The past year was a time of virtual meetings, social isolation and complete uncertainty. Even as things slowly resume to normalcy, many are still left with feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Being thrown back into a standard routine, especially as a college student, can be extremely overwhelming. That is why it is important to prioritize physical and emotional health during these continually unpredictable times.
Wellness is the conscious act of taking care of both the physical body and mind. Though seemingly simple, it may be challenging to fit into a busy schedule. Finding time for yourself should not be as mentally and emotionally taxing as the other stressors in life. Some easy ways to take care of yourself are going to the gym, reading a book, or even taking a nap. Doing schoolwork in a quiet, relaxing environment also avoids any unnecessary distress when trying to do work.
Rian Gipson, a senior political science major, shares how she keeps up with her mental health after a stressful week.
“I’ve been making sure I take a bath every Friday. Just to decompress and think about my week,” said Gipson. “And I try to go to the gym twice a week.”
Many students may find it challenging to maintain their health while simultaneously meeting deadlines and keeping up with newfound responsibilities. As the semester picks up, it is becoming increasingly more important to find a balance between work and play. One student-based organization strives to make wellness more accessible for students. CHAARG stands for ‘Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls’. According to the website, CHAARG aims to create health and fitness communities for women on college campuses. Each week brings new fitness classes ranging from zumba to HIIT workouts. This community has chapters in over 110 universities including Cornell, Temple, and Yale. The Howard chapter was founded just this past summer, but has already made a big splash with students.
Kyndahl Dixon, a junior photography major and VP of Media for HU CHAARG spoke about how CHAARG has shaped her idea of wellness.
“What wellness means to me is to always put yourself first, whether mentally, physically, or spiritually. Strive to make yourself feel as best as you can at all times,” said Dixon. “Oftentimes we find ourselves just breathing and surviving but wellness is all about thriving in the pursuit of growth and balance.”
HU CHAARG will host weekly workout events from Sept. 15 to Nov. 24. Some events include Barry’s Strength and Cardio, Bootcamp, Rumble Boxing, and Yoga with Alana. One well-attended event that happened recently was a sample weekly workout hosted in Banneker Park, a public park near campus. The gathering was held in order to give prospective CHAARG members a taste of what is in store for the remainder of the semester.
The University itself also offers a plethora of resources to maintain student health. The Student Health Center offers a multitude of services for physical health including physicals, STI and HIV screenings, immunizations and lab services. For mental and emotional health, look to the virtual Howard University Counseling Service where individual counseling, group counseling, and medication management can be found.
Between turning in assignments on time and devoting time to extracurriculars, wellness is at the bottom of many college students’ list of priorities. Even so, neglecting your health needs can lead to physical illness, depression, and burnout. Even if it is in small ways, wellness is crucial to performing your best academically.