October 2020 Circuit

Work-life Integration Strategies for Researchers

Date: Wednesday October 21, 2020

Location: Zoom Webinar

Lack of work-life integration is a feeling echoed by many in research, more so in the face of challenges brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was only apt then for the Chicago Women in STEM Initiative to kick-off the 2020-21 STEM Circuits with the topic ‘Work-life Integration Strategies for Researchers’.

On 21st October 2020, Lesley Lundeen, Well-being Manager at Northwestern University, addressed the Chicago STEM community with the importance of integrating well-being into our lives. Lesley affirmed that the pandemic is adding to our pre-existing anxieties and hardships which, without self-realization and self-care, can blur the line between healthy and unhealthy stress at work. She emphasized that while well-being is subjective, it is also a balance between our physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, spiritual, vocational and financial dimensions. To help self-evaluate in these dimensions, Lesley introduced us to the ‘well-being wheel’ scale where, unsurprisingly, several of us scored low on many aspects of self-care. In the breakout rooms, we discussed our individual concerns about these aspects and ways to consciously improve upon them, like devoting more of our time and energy for family/ friends, recreation or personal growth. Lesley reminded us that well-being can also be achieved with just a few basics: good sleep, nutrition and recovery. To mitigate the factors that might prevent our well-being, it is important that we identify our goals and priorities and allocate our personal resources (time, energy, money) accordingly. Finally, Lesley stressed that it is crucial to have people one can look up to for guidance and support when needed. A support network can consist of friends, colleagues, supervisors or even wellness professionals.

Armed with a research temper, we can use it to analyze our situation, reevaluate our priorities and adjust our actions to ultimately lead to a sense of work-life integration.

Written by Nasreen Choudhury

Check out a recording of the event below!