“Take care of your spirit and wellness with follow.” – Susan Puckett
This month, we have the honor of featuring Susan Puckett. Susan is a gem to know! Just read what she shares about her work and family, and you’ll find yourself smiling – and warmed by her joy!
First, in her own words, a bit about Susan:
“I started working at GU in March of 2013 with SCS and the Summer High School Programs as a program coordinator and then as the Assistant Director of Operations. I then moved to my current position as Office Manager for Hoya Kids Learning Center in August of 2014. I truly have the best job on campus!! Working with our wonderful families and being able to interact with their beautiful, brilliant children and our incredible group of teachers on a daily basis is more rewarding than I can even describe. I am also a newly elected member of the Staff/AAP council. I am a very blessed girl!!
My husband, Aaron, who also works for GU at the Law Center, and I live on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. It makes for a very long and often frustrating commute, but seeing the sun rise every morning over the Bay gives us great joy and peace. I was born in DC and grew up in Baltimore so this area is truly home for me. Aaron and I have 3 children; Seamus; 30, Austin; 21 and Matthew; 19 as well as 2 beautiful grandchildren – Coleman who is 3 1/2 and his sister Emily who just turned 1 in August. All of our children and grandchildren live in Georgia so we try to visit the hot South as much as possible! My family is my heart! When not at work Aaron and I love to explore the local area and restaurants, play with our dogs, read, watch movies and attend Quaker Meeting of Washington DC.”
Susan shares what wellness means for her and hopes she has for our GU community:
- What does “wellness” mean to you?
Wellness to me begins of course with good, healthy eating habits and physical activity to support a healthy body. However, as someone who has struggled for years with her weight, I have learned over the years, that wellness and health are more than a number on the scale or the size of your clothes. Wellness is a balance of physical, emotional and spiritual well being; spiritual balance being at the root for me. Everything else flows from that center. My father was a United Methodist minister who chose to send my brother and me to Friends’ School; thus starting a life long love of peace, simplicity and silence. Most people who know me find it hard to believe that I find peace and renewal in silence since I tend to be a bit of a talker, but years spent seeking peace and God in silence are the foundation spiritual wellness for me. God, Family, Work and Personal Interests are all important and all need to be in balance. Also important to any wellness journey is to love and laugh every day! It is some of the best “medicine” in the world. Lastly, it is my believe that service to others rounds out a total sense of wellness. Serving others provides a balance in my life which I believe is just as important as eating the right diet and getting enough exercise. For me, when I have balance in my life I am happy and well and the most important aspect of wellness is true for me…it is well with my soul.
- What wellness opportunities do you participate in at GU and are proud that GU offers?
I have had the privilege of taking part in many of the wellness programs, seminars and wellness conferences offered at GU. My two favorites by far though have been the Creative Spark Book Club and the recent QiGong sessions.
In the Creative Spark Book Club I have found a place to explore creativity, but more importantly I found a group of supportive women with whom to be honest and vulnerable. We lovingly refer to ourselves as the tribe because we all agree that we value true friendship with a few rather than superficial relationships with many. We would rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies! Rachel Bridges is our fearless leader and moderator who blesses us weekly with her humor, kindness, incredible insight and quiet grace. We are all truly blessed by the weekly experience.
The QiGong sessions have been wonderfully relaxing and provide a quiet, restorative practice in the middle of hectic weeks. I spend my lunch hour once a week in QiGong and, even though I have never tried it before, I have found it to be an incredible experience that fits well with my wellness journey. I am looking forward to the Spring sessions! Our instructor, Ann Duvall, is amazing and truly embodies serenity and well being! Again, a true blessing to be able to experience this practice while at work!
- What suggestion would you give to someone who wants to “be well?”
Of course the obvious answer to this question from a physical wellness perspective is to stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. However, I feel like with all the apps and recipe websites and work out information on the net people know where to find information on being healthier from a physical standpoint. My recommendations are more related to inner and spiritual wellness.
I highly recommend journaling every day. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but pick up a journal or a composition notebook or even just a spiral notebook and commit time each day to writing down your thoughts, feelings, frustrations, hopes, dreams…whatever comes to mind. It is a practice I did in my youth and only recently rediscovered it and its benefits during the Creative Spark Book Club.
The other practice I would highly recommend is the keeping of a Blessings Journal. It is always good to focus on the positive things that are happening in our lives. The negative events take so much of our energy it can feel like nothing good ever happens. A Blessings journal (or whatever you want to call it) is a great way to be able to look back on all the lists of wonderful things that happen to us in a year. You can list items as big as a new job, or an engagement or a new baby…or maybe things as small but special as that surprise cup of coffee from a friend or an unexpected light traffic day! It all counts to boosting our positivity and creating a sense of wellness within.
The last thing I recommend is to take inventory of personal relationships and items. We all know the benefits of de-cluttering our personal space. It is a very freeing feeling to take inventory and release those items that take away from our contentment and well being. The same can be said about our relationships. It is a much harder practice than cleaning out our closets but just as beneficial. Too often I have found that my sense of being unwell is tied to my attitude and my environment. When realizing this I have also realized that there are times that I have surrounded myself with negative people and have had to make the hard decision of staying in certain relationships that were bringing me down or risking stepping out and surrounding myself with more positivity. Perhaps it means limiting interaction or setting boundaries or even walking away completely from a person or group. As hard as it is, it has always proven to create a sense of wellness within me. Take care of your spirit and wellness will follow.
- What do you envision the future of wellness to be on campus and in our world?
There are so many wonderful opportunities surrounding wellness being offered at GU that I would say that the future is quite bright and exciting on our campus!! I would love to see our community embrace the many opportunities for learning and experiencing wellness and take it forward into the world. Our world is becoming more mindful and in turn I believe we as individuals will too. That will only benefit our families, our coworkers, our communities and our world as a whole. It is a very exciting time!