President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.
Dear Dal Community,
I hope you have all settled into the new year and found routine again after the winter break. While 2021 continues to bring renewed optimism, for now the necessity to remain in the world of virtual work and learning continues. Many of us typically use January as a time to dig into resolutions for the year ahead, but this is hardly a typical year. As I look ahead, the health and wellness of the Dal community is top of mind.
On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to join some of Dalhousie’s talented researchers for an episode of our Open Dialogue Live series: Healthy at Home. Experts from our Faculty of Health discussed the emerging impacts of COVID-19 and provided insights into how viewers could support their families during this time. You can watch the episode here.
We are still in this environment for some time to come — so we must make every effort to maintain our physical and mental health. The move to online work reminds me of when email was first introduced. With the advent of email, I remember feeling an increased expectation to respond more quickly than I would have to letters or memos in the past. Similarly, I think virtual work has created a pressure to squeeze in more back-to-back meetings and to work longer hours, which can compromise efficiency. And while I am making every effort to be conscious of this in my own life, it remains an uphill battle.
The stark increase in screen time, for me, has resulted in a different kind of exhaustion at the end of the day — one that sometimes manifests in eyestrain and trouble sleeping. To combat this, I have tried to commit to a home exercise routine, a brief midday meditation and, when possible, getting away from the screen an hour or so before going to bed.
While most of us at Dalhousie are very grateful that we have been able to continue our work and learning, it has not been without its challenges — and I know mine are small compared to many at Dalhousie, in our community and around the world. My wish for our students, faculty and staff this year is that all of you find the time and space to prioritize your well-being as much as possible in these circumstances. To that end, I want to take this opportunity to promote Dalhousie Wellness Day [myDal link] organized by Human Resources and coming up on February 4. I encourage faculty and staff to take time to attend any sessions of interest to them, should their schedules allow it.
While there are many in our university community who work tirelessly to promote health and wellness across our campuses in a variety of different ways, this week I want to specifically recognize our colleagues in Human Resources and Student Affairs, who do this as part of their day-to-day mandate. Thank you for everything you do to help us take care of ourselves, and in turn, enable the continued success of the institution.
President Saini can be reached at email@example.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.