How Chris Horbachewski Stays Well at U of L

Chris Horbachewski

Vice President (Advancement)

What does Wellness mean to you?

I associate wellness with striking a balance in my life. Balance between my personal/home life, having the energy levels to be effective at work and home, and being able to cope with stress. I find that when I start to feel too stressed out I’ll get a sore back or be more tired. Wellness is striking the balance to let you live the life you want to live.

What physical activities do you do to stay well?

I’ve got three young boys, 10, 9, and 6, so just keeping up with them is more than enough physical activity. Besides that I try and exercise three times a week. My day to day activity and life is very active.

What mental activities do you do to stay well?

I regard mental wellness as an escape from what I do every day. It’s finding the time to sit down and read what I want to read that’s not related to my profession. My summer “Pulp Fiction” reads are what I use as an escape. It can be like watching a sitcom, it’s somewhat mindless and allows you to escape.

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?

At times I schedule it so that it’s an appointment in my calendar that I have to do. Another thing that I find works for me is if I work with a trainer. It forces some accountability because you have to contact that person if you aren’t going to meet them at the gym that day. I was notorious for putting my workouts off because I felt too busy but I found that having a trainer kept me more focused and more motivated. Unless it’s scheduled your calendar will be filled with someone else.

Do you have some tips for managing workplace stress?

Exercise. Physical activity and being able to get out of your office and clear your head really helps manage stress. You‘ll sleep better, you won’t feel sluggish or have the 3 p.m. crash; I can’t say enough about the importance of physical activity. That’s one of the reasons I had to exercise more because it allows me to cope with stress.

I once heard a great piece advice from fellow faculty member Jennifer Copeland; “you can’t let the sun go down unless you’ve had 30 minutes of physical activity.” That really hit home for me because so often you go through your entire day and you’ll go to bed and realize you hadn’t done any physical activity. That was an important piece of advice that I’ve taken to heart.

Anything else you would like to share?

The biggest piece of wellness is balance. Many people at the University have young families and many obligations and we’ve allowed our careers to become vocations where we are on and available 24/7. Being able to strike the balance to make your contributions to the University, your coworkers and colleagues while not forgetting that you have obligations to your spouse, family, friends, and community. You need to find the balance and not sacrifice one side for the other. It’s a commitment that our President, Mike Mahon, has made and it’s something that I’ve seen encouraged repeatedly during my time at the University.

You have to maintain your physical and mental health because if either of them fail you’re in trouble.