Learn, to be well: Whole-self wellness at Western
Be Well at Western
At Western, we believe students who are actively encouraged and supported in their efforts to be well are better able to achieve their personal and academic goals. Our emphasis on personal and community well-being is reflected in our University, Division, and Department missions.
Wellness is sustained by a community that values, nurtures, and integrates it into all areas of campus life, from academics to dorm life to student services. Wellness is practiced all over campus, not just within the departments like ours that focus on it.
What is Wellness?
Wellness is more than just avoiding the flu. Wellness is the sum total of all aspects of individual and community wellness, from building personal resilience to cultivating a safe and supportive campus community for all identities. It is an active, conscious, self-directed, evolving, multidimensional, self-affirming process of making choices to achieve the full potential of your whole self.
There are many dimensions of wellness, many ways to achieve wellness, and many ways our wellness is impacted by—and contributes to—the wellness of our larger community. Our goal is to help you discover, learn, and cultivate positive, inclusive, empowering, and sustainable wellness practices at Western and beyond.
The links below lead to information about dimensions of wellness and the offices and organizations across campus that can help you practice wellness in your life. As you explore these wellness resources, please know that:
- Self-care is a right, not a privilege, and there is no one way to be well.
- Our environment, our communities, our life experiences, and our social structures have an impact on our wellness and ability to practice self-care.
- You deserve the ability to care for yourself and experience wellness. Without putting energy toward personal wellness, it can be challenging to support one’s community.
- Your wellness and your self-care practices are completely unique to you—be honest about and honor what works for you.
- Your community is here. Western as a whole, as well the unique communities within Western, are here to support you.
Emotional wellness relates to understanding and coping effectively with your feelings both on an individual and interpersonal level. Practicing self-care, building your resiliency, and managing your stress in healthy ways are important life skills for your experiences at Western and beyond.
How can I practice emotional wellness on campus?
- Take time for you! Set aside time to relax and de-stress. Whether it’s exercising at the Student Rec Center, going on an outdoor excursion with the A.S. Outdoor Center, meditating with the Counseling Center’s Mindfulness Group, or practicing your own self-care techniques, treat yourself!
- Check out Western’s ULifeline Self-Evaluator, a free mental health screening tool.
- Visit the Counseling Center’s website to learn more about available resources, including professionally led support groups and workshops, online self-help tools, and one-on-one counseling.
- Drop in on Wellness Wednesdays every Wednesday, 3-4PM, in the Miller Hall Collaborative Space. Hosted by the Counseling Center and featuring wellness experts from across campus, these casual discussions are a great place to learn practical self-care strategies.
Social wellness involves developing a sense of connection and belonging through your interpersonal relationships—creating an encouraging support network and fostering fulfilling intimate relationships. It is also about actively contributing to the wellness and inclusivity of your community.
How can I practice social wellness on campus?
- Get involved in campus activities! There are programs and events practically every day of the week, during the day and in the evening. Check out the events calendar on the Western Involvement Network.
- Consider joining one or more of the 200+ Associated Students clubs. You’ll find clubs centered around hobbies, social causes, and professional development.
- Enjoy being active? Join one of the many Student Rec Center intramural teams or sport clubs.
- Want to promote wellness on campus? Apply to become a Peer Health Educator with Prevention and Wellness Services.
- With all of these activities, you’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to Western!
Expanding your knowledge, skills, and creative abilities are all ways to practice intellectual wellness, and it can happen in and out of the classroom. It also involves keeping an open mind to new ideas, being curious, and actively participating in academic, cultural, and community activities.
How can I practice intellectual wellness on campus?
- Visit the Tutoring Center in Wilson Library to enhance your learning skills, work through challenges with course content, and improve your academic performance.
- Utilize the Hacherl Research and Writing Studio in Haggard Hall for drop-in and online help with your class assignments and papers.
- Visit the Math Center in Bond Hall for tutoring in math subjects including calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and differential equations.
- Access the many research resources at Wilson Library. Library staff can help you find journal articles, use databases, and make the best use of other Wilson Library services and resources.
