This is how my day started…wait, no, rewind…this is how last night started. Checked the weather for Monday. Yes! No rain in sight, which has been plentiful so far this season. Load my bike into the car so I could commute to work in the morning on the bike trail that runs from my hometown straight past our office. Between the weather and various life demands, I try to take advantage of any opening I get to ride to and from work. Now back to how my day started. Daughter wakes up with day #2 of a swollen-shut eye from a bug bite over the weekend. Call the pediatrician, unload the bike from the car so I can load this adorable little me-time killer into the car, and shuttle her to her appointment. Little did I know that today’s unanticipated and mildly frustrating schedule hiccup would be the source of inspiration for a blog post I promised a staff member on the topic of occupational wellness.

PRA is not far from the doctor’s office so I brought this bug-eaten little bugger to work with me until her late-morning appointment. She quietly sat in on a previously scheduled meeting with our Communications Team. I said, “If you have to sit in on one meeting today, this is the best one,” knowing that for an almost nine-year-old a meeting where you get to review anything related to videos/graphics/websites would be interesting. After a few more quick work-related responsibilities and an apple from the community fruit bowl on PRA’s kitchen table, we were off to her appointment. As I could have guessed, she received the all-clear from the nurse practitioner and was able to head off to her first day of summer camp.

When I got back in my car, an internal debate began in my head—go home and start all over again with my biking commute or just hurry up and get back to work? Back and forth I went until I got to the point in my drive where I needed to make a decision. I spontaneously decided to exit the roundabout, head home, and carry on with my original plan to ride to work. The middle of my day was free of meetings and if I needed to stay late, or use some of my earned time off because riding my bike would take more time, then so be it. The solitude of the bike path, the exercise, the sunshine—they all make for a happier me, a more well me, and that makes my work life and my home life (my second occupation) a whole lot better than they are already.

At PRA, we issue an annual survey to take the temperature of staff—how they are feeling in terms of workload and overall satisfaction with their PRA experience. One of the questions asks the staff how we are doing in terms of work-life balance. There was one response last year that caught my attention. It was, “We are afforded the ability to have work-life balance; it’s just a matter of whether or not you take advantage of it.” When I first read this, I thought yes, this is so very true, and I wished that more people shared this philosophy. It’s so easy to say “I’m too busy” or “I can’t,” but is that really and always true? Today I put myself first. I put my wellness first, and I was a better supervisor, co-worker, and mother for it. Thanks, PRA!