Invest in Your Well-Being at Healthy Campus Week Events

Students, faculty and staff participate in the 8th Annual Happy Heart Walk. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

By: Whitney Hopler, Communications Director

At Mason, we study and work in a highly diverse variety of subjects. But one important value that unites us is the pursuit of well-being. Healthy Campus Week – Monday, September 25 through Sunday, October 1 – offers many opportunities to develop greater well-being together.

“I hope folks look at Healthy Campus Week as an opportunity for reflection on what they want their new normal to look like so they can live happier, healthier lives,” said Wendi Carroll, Life/Work Connections Specialist, Human Resources/Payroll. “We all face challenges that cause us to become stressed out and engage in behaviors/thoughts that are self-defeating. This week is a chance to shake things up a bit and ask ourselves what we want to change in our lives.”

Healthy Campus Week inspires Carroll by reminding her of the many options she has to invest in her well-being. “My workout routine always suffers when there are transitions. This time of year, with three kids in school, working full-time and all the after school sports and activities, I am much more susceptible to skipping my morning runs or replacing my mediation time with for more sleep. So for me, HCW is a reminder for me to make ‘me’ a priority. It’s like giving myself permission to put myself first. I might not have a lot of flexibility, but I always have options.”

Beth Baroody, Reward and Recognition Coordinator, Human Resources/Payroll, especially enjoys a Healthy Campus Week event that focuses on nutritious food. “I love the Healthy Cooking demonstrations – they’re really fun but provide a lot of practical information. They remind you that cooking healthy is possible, even for busy professionals. The best part is that you often get to sample the food and it’s always delicious.”

Since people around Mason are busy, Baroody said, Healthy Campus Week offers a variety of events so they can choose just one to participate in and discover how that benefits them. “We hope that people will make the commitment to get away from their desks for a little while to learn or try something new,” she said.

Carroll suggested that people decide on specific well-being goals and choose activities that will help them accomplish those goals. “Do you want to start walking more? Join Wellness by Mason for the annual Happy Heart Walk. Looking for fun ways to eat healthier? Come to the Mason Dining Healthy Cooking Demonstration or tour the edible gardens on campus with the Office of Sustainability. Would you like to enjoy more financial stability in your life? Check out Human Resources and Payroll’s Financial Well-Being Portal. There’s something for everyone.”

Here’s a preview of some of the week’s events:

Monday, September 25: Learn how to take good care of your brain at the CommonHealth: Think About It seminar from noon to 1 p.m.  in Merten Hall, #1201 on the Fairfax campus (or by video conference on the Arlington and SciTech campuses). Amy Moore from CommonHealth will discuss how to promote your brain’s well-being by learning more, getting moving, staying connected, eating right, and taking charge.

Tuesday, September 26: Enjoy the many benefits of mindfulness – from less stress to more concentration – by joining other students, faculty, and staff from around Mason at a Mindfulness Practices for the Mason Community session from noon to 12:45 p.m. in Student Union 1, #3309. Practices vary and can range from guided meditation to journaling.

Wednesday, September 27: Strengthen your heart through exercise at Mason’s annual Happy Heart Walk today from noon to 12:45 p.m. The walk begins on the Fairfax campus in the Wellness Circle in front of Merten Hall, on the Arlington campus at Founders Hall Plaza, and on the SciTech campus in the Bull Run Hall lobby. No registration is required. The walk is open to all Mason students, faculty, and staff as well as the general public, so bring a friend.

Thursday, September 28: Discover how to cook nutritious and delicious food at a Healthy Food Cooking Demo from Mason Dining, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Southside dining hall in the Blackstone room.

Friday, September 29: Find out what’s growing in Mason’s edible gardens on a garden tour from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Meet outside the south/ground floor entrance of the Johnson Center to start the tour, which will show you three agricultural sites on the Fairfax campus: the Innovation Food Forest, Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden, and the Presidents Park Greenhouse. If it rains, the tour will take place in the Presidents Park Greenhouse only; meet there in case of rain.

Beyond Healthy Campus Week, a variety of other Wellness by Mason events are happening around Mason this fall. They include World Gratitude Day (Thursday, September 21, noon to 2 p.m.), a workshop about Rosetta Stone language learning (Tuesday, September 19, 2 to 3 p.m.), and the Outdoor Nation’s Campus Challenge 2017 (ongoing Monday, September 18 to Sunday, October 15). So try something that interests you and discover how it impacts your well-being!