May 20, 2021 - Join us May 28 for Focus Friday as a day of self-care, reflection and wellness

Dear Colleagues,

This past weekend, we celebrated our newest 1,800 UMSL graduates! Their success is our success, and it reflects the monumental efforts each of you have led to ensure that education continues, progress is made, degrees are earned and lives are transformed forever.

I shared last week that we are advancing each and every day as vaccines are now readily available, and our region continues to modify and lower restrictions based on CDC guidance. Truly, the finish line is in sight. However, the many changes, challenges and hardships to our daily lives have naturally influenced our own emotional, mental and physical health and well-being. As I’ve said before, we must remember to be kind and give grace to ourselves and others as we navigate this time.

In that spirit, we are designating May 28 as Focus Friday – a day for us to focus on self-care, reflection and wellness. Though our work responsibilities will continue that day, the goal of Focus Friday is for us all to make adjustments, no matter how small, to support the health and well-being of each one of us.

Just a few simple changes to our day can give us all a brief, but meaningful break from the day-to-day:

  • Modify assignments or instruction/class plans to give our summer students a day to focus on studies or personal needs.
  • Supervisors can reschedule plans to provide a day free of Zoom/Teams meetings and conference calls for their staff.
  • Take a walk, visit the Rec Center or join a virtual fitness class to stay active.
  • Limit email activity to avoid inbox-overload for others.
  • Visit the Virtual Relaxation Room or engage in a guided mindfulness practice.
  • Reach out to connect with friends, family members or neighbors.
  • Send a note of gratitude to those who have helped you during this time, or find an opportunity to volunteer for others.
  • Perform an act of kindness.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – a time to shine a spotlight on the healing value of connecting with others, prioritizing mental health and receiving the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives. Please do close out this month by using Focus Friday as an opportunity and reminder to focus on taking good care of our own health and wellness and that of our entire Triton community. I do hope that you will take part in Focus Friday.

Stay safe, stay connected and be well.

Kristin Sobolik

Chancellor
University of Missouri–St. Louis