- Get help from the Academic Advising Center with course selection and registration, GUR progress, choosing a major/minor, and understanding Western’s academic policies.
Physical wellness is health at any size and the agency to seek health care when needed. It is about minimizing risks and discovering what healthy habits work for you. Some ways physical health is achieved are through regular physical activity, eating to fuel your body, getting enough sleep, taking care of yourself when you’re sick, and getting medical help when needed.
How can I practice physical wellness on campus?
- Incorporate regular physical movement into your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to class and get up and move during study breaks.
- Focus on how exercise makes you feel, especially the stress-relieving and energizing effects, rather than on how it makes you look.
- Visit the Student Rec Center for intramurals, fitness classes, the pool, rock wall, and to use the fitness equipment.
- Visit the A.S. Outdoor Center to sign up for outdoor excursions, tune up your bike, and rent outdoor equipment.
- Take charge of your sexual health by using protection (Western Wears!), having open communication with your partner(s), getting tested for STIs, and getting routine physical exams. Book an individual Sexual Health Information Session with Prevention and Wellness Services; call 360-650-3400 to make an appointment at the Student Health Center.
Occupational wellness is about proactively preparing for and engaging in work that is meaningful and enjoyable to you. This dimension of wellness is about finding personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through your work and career. It is about finding career opportunities that are aligned with your values and life goals.
How can I practice occupational wellness on campus?
- Visit the Career Services Center for help with resumes and cover letters and to access a variety of career-related resources, including some available online. Students who are undecided on their major can access help in identifying their interests and exploring careers in order to optimize their academic decisions.
- Gain transferrable skills and build your resume by volunteering through the Center for Community Learning. If you have an interest in promoting student wellness, apply to volunteer as a Peer Health Educator with Prevention and Wellness Services!
- Discover on- and off-campus job and internship opportunities through the Student Employment Center.
- Attend the many job fairs throughout the year.
Spiritual wellness is about developing a core set of values and beliefs that give your life meaning and purpose. It is about putting your energies into activities consistent with your values and beliefs. It includes introspection (e.g., prayer and meditation) and also outward practices of compassion toward others and connecting with others in meaningful ways.
How can I practice spiritual wellness on campus?
- Center yourself with yoga. Yoga classes are offered through the Student Rec Center, the A.S. Outdoor Center, and the Counseling Center.
- Join the Counseling Center’s Mindfulness Group.
- Get involved with one of Western’s religious-focused A.S. clubs.
Environmental wellness includes being respectful of our surroundings and mindful of sustaining our natural environment. Environmental well-being also means creating a connection with nature and your personal environment and also recognizing the impact of your environment on your personal wellness.
How can I practice environmental wellness on campus?
- Join an environmental student organization.
- Go for a walk in “the Arb,” aka the Sehome Hill Arboretum, a 175.5 acre park right next to campus with 6 miles of trails and an observation tower overlooking Bellingham Bay.
- Get involved with the Outback, Western’s student-run 5-acre farm and wetland restoration site.
- Promote environmental stewardship on campus by interning with the A.S. Environmental Center.
- Launch a project to positively impact the environmental wellness of our campus with a grant from the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund.
- Donate any unwanted usable items during finals week at a Move-Out Madness location, hosted by Western’s Offices of Sustainability and Off-Campus Living. For a small fee, volunteers from the Office of Sustainability will also collect your larger items.
- Explore the outdoors by going on an outdoor excursion with the A.S. Outdoor Center.
- Practice sustainability by using the recycling and composting bins throughout campus. If you live on campus, participate in Residence Hall composting.
Financial wellness is a lifelong process of learning how to successfully manage your finances. It involves making decisions to live within your means, setting financial goals for your future, and making informed financial decisions.
How can I practice financial wellness on campus?
- Visit the Financial Aid Services Center for a variety of resources to help you boost your financial literacy. Explore concepts of budgeting, debt, student loans, and identity protection.
- Join the A.S. club Financial Literacy Intelligence. Their website also offers resources and tools to help you build your financial skills.
- Apply for grants to offset the cost of your education. Visit the Scholarship Center for information, tips, and resources.