On being well

Published January 01 2019

Teddy BearGet well soon.

We say that when someone is sick. It’s a reflex, like saying “bless you” when you hear a sneeze. It’s the sentiment emblazoned on cards, balloons and teddy bears in hospital gift shops.

But wellness is more than the absence of disease. And we know this, right? Even beyond the multi-billion dollar wellness industry with all its potions and pampering, most of us know what it is to feel unwell without being diagnosed as ill.

Yet we’re ambivalent about working at wellness — at taking steps to make ourselves (and others) feel our best. That’s especially true of people who take their careers very seriously, like (cough) scientists. Who has time for yoga and counseling when you have experiments to monitor, papers to write and breakthrough discoveries to make?

This month, we want to remind you that you can’t do any of those things well if you are not well. And beyond that, if you only get one shot at this mortal coil, you might as well feel your best — physically, spiritually and mentally. Maybe you can’t cure your own cancer, but for sure you should be able to eke out eight hours of sleep and the occasional moment of serenity.

And because we don’t live on private islands, we should look to the wellness of others, whether it’s making sure undergrads get enough to eat or helping postdocs recognize their personal strengths.

Wellness is a big-tent topic. In this issue, we offer essays and articles on everything from rock climbing to holistic mentorship. Some, like Paul Craig’s account of surviving failure, are deeply personal. Others, like Nathan Vanderford and Teresa Evan’s essay on leadership, offer step-by-step guidance and practical tools. And because we are science geeks at heart, we include an article on the genetic cause of pain after trauma.

Have we covered all the bases? Absolutely not. But if you find this issue useful, thought-provoking or even inspiring, let us know. I had such a great time working with all these authors and their wonderful words, I’d be happy to do this again in January 2020.

Be well, and have a very happy new year.

Comfort Dorn Comfort Dorn is the managing editor of ASBMB Today. Follow her on Twitter.