HEALTH AND WELLBEING DAY DIRECTORS PROMOTE EXERCISE, NUTRITION AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
UPDATE: Health and Wellbeing Day has been postponed due to the inclement weather. Watch this space for a new date, to be confirmed soon
Health and Wellbeing Day is the USU’s Annual festival dedicated to all aspects of health and wellbeing: physical health and fitness, mindfulness and emotional health, and nutrition and food. Taking place on Wed 22 April, Eastern Ave will be jam-packed with events, workshops and classes – everything from cooking classes to yoga, to a healthy selfie booth. We chatted with coordinators Rina, a second-year Masters of Exercise Physiology student, and Shevera, a second-year Bachelor of Arts/Science student, about Health and Wellbeing Day.
Why are you so interested in health and wellbeing?
Shevera: I used to not give priority to my own health and wellbeing, I barely made time to exercise regularly or pay much attention to my diet. When I started to pay more attention to my health I started to feel a lot better not only about myself but I also had more energy to tackle all the other things in my life, like uni, work and even social relationships.
Rina: When I eat well and exercise I feel great, and am more productive in all areas of my life. I’d love to promote good health habits to other students as uni (and life) can feel overwhelming sometimes. It’s also important to know you’re not alone, and there are ways to help you best manage whatever you’re going through.
What do you like doing to stay healthy?
R: Exercise is easiest for me when I pick activities that I enjoy, like running, cycling and tennis. I love physically active holidays, and before going back to uni, I rode my bicycle from Germany to Iran. Setting goals is also great to challenge yourself. I completed the Sydney Marathon in 2013 and it was one of my proudest achievements, it gave me purpose to train. My friends and I are also taking part in the Nike NTC Tour, which is on Sat 2 May. It’ll be a great atmosphere and we encourage each other to train too.
What are you looking forward to at this year’s Health and Wellbeing Day?
R: I’m particularly excited about the selfie booth we’re running on Eastern Ave. There’ll be funny health and sports props so anyone can dress up, make a health pledge and tag themselves in a selfie!
S: I’m really excited about the therapy dogs, where you can come and have a play with some adorable dogs– I love dogs, and surrounding yourself with animals is known to be therapeutic and it’s fantastic we will have them on campus! I also think FUNCH has some pretty great events lined up which I’m excited about and, of course, as a uni student I’m always keen for free food.
How is Health and Wellbeing Day different from other health initiatives?
R: We’ve really tried to include events focusing on the community aspect of health, rather than the individualised, vanity aspect of health.
So we’ve got events like clinical health assessments and a ‘Help a Friend’ info session; where we’re focusing on health in a broad, community-minded way. We’ve also teamed up with other groups in the University and our charity partner headspace to discuss mental health and disability to further promote inclusivity.
Why is health and wellbeing day important?
R: We want to show that there are many different avenues to health. It’s important that students are able to access all these different avenues and learn that there are different aspects of health in a fun and accessible way. For example, through Health and Wellbeing Day’s partnership with charity partner headspace, we’re able to provide some practical ways to support people’s mental and emotional health.
What do you think the biggest health and wellbeing concerns are for the student community?
S: I think stress is a big issue for students as it can be triggered by many factors and can lead to a range of other issues. I’m sure the activities during the day will provide a nice relief from a long day of lectures!
R: I think the main issues for the student community are poor nutrition and sedentary behaviour, which influence performance and mental wellbeing in students. When you’ve got a lot of poor health habits, your mood is affected. You might feel stressed, overwhelmed, and your mental wellbeing declines. These issues are interrelated, so it’s important to have a holistic approach to health.
What have been some challenges of running the event?
S: Cutting back on all our initial ideas was quite difficult and I underestimated the amount of work that goes into planning such a large scale event, but we’ve had a great team to help us and I’m very excited to see how the event turns out!
What’s your top tip to help students look after their health?
R: My tip would be to start small, don’t feel you have to punish yourself to be healthy. Every little bit counts. Find active things to do that you enjoy, a 10 minute walk is a great start. Make small dietary changes and take care of your mind, rest well and talk to someone about what you’re going through. And don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon, just move forward and try your best. All the little things will add up.
S: Remember that this is about self-care and try not to compare yourself to others. What works for someone else may not always work for you so it’s important to remember that when you want to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle, try to do it in a way that works for you.
Health and Wellbeing Day is Wed 22 April.
Take a look at the full health and wellbeing day program, and join the Facebook event!