A profile from the Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-being. This series reveals how our alumni, current students, faculty and staff incorporate wellness during this time of self-isolation and physical distancing.
Without the structure of the day-to-day routine to rely on, it can be difficult to find a sense of balance. Faculty of Education alumna, Alex Funk (BEd '17), has found her own equilibrium in creating a new routine and scheduling time for herself—self reflection and self care can be invaluable during these times of upheaval. Alex currently teaches Grade 2 at Lakeview Elementary School. She will be returning to the University of Lethbridge this summer for the Teaching, Learning, and Neuroscience MEd program.
What contributes to your personal sense of wellness? Keeping a consistent routine is one of the most important things to keeping me regulated and mentally healthy.
I was diagnosed with anxiety, OCD, and ADHD as an adult, and I have spent a good portion of my life in routines. My biggest triggers are uncertainty and the unknown—COVID-19 was definitely not in my year plan. Which means it threw my self-regulation out the window and put my coping mechanisms in overdrive.
In the unknown, there is one thing I know best, and that is a routine. I have complete control over my daily routine. My day continues to start with a 6:00 A.M. wakeup, journaling, yoga/working out, and (arguably my most important routine), the mindful meditation that comes with brewing a cup of coffee and taking the first sip. Another few amazing bits I've been able to add into my morning routine is getting online with Facebook, Instagram, or podcasting with educators Dr. Jody Carrington, Rachel Hollis, and Shelley Moore.
What benefit do you receive from the development of a consistent routine? Being in control of the first moments of my day keeps me going. I am taking the time to pour into my own cup before I begin my work day. Moving my body, stretching my reflection, and settling into my normal routine keeps my mental health in check. It allows me to regulate before I interact with anyone. It allows me to be centered. Not everyday is a good day, but I can make the first two hours of day focused on what I can control.
What was your teaching day like before the state of self-isolation and physical distancing? I had a particular routine before everything happened, but I don't think it was with the same gratitude or intention. The goal was time for myself before I got up and poured into my Grade 2's. Now that I haven't been able to do my favourite job in the world in the same way, I need to pour into myself in a whole new way.
Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
• The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
• Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
• Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
• Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
• Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
• Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
• Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
• Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness
Writer: Kirsten Livingstone | Photo courtesy of Alex Funk
Click to read more of the Faculty of Education Legacy magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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