Balancing the Grind With Jane Burns, Mental Health and Wellbeing Consultant

Jane Burns is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovator at Bupa, lecturer at the University of Wollongong and Chair of the Centre for Mental Health Research at Swinburne University.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My background is in suicide prevention, mental health and wellbeing. I chair Open Arms, the Veterans and Families Counselling Service and STREAT, a social enterprise supporting young people at risk of homelessness. I am a Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovator at Bupa, and Professor of Social Innovation, and Chair of the Centre for Mental Health Research at Swinburne University.

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Last week I was in Sydney and had dinner with an incredible entrepreneur who is a specialist in AI and systems thinking – and very passionate about mental health and disability.

I had the morning at Bupa working with the team on wellbeing at work, spent some time at Google and then headed to Canberra for a meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the CEO of the National Mental Health Commission. I also had a chat with the Open Arms team about our community consultation which is also focused on wellbeing.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

My work is entirely flexible – and the teams I work with are National (and sometimes International). I have three children, and my eldest lives with down syndrome, Autism and is non-verbal so being flexible and working remotely is pretty important.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I run – a lot – and use that as my thinking and strategy time. I prefer to speak to people, rather than email – and I love socialising. My kids keep me balanced – music and dancing, sport and movies.

5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I Love life and I just enjoy spending time with really interesting people. I like joining the dots and connecting people who are passionate – and who really do want to work together to achieve something big.

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

It’s more of a philosophy – surround yourself with good people, be generous and kind, laugh more and be curious and open to new experiences

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

Peter Fritz, from Global Access Partners, gave me a few of his books. They are smart, direct and practical – and cover a variety of topics. I also read The System by Haynes Johnson, and it completely changed the way I thought about people and what makes them tick.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

Hug, laugh and smile.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.