Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Thriving in the workplace

[Steve Millan]
Steve Millan, Acting Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources), makes sure that each day there is time for his mental, physical and social well-being. (University Communications) 

In his new role as Acting Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources), Steve Millan is well aware of how important it is to find a work-life balance.

Central to everyone’s well-being, he points out, is being aware of our own mental, physical and social health, as well as that for the others around us, including colleagues, students, and our families.

Making time for himself in his daily schedule, including exercise, has helped Millan over his 20 years at Queen’s University, and with the increasing responsibilities over that time, it has become all the more important. At work, Millan starts off his day by creating a list of things he needs to get accomplished, even if it’s a minor task.  When complete, he crosses each off. He finds that this helps ease some of the stress or anxiety that can build up throughout the day.

He also tries to stay active and get up from his desk when he can.

“When I have meetings I try to meet people in their offices so that I can get away from my desk, walk around and get the blood flowing. I try to go to people rather than just emailing or phoning them,” he says, adding that he also takes the stairs whenever possible. “One of the things that helps me as well is I like to be in buildings where the students are because the students just create this positive energy that I feed off.”

Away from work Millan keeps active.

Along with boating around the Thousand Islands area during the summer and playing hockey during the winter, Millan makes sure he goes to the gym three to four times a week.

“I enjoy physical activity. In my new role I found that I was slipping a bit in terms of my routine and I realized that was not a healthy thing for me so I now make sure that I get my physical activity in,” he says, adding that when he’s playing hockey he’s able to just focus on the game. “Hockey really does help me unwind and there’s also a social component which is equally as important as the physical component and that is really key to my well-being.”

To help the rest of the Queen’s community get into a healthy lifestyle and mindset, Human Resources offers Thrive Week each year, which features a full schedule of wellness activities that help  remind staff, faculty, and students about the importance of self-care and building positive mental health.

The goal of this initiative is to increase education and communication on the topic of positive mental health and what it means to the Queen’s community.

In the short time he’s been in his position, Millan come to realize just how importance an event like Thrive is for a diverse community like Queen’s at all levels – students, staff, and faculty.

“For me Thrive is a reminder that we can’t forget about mental health,” he says. “That’s key and it’s very important for us to think about that as individuals but also to remember about the mental health of colleagues and students. It’s being self-aware but also aware of how it might impact others.”

This year, Thrive Week kicks off on Monday, Nov. 5, and events are being hosted throughout the week including yoga, a colouring workshop and two special guided ‘Haunted Walks,’ that include Queen’s campus.

To learn more about Thrive, and to see the schedule of events visit the Thrive website.