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Wellness: a state of mind or affirmative action?



Hey fellow Life Science students! As exam season is approaching, I hope you are staying productive, safe and well – speaking of which – let’s talk about wellness, what it means and how to reach it.


The wellness movement is having an even larger impact in society as we celebrate one year of that thing that shall not be named.


Type in #Selfcare #wellness or #medidation on Instagram or TikTok, and you’ll find endless posts and content regarding wellness. The common theme between these posts: take care of yourself. Okay…Kind of vague and general right?


To me, wellness means not only physical and mental well-being but also social wellbeing – often forgotten. From listening to podcasts and guest lecturers, I have come to realize that the wellness movement puts too much pressure on you and I to reach this state of wellbeing, and less accountability on academic, social and health systems.


So, while having a selfcare or spa night is still great, wellness isn’t one size fits all, and it’s much deeper than that.



Most importantly, wellness takes into consideration our identity. This means that wellness for you might not be the glamourized bath with candles and bubbles, it could be eating while watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in bed.


On a deeper level, wellness intersects with our racial and ethnic identities. Social conditions, personal identity and belonging, play a role in influencing people’s mental and physical and must therefore be included in the conversation of wellness. Students from marginalized and underrepresented groups have experiences that are unique to them, so wellness can shift from self-care to social care.



From this perspective, wellness includes the access to aid and support that pertains to specific identities. Wellness includes specific resources that pertain to the BIPOC experience and demonstrates a higher consideration for accessibility. BIPOC students with How? The inclusion of indigenous elders during wellness centres, supporting the wellness of black identifying students through events that pertain to the black experience, and increasing the awareness of systemic disparities from the academic institutions.


Where am I getting to with this? Wellness needs a bigger emphasis on services and affirmative action, as opposed to self-obtained wellness. Don’t ever feel like you are expected to reach wellness by yourself through a state of mind. Reach out for help, advocate for specific services, and remember that wellness does not have to be glamorous.


 

By Nicole Agaiby - LSS 3rd Year Rep 2020 - 2021




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