Success Story: Stacey Burns
Stacey Burns, Programs and Operations Manager at the University Libraries, finds value in practice, not perfection. Starting at a young age, she observed the strengths and challenges of family members and friends. Taking this into her adult life, Stacey says, “I have a strong awareness of my mind/body connection and a long-held belief in holistic health that help keep me in check.” In particular, both her mother, Diane, and late grandmother, Pauline, demonstrated the practice of life-long learning to navigate sociocultural challenges and develop self-awareness.
With this, Stacey practices being introspective, and getting involved with programs and activities that help herself and others do so. At GVSU, she has enjoyed coming together with different people and departments to encourage the use of mindfulness to students, faculty, and staff. She has done this through putting on exhibition programming at the Art Gallery, where she spent the last six years, and is looking forward to continuing this with the University Libraries.
In addition to on-campus programming and collaboration, Stacey enjoys going to yoga classes when she can, but says the most important thing she’s done is “practicing to break things down into smaller increments.” Taking a minute to breathe or being intentional with her walking routes on campus has helped Stacey to slow down and check-in with herself throughout the day. In terms of exercise, she believes it’s important to set more manageable goals. She says, “I was always a runner and very active. With the demands of life, work, and school, it’s harder to find time.” Stress is also a factor. In the past few years, Stacey has experienced multiple major life stressors and traumas that impact her time and energy. Because of this, taking quick walking breaks is something that can be beneficial.
Nearly a year ago, Stacey also began working with a Priority Health wellness coach
, and says her coach helps to keep her “accountable for recognizing and also celebrating small accomplishments.” These actions and changes are often gradual and subtle, but all of them combined have impacted Stacey in both physical and mental ways, as she now experiences less physical tension. To stay on track with her goals, Stacey’s wellness coach has encouraged her to use a calendar and schedule in time for herself, even if it is 10 minutes for a walk.
Reflecting back on both what she’s learned and her accomplishments thus far helps motivate Stacey to keep moving forward. When working through self-improvement, she thinks it’s important to be in-tune with yourself and recognize what you need to reach your human potential, which she says tools from GVSU’s Employee Assistance Program such as Encompass
, professional development paired with a regiment of self-study utilizing personality tests, and self-help books can help to uncover.
For faculty and staff that may be looking to adjust their lifestyle or become more mindful in their day-to-day lives, Stacey says, "Start small. You don’t have to start with any classes or programs, but take a minute to breathe, identify your thoughts, and clear your mind. Every little step is a step in the right direction".