Dr. Suzanne Degges-White is professor and chair of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. She is also a licensed counselor and a recognized expert on interpersonal relationships, transitions, and development over the lifespan. She has authored four books that deal with family relationships and friendships, including Toxic Friendships: Knowing the Rules and Dealing with the Friends who Break Them. She has also edited seven books addressing counseling skills and strategies. She is a member of the Governing Council of the American Counseling Association, editor of Adultspan Journal, an invited blogger for Psychology Today and a frequent guest on Chicagoland television and radio news programs. Suzanne has been interviewed for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC News, Cosmopolitan magazine, Time magazine, Women’s Health, VOX.com, and the Huffington Post, among other venues, on topics related to relationship challenges and ways to successfully manage difficult conversations.
My Goal of the Day: I have a sign in my office that a former student gave me years ago that provides an essential reminder that I carry with me throughout each day. It simply states, “Do ONE thing every day that makes you HAPPY.”
My Thought of the Day: There are always going to be more items on my to-do list than I can probably get done in a day, but it’s essential to make sure that keeping the promises that I’ve made to others stays at the top of the priority list.
My Action of the Day: In addition to being an author and a speaker, I’m also a leader and supervisor. People depend on me to look out for their welfare here at the university. After experiencing less than ideal leaders in the past, I try to find ways to show the people who depend on me that they are “cared about” and “cared for.”
My Deed of the Day: The first task of the day is to get the dogs walked and the dogs and cat fed before even thinking of doing something for myself each morning. These tasks keep me grounded and remind me of how interdependent every living creature is on this big old planet Earth.
My Tip of the Day: Remind yourself that all you can do is your best and if your best isn’t as “perfect” as you’d like it to be, that’s okay. No one can knock it out of the park every single day and if we could, the joy we feel when we seriously “get it right” in life would be missing.
My Pic of the Day:
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
It’s small enough to be familiar, but big enough to offer new opportunities for exploration. In a college town, there are always things to do, even if we are in the located in the back of beyond and in the middle of the cornfields!
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
My favorite breakfast is simply yogurt and fruit and a cup of coffee that has a tablespoon of organic, unsweetened cocoa powder dissolved in it. I don’t need to go to a restaurant to start the day off right!
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Walking the dogs and enjoying the quiet part of the day when nature is beginning to stir, and you are able to see the tail end of the night sky as morning begins creeping in.
10:00 AM – Trying to make sure that I’ve caught up with the morning’s “urgent” tasks, putting out fires that arise, and often meeting with individuals or teams. If I’m lucky, I might be enjoying some quiet time to write!
12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Lunch is almost 100% spent in the office! I spend 30-40 minutes doing yoga prior to enjoying a healthy lunch of protein, veggies, and fruit.
7:00 PM - Spending time relaxing at the dinner table with family or spending time walking or playing with the dogs. My work requires that I be outwardly focused much of each day, but my natural inclination is more introverted, so evenings are “quiet time” for me.
11:00 PM – After reviewing my calendar and making my to-do list for the following day, I’m usually already asleep by about 10:00 pm. So by 11, I’m dreaming the dreams that my brain needs to help it sort out the day or find that elusive solution to a problem that my conscious mind cannot.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I start the day with a cup of coffee with breakfast, then leisurely enjoy a second cup at work. Water gets me through the rest of the day. I’m super sensitive to “caffeine after noon,” so if I don’t finish my 2nd cup before then, though, I’ll dump it and switch to water.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I’m not a big app user, although I do enjoy keeping up with the news on my smartphone and I’m a Words with Friends super fan.
What should everyone try at least once?
Anything that they might have ever said, “Wow, I wish I were brave enough to try that!” about! Whether it is skydiving, rappelling, swimming with the dolphins, unusual or exotic foods, kombucha, Tai Kwon Do, windsurfing, motorcycle riding, reading a great novel, taking an accounting class, whatever.
I believe that each of us has our own path to follow, but when something off the beaten path catches your imagination, you should jump in and give it a try!
I guess the only thing that I think “everyone” should try at least once is living each day in such a way that you do the best you can for as many people as possible with each task you complete or decision you make. This provides a sense of gratitude that can do wonders for your perspective and appreciation for the gifts that you’ve given and received from others.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Wandering through parks, in good books, and in ancient ruins.