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Fellows Spotlight
Fellows on Self-Care and Well-Being
August 25, 2021
Composite photo of Ben Ancheta, Lisa Hadway Spain, Alex Harris, Brian Kealoha, Keoni Lee, Kawika McKeague

(L to R): Ben Ancheta, Lisa Hadway Spain, Alex Harris, Brian Kealoha, Keoni Lee, Kawika McKeague

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as of 2019, one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year.

There is no doubt the pandemic has had a significant impact on the state of people’s mental health. With rising awareness about mental illness, self-care and well-being are also becoming an important topic in the workplace.

We asked our Fellows to share ways they support self-care within their teams and for themselves. Here’s what they had to say:

Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Click on a name to go directly to their responses:
Ben AnchetaLisa Hadway SpainAlex HarrisBrian KealohaKeoni LeeKawika McKeague


Ben Ancheta, Cohort II

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

Bi-weekly one-on-ones focused on the person, not the work.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

7+ hours of sleep and morning exercise.


Lisa Hadway Spain, Cohort III

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

Our team has really worked hard to pivot our operations during COVID. Encouraging employees to take time off for themselves has been a priority.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

From the death of a family member, through a divorce, and now COVID, mindful running has been my go-to self-care practice. These aren't runs on a "dreadmill”—these are runs where time doesn't matter, and you are fully present in awe of nature around you.


Alex Harris, Cohort III

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

We changed our employee manual to place a premium on getting work done whenever and however employees choose, rather than a specific number of hours worked in an office setting. In essence, we now have a trust-based office policy.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

I resolved to wake up 30 minutes early on weekdays to walk, run, swim, stretch, or meditate every day. It has made a tremendous difference to my mental health. I am also eating fully plant-based now and have mostly cut alcohol out of my routine (except for an occasional drink with friends on the weekend). Finally, I try to work a half-day in the office and a half-day from home, which offers a nice change of pace.


Brian Kealoha, Cohort III

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

Provide the time to do it, complimentary memberships to Headspace, employee-led meditation sessions, information sharing on self-care, and flexibility of work hours.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

Exercise.


Keoni Lee, Cohort V

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

We do not punch clocks or earn vacation time. Everyone is allowed to manage their schedule as they need to [and] customize to support their various demands. We have weekly, monthly, and quarterly gatherings along with other communications and management processes to increase transparency and accountability to the work. We do not subscribe to the time-for-money compensation paradigm and work together to solve for the collective’s needs. It’s harder to manage in ways, but I have found that in giving employees the freedom to curate their lives and schedules to attend to their non-work needs, like family and self-care, that they are more productive and committed to the work.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

"Mondays are for ME." I no longer set any meetings or commitments with other people on Mondays. Between work and family demands, the other 6 days are committed to others, but Monday is for me. This gives me the freedom to use one day a week for whatever I need to do—work, stuff around the house, or a mental health day (aka fishing). I've been pretty good about holding it; sometimes emergencies come up, but for the most part I have been able to make this stick.


Kawika McKeague, Cohort VII

How do you support and foster self-care within your staff, team, or employees?

Group talks: encourage folks to take a break after a major milestone or deadline and make sure we find time to pause to celebrate the small but significant moments in our lives. We provide end-of-year financial merit and actually have also been able to support one-night staycations for the entire office. Provide short quotes and sayings. Connect with each individual to assess what they can be doing for themselves to find balance.

What is one of your self-care practices that supports your own well-being?

Pause to play kī hōʻalu (slack key guitar) every day—my form of meditation.