How Andrew Hakin Stays Well at U of L

Andrew Hakin, PhD.

Provost & Vice-President (Academic)

What does Wellness mean to you?

Wellness means trying to keep a balance between my work, my mental health, and my physical health.

What physical activities do you do to stay well?

I’m a runner so I get out 3-4 times a week for 30-45 minute sessions. If I can get more than 25 km in a week I’m happy.

I also block out my lunch hours from my schedule so that I can get to the gym and run on the track or out in the community.

What mental activities do you do to stay well?

I allow myself to come down from the day when I get home and make sure that I have a little time for me, which can be difficult. It’s helpful listening to music and reading books is a big mental activity. I have 3-4 books on the go at once and read for a half hour before bed.

Of course I rely on my family too. I allow them to dominate the agenda when I get home from work.

The most common reason people give for not being active is that they don’t have the time. As a senior leader you have a very busy schedule- how do make the time for wellness activities?

I’ve found it’s essential to have enough discipline to know what’s important. My days are scheduled in 30 or 60 minute blocks and in order to function from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. with that kind of demand you have to give yourself a mental break. Be disciplined enough to let it go for a while and get in your workout and clear your head. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and better able mentally to handle things.

Running is my mental therapy. It’s my time to let my mind wander and think things through.

Do you have some tips for managing workplace stress?

“It’s not a good move to carry other people’s rocks in your back pocket.” We tend to take on other people’s problems but you can’t take it all on. Limit the rocks you allow to weigh you down.

Discipline is another piece. It’s easy to skip a workout in order to work but you need to realize that there will always be more work! You can skip several workout sessions but there will always be more to do, you’ll never finish it all. Given that your work will never go away, accept it and go do something for you. Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed by your workload.