Wellness Tips

Focusing on Health & Wellness with the WILA PPN – The Field

by Lara Moffat, ASLA, with contributions from Subhashini Gamagedara, ASLA, Kristina Snyder, ASLA, Elizabeth Van Sickel, ASLA, and Delaney Zubrick, Associate ASLA

ASLA 2021 Professional Residential Design Award of Excellence. The Sky Garden at 70 Rainey. Austin, Texas. Design Workshop, Inc. / image: Brandon Huttenlocher/Design Workshop, Inc.

The WILA PPN is focusing on the theme of health and wellness for 2023, in all its forms—from finding balance to working on financial wellness and maintaining mental wellness within the busyness of professional life. Below, WILA PPN leaders share resources and what they’ve been reading related to this theme. We hope these links are helpful to you—stay well this summer!

Health & Wellness Tips

Create and craft a smile file. What is a smile file? It is a file, created on your phone or computer (or both), where you place kudos, shout outs, and things that spark joy! Had a rough moment, feeling a bit of imposter syndrome, or lacking motivation? Then open this file to turn your day around. One of the easiest things to do for your immediate well-being!

Take five, and learn about the “Three M’s for Well-Being” with meditation expert Emily Fletcher—#Mindfulness, #Manifestation, and #Meditation will help you live a well-rounded, balanced life and channel your creative prowess. After you’ve relaxed your mind, don’t’ forget to stretch! Here are nine guided exercises to lead through a Desk Stretching Circuit. Try to do these a few times a day to refresh and recharge!

Have a bit longer to focus? How about picking up a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown. It is a resource to help maintain mental health and wellness amidst work and life.

Health Equity

Health equity means increasing opportunities for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who we are, where we live, or how much money we make. Key principles of health equity can be categorized as the three 3 Ps: People, Place, and Partnerships—all tantamount to connections.

Studies have shown that three out of five working Americans are lonely. Can Design Heal Loneliness? HKS VP Erin Peavey’s talk at TEDxDeepEllum shares design strategies to heal loneliness and foster connection. The associated report is a much-needed resource on how to design for social health and empowers everybody with the tools to create better spaces.

What are other ways to connect and deepen our connections with our allied design colleagues? Atlanta Women in Architecture & Design (AWARD) holds monthly Saturday morning coffee gatherings—children are welcome! How are you holding space for work life integration? Could this be a template for your area/region? And how can you make this equitable to all?

With the prevalence of food deserts and food insecurity, the idea of a mobile grocery store alleviates some of the struggle to get access to fresh produce. Fresh Moves Mobile Market in Chicago is one model; however, there are multiple organizations applying this same concept in various states across the country. Do you have one to share? What we like about this one is that it engages the local community to learn to grow vegetables and other produce. Check out this video to see the mobile market in action.

Flexible Working

For those who can work remotely or in a hybrid capacity, below are two articles that might be of interest. Also if you are at a firm that is doing so, what are some best practices? If you have some ideas to share, please let us know!

With remote/hybrid work being embraced in every sector, how can you evaluate if it’s “working”? This Forbes post offers Five Prerequisites For High-Performance Hybrid Work—How Do You Measure Up?

What’s up next for WILA?

We are working on a virtual panel with a select group of our industry leaders focused on flexibility beyond flex time and flex space in landscape architecture practices and its correlation to creating space for and boosting creativity, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Stay tuned for the date in September!

At the ASLA Conference for Landscape Architecture, WILA will have two events: a PPN campfire session which will continue the conversation from the September event, and the annual Women in Landscape Architecture Walk, which is being planned by the host chapter, led by Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard, ASLA, and Sandy Meulners-Comstock, ASLA.

The 2022 Women in Landscape Architecture Walk in San Francisco / image: ASLA/Korey Davis Photography

Additionally we are planning on having a financial wellness presentation in November. We are solidifying details and will be in touch with all updates as available.

Do you have something to share to add to our Health and Wellness theme? Please feel free to email us or post your suggestion on our Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

About ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture Professional Practice Network (WILA PPN)

Not sure if you’re a member? You can check by logging in to the ASLA website and seeing what’s listed for your PPN(s), located under the Activities / Orders tab. If you are not currently in any PPN, or would like to switch PPNs, you may do so by completing this form.

If you are new to the WILA PPN, we encourage you to explore our webpage, join our Facebook and / or LinkedIn groups, and read through our most recent posts for The Field. A reminder for any writers or aspiring thought leaders out there: all ASLA members are welcome to write for The Field—submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.

If you would like to be more involved with the WILA PPN on an ongoing basis, any member of the PPN may volunteer to join the PPN’s leadership team. The commitment would be a monthly Zoom meeting with like-minded professionals and volunteering to support one of the PPN’s resources. Learn more and sign up to be a PPN leader.

Lara Moffat, ASLA, is ASLA’s Women in Landscape Architecture (WILA) PPN Co-Chair/Chair for 2020-2023 and a past president of ASLA’s Texas Chapter.

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