Tips for Directors on How to Unplug

The position of a campus rec director can often feel like more than a full-time job. With the responsibilities of staff members, patrons and students, the facility and personal wellness – to name a few – it can be difficult to attain a necessary work/life balance.

As a director, one of the best things you can do to aid in the success of your department is to take time for yourself and “unplug.” Below, you will find advice from three campus rec directors and how they take time for themselves to unplug.

 

Dale Ramsay, the director of campus recreation at the University of Louisville

“No. 1, I try to take two vacations in the summer,” said Ramsay. “I grew up in New England, so I go to a bunch of different lakes all throughout and I turn my phone off. Everyone knows I will check it at the end of the day. As a director, we’re always getting a lot of information so that’s one thing – to get away. It really reenergizes me in the summer.”

“During the regular school year, I think as directors we all have 100-plus hour week operations with the hours of the rec center, so we’re a seven-days a week operation and we kind of have to stay plugged in,” he elaborated. “But one of the things I do is work out every morning. Another thing is I like to read, so a lot of times at night and on the weekends, I read and that takes my brain away from work and everything.”

Jill Beville, the director of recreation and wellness at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro

  • Put down the phone and technology. My family has done “tech-free Tuesday” in the evenings and we stay off of phones, computers and television. It usually turns into a game night, listening to music or time outside.
  • Taking a walk or getting up from the desk during the day.
  • Avoid eating lunch at your desk and working through lunch every day.
  • Setting expectations with staff about timing of emails and responding. I try not to email staff over the weekend, but if I do I usually will let them know if it can wait until Monday.
  • Read a book for pleasure.
  • Role model self-care and take time for you.
  • Reframe work-life balance to life-work balance.
  • Focus on your own wellness journey – drinking water, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, getting outside, connecting with friends and family, and practice mindfulness.

Demond Pryor, the director of recreational services at the University of Toledo

“For me, the most important things I do to unplug is to be with family and friends,” said Pryor. “I truly enjoy my personal time and like to get away from the daily functions of the position when I can. Being around those who are in my family and groups of friends have helped me to maintain a level of balance in my life.”

“I also enjoy watching and attending sporting events and traveling,” he elaborated. “For me, getting away from the job is important, as it helps me to mentally and physically refresh myself, allowing for better focus and direction when I am at work.”

 

Overall, as a director, you want to represent what your department stands for. It’s necessary to take care of yourself, in order to take care of others. “The message is we’re about teaching our students how to take care of themselves. We have to practice what we preach. We need to listen to our own advice,” said Ramsay.

Brittany Howard
Brittany is a staff writer at Peake Media. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com

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