We are all here to grow as scientists, leaders, and people by pursuing ambitious research goals. However, that should never come at the cost of your well-being. Your mental and physical health is by far the most important consideration in all that you do while in our lab. Moreover, success should not come at the cost of maintaining your interests/hobbies or healthy relationships in your life. In fact, you are more likely to be successful if you take care of yourself and give time to the things outside of work that matter to you. Below are some general guidelines on well-being, but every situation is unique, and Bo is always open to discussion on this topic, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Mental and physical health concerns. If you are not feeling well, either physically or mentally, take the time off you need to seek out help and take care of yourself.  If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and wondering: “Is it okay to go see a doctor instead of setting up that PCR?” the answer is “Absolutely! Get the help that you need.” If you have an acute situation that requires help, take the day (or a few days) off with no questions asked. If you are going to be out for more than 3 days or miss a group meeting, just give Bo a heads up so that he knows you are okay – no need to give details if you don’t want to, it is sufficient to email and say that you have a “personal health emergency.” If you need to take more substantial amounts of time off, you can work with Bo to facilitate this. Being an undergraduate, grad student, or postdoc is stressful. We all care about you and are here to support you – just let us know how we can help.

Personal emergencies. If you are a member of our group for multiple years, the chances that a life situation (or multiple life situations) will arise are high. In these situations, the top priority is taking care of yourself and dealing with the situation.  If possible, communicate with Bo to let him know that you are dealing with something and approximately how much time you will need off.  You can share as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with. These situations are inherently stressful, so also make sure you are taking care of yourself and getting help if needed.

Work-life integration. Being ambitious and working hard is part of our lab culture, but it should come from a perspective of driving yourself out of the fun of pushing your limits and exploring what you are capable of. The key is to know your limits. Similar to playing sports, you advance by pushing out of your comfort zone, but if you push too hard you end up injured and stuck on the sidelines. Managing your motivation and work habits while integrating interests and commitments outside of work is a key self-leadership skill that will serve you well throughout your career, and now is a great time to build that skill. You can get useful tips and advice on this from Bo, labmates, and other resources (books, podcasts, etc.).