Faculty Spotlight: What is Wellness?

As faculty and staff you are in a unique position to both promote your own wellness and promote the wellness of students. Promoting your own wellness is important in order to have a high quality of life, reduce the risk of illness, and help you perform your job duties to the best of your ability. Likewise, helping students promote their wellness is important because it will help them engage in the community more, perform to their best academically, and reduce stress.

According to the World Health Organization, wellness is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Simply put, wellness is the state of being in good physical and mental health. Wellness includes many facets:

  • Physical Wellness: maintaining a healthy body and seeking care when needed or when ill
  • Emotional Wellness: understanding your feelings and coping effectively with stress, seeking help for distress or mental illness when needed
  • Spiritual Wellness: developing a set of values that help you seek meaning and purpose, including spirituality and religion
  • Social Wellness: developing healthy relationships, performing social roles effectively, building a social support network
  • Intellectual Wellness: engaging with new ideas openly, continuing to expand your knowledge, participating in academic activities
  • Environmental Wellness: respecting the earth and nature, maintaining a lifestyle that minimizes harm to the environment
  • Occupational Wellness: finding a good fit between you and what you are called to do, appreciating your own contributions, and satisfaction with your work

All of these facets together comprise wellness, and striking a balance between them all can be difficult. Many people find that they focus on one or two facets and neglect the rest. For example, faculty and staff may tend to prioritize intellectual or occupational wellness over physical, emotional, or spiritual wellness. More information on the different facets of wellness and how to nurture each can be found here.


Welcome back to Wellness!

A new school year means new classes, new friends, new housing, new opportunities, and new challenges. It can be difficult to balance all of these new opportunities and stay healthy. The Wellness Initiative is here to help. This blog will provide weekly posts on various wellness topics to help you stay well, cope with challenges, and provide resources for help throughout the year.


One way to start the year with thoughts about your own wellness is to reflect about upcoming year and challenges you may face. Research shows that anticipating and planning for challenges is helpful in reducing stress when you do encounter those challenges. Here are some self-reflection questions that can help you plan for the upcoming year:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What upcoming challenges can I plan for?
  • How do I handle negative situations? When these situations occur, how do I typically manage them?
  • What resources (people, activities, or things) could assist me in handling challenging situations?
  • How will I plan to focus on my strengths during challenging situations?

These questions can help you think about what challenges you may face this upcoming year. Thinking about challenging situations ahead of time will help you deal with them when they do come up. Welcome back to school and welcome back to wellness!