Finding Healthy Living at Job One by Anne-Marie Hantman

 

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Anne-Marie Hantman serves as the Residence Life Coordinator for the Honors Residence Hall at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Hailing from Kent Island, Maryland, Anne-Marie attended Hood College for her undergrad where she majored in Student Life, the Field Hockey team, and oh yeah- Law and Society. After completing her Master’s at the University of Bloomsburg in Pennsylvania, Anne-Marie found herself working in Gamecock Nation where she currently is completing year one with University Housing. When not hanging out with her amazing students, Anne-Marie loves being by the water, experimenting in the kitchen, getting her ‘Namaste’ on at local studios, convincing herself she likes to run, and curling up with her lovable rescue, Natty.

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Whether you are moving across the country or just buildings on the same campus- it is a stressful time without a doubt. As Student Affairs professionals, we constantly preach the importance of finding balance when in transition. Now it is time to start practicing what we preach. If there is one thing I learned from my own transition into Job One, it is that new environments can hold a variety of new opportunities. For me this includes living in a vibrant downtown area, being introduced to some of the best dang BBQ I have ever had, and weekly traditions such as trivia with my new colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, BBQ and me will always be tight, however I didn’t want my jeans to get tight as well. As I adjusted to my new environment, I realized how many great opportunities there were in my city to help me create a healthy balance in my life for when the stress of Job One became too much. Below I have included tips that worked for me as well as suggestions on how to create your own action plan.

FIT TIP #1- Do some healthy research

Before you move, try Googling your new location. Even smaller towns will surprise you in what they have to offer. Check out different athletic/fitness classes. See what types of outdoor recreation are advertised. Perhaps they have some awesome themed runs or maybe some popular farmers markets and trending organic restaurants.

What I have found most useful in my area is contacting local fitness centers and seeing what types of offers they provide for first time members. One yoga studio in my city allows few members to take their first class free, including their swing/aerial yoga which is something I had been dying to try!

Doing your research beforehand will provide you with a heads up on what to expect as well as something to look forward to!

FIT TIP # 2- Try something new

When entering a new environment, it is important to find familiar comforts for stability but also to explore some new interests. This may be trying a new fresh cuisine available in your city. One thing I found at a local farmers market was a juice bar. This place was a jackpot. Never before would I have considered a juice to be so tempting, but after doing my research that included falling in love with a blogger who spoke highly of incorporating juices in your diet, I was excited to try this and instantly fell in love.

Also, now that you have a new group of co-workers, you may find new buddies to explore new things with you. Again, check for new member discounts at locations or try something outside. Near the water? Try paddle boarding. Near the mountains? Find a fun hiking trail. Feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere? Go get lost and see what you can find. This is not only a great way to get healthy but also will strengthen your relationships with your new colleagues.

FIT TIP # 3- Start a routine

Most new professionals will start in their role during the summer, which tends to work at a different tempo then the academic year at most colleges/universities (depending on your role, of course). Use the summer time for trial-and-error that way when August hits and the students come, you will have a plethora of options at your disposal to see what works for your schedule. Just be sure that you find something to commit to in those early weeks. This may be a fitness routine, a nutrition routine, or simply having an alarm at your desk to remind you to stretch and drink water.

Burn out is far too common in our field, and the best way to prevent it is to be proactive. Schedule your morning runs on your work calendar. Pre-schedule your fitness class in advance so you feel committed. Speak with your boss to determine your office’s policy on wellness/personal care but remember- you are your biggest advocate. You know what you need in order to feel successful and unfortunately at the end of the day, if you’re mentally fried then you probably won’t be able to help your students and colleagues as effectively.

FIT TIP #4- Know your resources

Wellness is a hot topic across campuses nationwide. Campuses are doing their best to provide students with beautiful recreational centers; counselors for health, exercise, and nutrition; scenic outdoor walking paths; healthy programs; and opportunities to get active. Be sure to check out what your campus is offering because chances are they have options for faculty/staff as well! Keep an eye out for weight loss groups, free running races, online interactions, and other options available to you (usually with a decent price tag!).

If your campus is missing something you think would be beneficial, reach out! In your next division meeting, see if there is an interest for whatever it is you are looking for! Chances are there is an expert on your campus who would be happy help you and other participants get involved (and the networking is always a plus).

In the end, know you are the author to your own fitness journey. Whether you are entering Job One, happily committed with your current employment, or looking for the next opportunity- know it is never too late to do some research, find some friends, and set your own goals to live a happier and healthier life!

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