by AUGUST KISSEL, Web Editor
As I began the planning process of Wellness Week, I had a certain type of student in mind. The student who is overbooked and burnout. The editors of the paper and magazines, the tutors, the RA’s, those leading LOVE trips, Kairos, those with an internship downtown who have to hike uptown to give a tour in the afternoon. The student who has given so much to this campus and still have a paper to write and an exam to prepare for. These were the students I had in mind. Then, as time went on, I realized that wellness is not just for those who are experiencing burnout, wellness is for everyone. Wellness should not be something we seek when we need reprieve from our stresses, wellness should be the expectation of our day to day experience. We should be making time for it at the start or end of each day.
For example, this semester I am currently experiencing the worst burnout of my life. Out of pure stress and exhaustion I have forgotten to eat, fainted, and still felt guilty for missing class. How ironic is it that during Wellness Week all I wanted to do was to lay down and rest, but yet felt I didn’t have time to. Each day I stressed about the events to come, however I found that each event I went to left me feeling revived enough to handle the next piece of my day. I needed to be take in the Wellness Week advice just as much as everyone else.
Nicol Zambrano’s Advanced Self Care Q&A taught us that it is not our job to control others feelings towards us and in general. The MOD’s event encouraged thoughtful journaling as a form of self care. Our Maggie Rogers listening party created an inviting space to spend time with peers and do homework. The Fitness Center’s Zumba class encouraged positive and upbeat movement, and Christine Loughrin’s yoga class encouraged attendees to stop apologizing for treating your body right and taking up space. Stephanie Powell’s talk touched upon the topics of bodies, reflection, and spirituality and how each of these are interconnected. Conor Reidy’s meditation called upon each of us to take a moment to reflect on our own understanding of our relationship with ourselves, each other, and God. Ireland Twigg’s grARTitude lead us to look into our garden of growth and chart our spiritual journeys. And Rachel Cirelli’s Slice of Social Justice fostered confident energy regarding stepping into our power in the workplace.
Each of these sessions were amazing, the speakers all did a phenomenal job to foster their own expertise and wellness for the student body. I want to say thank you so much to every speaker who shared their time, wisdom, and kindness to this week. I am so grateful for each and every event that took place this week, and the source of renewal they gave everyone who came. I would also like to say thank you to the LWGRC for being so willing to take on this endeavor with me, and to share their space to make safe and healthy spaces for all of us students.
I would also like to say thank you to every student that came to the events. I coined the world outside Wellness Week, as Burnout Week, the week where no one had time to breathe let alone go to events that practice self care. Attendance to the Wellness Week events were low, many peers informed of their endless list of events or projects they needed to be working on instead of coming to Wellness Week events. This raised a new idea, that Wellness Week needs to expand beyond a week long project. While this week was an amazing jump start to conversation of self care and wellness on campus, it demonstrated just how much farther we need to reach. Campus culture needs to be adjusted to place a stronger value on care and wellness. How will this be done? Through practicing what we preach, we encourage our friends to eat but going with them to make sure we don’t forget too, taking the time to have hard discussions, and learning that if we don’t take care of ourselves, the work we produce will never be at the high quality we want it to reach. As this semester and year goes forward, may we remember the lessons we learned from Wellness Week and take them beyond this time and into our day to day experience.