Recently, I saw a tweet from Dr. Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, a sociology professor at Brown University, that shared her commitment to student wellness. I was impressed to see such an intentional approach. Now that the fall semester has started with the usual flurry of classes, meetings and activities, I am reminded of the importance of being deliberate about wellness. This is especially critical with all that has taken place nationally and globally over the past few months. Here are three ways to get started with an intentional pursuit of wellness that can have a positive impact on you personally, academically and professionally.
- Find a wellness place. Whether a park, the gym, a bench, café, or a chapel, find a place where you can get to quickly, even for a brief reset during a hectic day. You may even create your own space by dedicating a room (or a corner of a room) in your apartment or dorm for this purpose. There are many options for this that cost little or nothing. For example, I am often refreshed by walking along College Green during lunch when weather permits. I also enjoy contemplating pieces of art, and look forward to participating in the upcoming Mindfulness in the Museum events on campus.
- Identify your wellness partners. Who in your life cares the most about your wellness and is willing to check in and hold you accountable for maintaining it? What other resources on or near campus can be a part of your support system? Check out Penn’s resources at Wellness at Penn, which outlines various dimensions of wellness, and Penn Wellness, which is geared specifically to students. Feel free to reach out to Career Services as a wellness partner in your career planning by making an appointment with a career advisor.
- Establish a wellness practice. Given that my schedule is getting fuller as I type, I’ve had to recommit to this myself. I currently connect with my faith community once or twice a week and attend a day-long retreat on a quarterly basis. However, I realize that I need to develop a more intentional daily practice, so I have chosen to write my thoughts in a spiral notebook during my commute to work. Nothing elaborate is needed here. In fact, the simpler the better. Begin with one commitment that gives you joy and energy and build upon that.