Skip to main content
Photo of David Lindskoog

David Lindskoog

Career Services Advisor

empty
Picture of the medicine wheel
Can you think of a time in recent memory when you had to make inordinate sacrifices in other areas of your life to meet academic demands?

You hear the word wellness tossed around out there a lot these days. There are wellness centres, wellness clinics, wellness coaches, wellness educators, wellness retreats, wellness, wellness, wellness to the point that google yields 548 million search results for the term, and it begins to lose meaning.

Maybe you’re familiar already with something called the “wellness wheel.” It’s also been known to go by the name of the “balance wheel,” and ultimately draws its inspiration from an ancient aboriginal concept called the medicine wheel, a symbol depicting the 4 areas of health corresponding to the four major directions of the compass as they are holistically understood by various aboriginal cultures. Additionally, if you look a little further, you will see similar symbols across many other cultures, such as the Yin Yang in Chinese philosophy or the mandala in Hindu/Buddhist thinking, all of which arguably illustrate the complex and often contradictory relationship between parts that ultimately manifests in a whole larger whole.

So, wellness as a result of a combination of factors, none of which exist in isolation, is by no means a novel idea. Nonetheless, it’s still something worth thinking about, especially in the ultra-fast paced world that makes up most of western society.

The diagram below is pretty common as far as wellness wheels go. Here at SFU, the fine folks over at Health Promotion have created their own wheel (pictured above)that trades the intellectual piece for a financial one, but really it’s whatever makes the most sense to you.

One thing these wheels seem to all have is a career related section. Some label it as career/academic, some use the term occupational, some vocational, etc. For a university student, I think the combination of career and academics makes a lot of sense, particularly because a lot of students these days enter academia simply because they don’t know what else to do (I was one of these students). That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea – on the contrary, post-secondary education is one of the best places to discover what you’re passionate about – but rather a problem within a larger system of education that puts way more emphasis on end results than it does on the (lifetime) learning process.

The whole idea of the wellness wheel is that in order to achieve any semblance of lasting wellness, all of the different aspects should be in relative balance. Whenever one or more of the different areas becomes a disproportionately large focus in your life, there must by natural and logical consequence be a corresponding area of your life that becomes a disproportionately small focus.

Let me ask you this, student readers: Can you think of a time in recent memory when you had to make inordinate sacrifices in other areas of your life to meet academic demands?

A ridiculously rhetorical question, I know. We have to be realistic and expect that at certain times, we’re gonna be way out of balance. But cumulatively, averaged over a long period of time, the goal is to be as balanced as possible. And I would venture to say that most post-secondary students either place way too much or way too little emphasis on the career section of their wellness.

Which begs the question: How do you make your career a part of your overall wellness? How do you know when this aspect of your life is out of balance, and what can you do to even things out? How do you define career wellnes?

In part II, we’ll look at some potential answers.

About the Author

Photo of David Lindskoog

David Lindskoog

Career Services Advisor
David Lindskoog is a career advisor with SFU Career Services, and Dave's Diary is an ongoing series of journal entries touching on various aspects related to careers and well-being.

Want to hear my thoughts on a particular topic?  Sent me an email, and I'll do my best to include it in my next post!
Photo of the author giving a presentation
Creating Value: The Adventures of an IT Co-op Student

As someone who didn’t have a lot of direct experience in a technological setting, providing value to the organization had to come from something much bigger than my direct skill set.

A photo of the author
The 201st Application

It’s been two months and 20 days since my first day of my Co-op term at Westcoast Family Centres, but I still find myself waking up every other day in utter disbelief that things worked out!

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Community Engagement, Professional Development, Personal Development, Life Balance

STC West Coast
Alumnus Profile: How Crystal Kwon Advanced Her Career Through Volunteerism

Students often overlook one important benefit of volunteerism. While students realize that scholarships and bursaries usually require community engagement, they often forget that volunteerism can also give you the edge you need after you finish your degree.

A woman fast asleep
Sleeping for Success at Work!

The days of pulling all nighters and getting by on 2-3 hours sleep are over! Getting enough sleep is essential to ensure you can keep up with the demands of a fulltime work schedule and put forth your best performance.

Life balance
Understanding Balance

When someone on campusasks you “how are you doing?” what do you usually say? More often than not it seems the answer is “busy” because, let’s face it, SFU students ARE busy.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

From left to right a lamp, laptop, and a stack of books are next to each other on desk
Advice on Adulting Your Co-op Term

Working a new 9-to-5 can come with a pretty steep learning curve, especially if you hold on to your university-student habits. In his article, Gryfin tells us his tips for adjusting to his co-op placement (and adulthood). 

Image of Grace sitting down, facing the water at a beach in Australia
Exchange Experience: Discovering Myself Through Travelling

What does it mean to be alone but not lonely? Grace Chang talks about self-discovery, studying abroad and her adventures in Australia.

a couple of friends hugging and laughing
An Extrovert’s Guide to Introverts

Being in quarantine has amplified the differences in actions and effort between extroverts and introverts with regards to social connections. Read Connie Jigs’ article about her top tips on how extroverts can support their introverted friends.