Marlena Lang // THE CHIMES
With recent reports of a decline in the student body’s mental health, Spiritual Development paired up with Dean of Student Development Lisa Igram and her team to create a week dedicated to holistic wellness.
The week occurred during the same week of Torrey Conference and included activities like a wellness walk, where students could interact with booths run by the Biola Counseling Center and Student Programming and Activities that provided resources and ways to deal with stress. Students could also build their own sleep kits, make their own stress balls, take stress tests and take pictures with Huxley, a dalmatian being trained to comfort pediatric cancer patients. Additionally, the week provided a space for people to relax through painting, a puppy patch, morning yoga sessions and Zumba. All these elements came together to inform students of ways to be mentally, physically and spiritually healthy—which Igram describes as “holistic well-being.”
ADDRESSING THE NEED
Chapel intern and junior business administration major Molly Larsen and her team sought to create this week in conjunction with Torrey conference’s theme “Incarnate.” Even though the theme was picked before Spiritual Development knew they would pair up with Igram’s team, it fit perfectly for mental health awareness week.
“It just so happened that their theme was Incarnate,” Igram said. “When we think about being human persons in a broken world, mental health is a big part of that.”
Igram planned the week around the need she saw in the student body. She also paired up with the Student Government Association in order to fund the sleep kits for students. The kits included sleepy time tea, lavender essential oil and earplugs, all created as a way to start a conversation with students about the importance of holistic well-being.
“Sleep [is] critical,” she said. “There are so many studies on how lack of sleep impacts our emotional well-being and ability to learn.”
COPING WITH MENTAL HEALTH
Igram hopes students will be able to take these practices with them and take initiative by creating their own events on campus. Junior Spanish major Subin Lim expressed his need for the week in order to understand his own struggles.
“All the booths really was a great addition to help me understand and cope with my stress,” he said. “I honestly am having a hard time with a lot of schoolwork and having time to acknowledge that was a really big comfort to me.”
Student Development also paired up with SPA to help students be involved with athletics and physical activities such as yoga and Zumba. To junior political science major Jasmine Teeny, the wellness walk was a way to learn how to ask for help.
“As we acknowledge that we are weak in the body, we must also acknowledge that others need to take care of themselves,” she said. “We are not designed to live alone. We are designed to be in community.”