what worked and where you had a hiccup. As we focus within, we become more aware of what causes the hiccups and when things are working smoothly. 

One client decided to approach one area of well-being each month giving herself a year of self-care and compassion.

Consider the following questions: 

  • What changes do you notice in your well-being since Week 1? 
  • What practices would you like to continue?

The amount of time it takes to turn a practice into a regular habit varies. Four weeks provides some practice, but it is common to need to keep practicing until the goal becomes a habit. 

After each week:

  • Make note of any resistance and why. 
  • Be kind to yourself. 
  • Goals can be adjusted and readjusted. 
  • Reach out to a wellness coach if you would like a supportive listener in this process. 

A goal may take anywhere from 2 to 8 months to become a habit (James Clear). The reality is that we have to “embrace the process.” Commit to yourself. Commit to your journey and all you will learn along the way. 

What’s Inside:

  • Self-reflection activities to build resilience in your work.
  • Guidance on building wellness habits that stick.

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