Taking care of ourselves and our community is more important than ever. The past few years of the pandemic have really reminded us of this.
From January 16 to 20, Wellness Week, with its Back to Basics theme, is a chance to start off the year on the right foot and make the most of resources to improve your wellness and foster that of others.
On the uOttawa campus, health and wellness promotion is a day to day commitment and reality, and it’s everyone’s business.
Benoit Lefebvre, senior adviser, workplace mental health and wellness, and Wellness Week coordinator, gave us an overview of the event, along with some areas to explore to understand the importance and impact of the week and of wellness.
Activities and new experiences
According to Lefebvre, the pandemic had an impact on the social dynamic on campus, for example, because three student cohorts didn’t set foot on campus from its start. In short, this is the first time in three years that activities are taking place mainly in person.
“It’s an opportunity to seize to take the time to reflect, to understand, speak, listen, meet as a community, nourish and develop a culture of wellness on campus, and to explore the various resources offered and develop healthy lifestyles,” he says.
Over 20 activities will be offered at different times for the entire University community: students, professors, support staff and alumni.
The goal: to offer a holistic perspective on health, including mental health. Many internal partners are taking part, creating rich programming.
Some programming examples
The Mashkawazìwogamig Indigenous Resource Centre has invited a knowledge keeper for a workshop to raise community awareness of Indigenous perspectives on physical and mental health.
As well, the Health Promotion team will offer interactive wellness workshops developed by students for students.
The team has also implemented Guarding Minds at Work, a complete set of resources that serves as a reference for the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. For assessment purposes, a survey on Guarding Minds at Work will be online until January 27.
Opening ceremonies like no others
Elladj Baldé, a professional figure skater and diversity, equity and inclusion advocate, will kick off the opening ceremonies with a discussion about his journey as a Black immigrant in the very white environment of figure skating, his achievements and the people he’s managed to inspire. The discussion will be followed by a performance on the Minto Sports Complex rink.
Lefebvre says the opening ceremonies will be “like no others”!
History of Wellness Week
Wellness Week is the product of many on-campus initiatives related to the 7 Pillars of Wellness. It fits with the University’s health and wellness priorities and uOttawa’s commitment to apply the Okanagan Charter principles as an institution furthering health. The week also will promote the reIMAGINE campaign, which makes physical, emotional and mental health an absolute priority.
Promoting wellness and mental health is a step by step process and the University has committed itself to working on it non stop.
The needs are constantly changing, and the work doesn’t end with Wellness Week. We need to pick up on new and changing needs, as well as reach different communities. And this “we” is every one of us.
Add some Welcome Week activities to your calendar!
Lefebvre has also issued us a challenge (or invited us to make a resolution for 2023): to get to know the Health and Wellness section’s resources and the ways to contribute to community wellness. Not to mention, of course, taking part in Welcome Week.