March is here and spring is just around the corner, ready to usher in the many changes of this transitional season. Speaking of changes, there is a big one occurring here in office B-2: the addition of Keenan Bailey as case manager for the Office of Student Services!
Before joining the Student Services team in GSAS, Keenan served as a case manager in the Dean of Students Office at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst working with both undergraduate and graduate students. He has experience in residential life, off-campus housing, student activities, new student orientation, and recreational programming.
Keenan enjoys roller skating, hiking, and being out by the water or on a boat. He loves to cook and put his culinary arts skills to the test; especially when getting to combine different flavors and textures. As much as he enjoys being out and about, Keenan appreciates a rainy day with a good mystery novel or sci-fi movie. A fun fact about Keenan is that he himself is full of fun facts, which he hopes will someday help him win on a game show! He loves to travel and learn about different cultures and experiences and likes to travel.
We are delighted to introduce Keenan to the GSAS community, and even more thrilled to sit down with him and discuss one of our favorite topics—wellness.
We are taught that productivity leads to success and that we all should work to be as successful as possible. However, a key part of achieving that success is learning how to balance the various parts of the lives we lead, which has included wellness a lot more lately.
What excites you most about joining GSAS and Harvard?
What excites me the most is being able to connect with students, collaborate with departmental and campus partners, and learn the overall way that GSAS students experience Harvard.
How do you define wellness?
I believe that wellness is a combination of taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional being. If your body is hungry, you make sure to eat. When you’re stressed out or distracted, you find some stress-relieving activities. If you feel like you are mentally exhausted, you rest and/or seek out mental health resources. It’s important to incorporate forms of wellness in our daily lives as best we can. It doesn’t matter if it’s a five-minute walk during lunch or switching your phone to “Do Not Disturb” after a long day. It’s important to remember that you can implement small measures that can make a world of a difference during your wellness journey.
What is your approach to wellness?
Wellness has become a frontrunner in the conversation around self care and what it means. Now more than ever, I believe that wellness should be incorporated into every part of our lives. You see workplaces and institutions of education along with other areas of our lives honing in on the effects and overall benefits of supporting people on their wellness journey. I approach wellness with an open mind and a willingness to learn about myself and the environment around me. I have to remind myself to be reflective and even tell myself it's ok to incorporate wellness into how I function so that I can be a better version of myself because of it.
What are the most important spokes of the wellness wheel to you?
It’s a tough choice to make but the Relational, Spiritual, and Vocational spokes of the Wellness Wheel are most important to me during this stage of my life. Valuable relationships that provide shared moments and memories contribute to my overall happiness. The Relational spoke challenges me to balance healthy boundaries, create new connections, and further my ability to build with those around me. When considering the Spiritual spoke, I think about my upbringing and my family. I am the oldest of six children and come from a religious background. I believe it keeps me in touch with my roots and helps me keep a clear mind. Lastly, the Vocational spoke feeds into my continual search for knowledge. I consider myself to be a forever learner and reminds me to be open to new experiences, to reflect on those experiences, and to implement what I’ve learned. When I meet with students, I look forward to learning about which spoke is most important to you right now!
Why do you think wellness is so important?
I believe that wellness has such an important place in the world we live in because of the societal focus on productivity. We are taught that productivity leads to success and that we all should work to be as successful as possible. However, a key part of achieving that success is learning how to balance the various parts of the lives we lead, which has included wellness a lot more lately. I think the pandemic has put the need for wellness at the forefront of conversations around self care.
In your ideal world, what steps can a community take together to improve overall wellness?
Simply put, GRACE. Be kind to yourself. Have patience. We as a community can offer grace to ourselves and to others. We never know all of what someone is feeling or dealing with and it’s important to be kind to one another. I believe that in order to move forward to improve wellness it takes reflection, openness, and willingness.
Do you have any favorite wellness-related resources, tools, tips, or tricks?
I have enjoyed some great resources that are right at my fingertips. I spend a lot of time on the go and it’s great being able to log in to apps such as Calm, My Water Balance, and Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Apps like these allow me to take them with me wherever I go and keep up with my wellness journey.
As for a little challenge to myself, I’ve picked spokes of the Wellness Wheel for a specific day and planned out how I can implement a piece of it each day. Over time it became more ingrained into my daily routine.
A Last Word from Danielle
Students interested in booking an appointment with Keenan can continue to use the Student Services booking link. We look forward to supporting you as a team of three! Remember to stop by B-2, to be kind, be well, and take care of yourself and others.