Students gear up for National Wellness Week

The week’s programing includes therapy dogs, free massages and debunking myths about mental health.

Students attend a Wellness Week stress management workshop at the Student Center on Monday. | SEAN GIMPEL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Self-care means something different to everyone, but for senior communication studies major Dani Najjar it means green smoothies, shopping at T.J. Maxx and face masks.

“Every Sunday and Wednesday I do my beloved spa day,” Najjar said. “It comforts me because my mom and I would do that a lot, and we always found something to giggle at.”

In senior financial planning major Shania McNeil’s case, self-care looks more like pilates, self-affirmation and meditation.

“As a college student, I have been overwhelmed by all the obligations that come along with classes, and the organizations that I am a part of,” McNeil. “It is so easy to put myself and my needs last to the point where I would have legit mental breakdowns.”

Students like McNeil and Najjar are the reason the Wellness Resource Center and Temple Student Government are teaming up to bring students the tools to take care of themselves during National Wellness Week, which started on Sunday and runs through Saturday.

Janie Egan, the WRC’s mental well-being program coordinator and a 2017 Master of Public Health alumna, said the goal of the Wellness Week programming is to take a comprehensive approach to promoting health among students.

“[We’re] talking about and raising awareness for the realities of suicide and how to support others, [but also] sharing ways that students can take care of themselves and others in everyday life,” Egan said.

Najjar knows first-hand that being a college student can be stressful.

“Finding the right niche, creating life goals and making important life decisions can riddle me with anxiety and doubt for days,” she said. “Self-care comes in at those times and remembering to even take time for myself is healing.”

Trent Reardon, TSG’s vice president of services, said he’s looking forward to partnering with the WRC this week.  

“I’m big on giving people the resources they need and debunking the [mental health] stigma,” said Reardon, who is also one of WRC’s Health Education Awareness Resource Team (HEART) peer educators.

Students volunteer to be nationally certified peer educators who promote well-being and community on campus after taking a three-credit course at the WRC. As part of this role, Reardon helps facilitate on-campus workshops like Alcohol 101, which promotes safe drinking habits.

“People just don’t take care of themselves and they might just not know how,” Reardon said. “Self-care isn’t selfish.”

Wellness Week will begin Monday with an “Owl About Stress,” session by the WRC’s peer educators. The workshop, held in the Student Center Room 220 at 3:00 p.m., will teach students coping skills for everyday stress and how to find a balance between school and self-care.

On Tuesday, students can attend a pop-up event on 13th Street near Polett Walk to get sleep masks, tea and information about how to maintain healthy sleep habits.

“A lot of times people don’t take care of themselves sleep-wise and that’s how [stress] builds up,” Reardon said.

Wednesday’s event in rooms 217 and 223 in the Student Center features representatives from TSG and the WRC who will address myths about mental health, like the idea that depression is just sadness and mental health issues are a result of personal weakness or a cry for attention.

At the event, students can interact with therapy dogs and get free massages.

“Gotta Nourish to Flourish,” an event in the Student Center Room 220 on Thursday, lets students talk with staff from the Career Center about overcoming career anxiety. Staff from the Office of Sustainability will talk to students about using activism to find purpose on campus. 

A yoga session at IBC Student Recreation Center on Friday afternoon will close out Wellness Week.

Beside promoting self-care, Egan said another goal of the week’s programming is to expose students to various wellness resources at Temple, like Student Activities, IDEAL, Disability Resources and Services, Tuttleman Counseling Services and Campus Recreation.

“Self-care is so individualized that we want to provide an array of different strategies and available resources so that people can decide what’s going to work for them,” Egan said.  

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