What does “wellness” mean to you?
Wellness is really part and parcel of your whole life. It’s not separate from daily life, your work, your family, your food, your mental health – it’s your holistic approach to how you choose to be on your journey.
When I think of wellness, I think of how I’m saving for my family’s future – college, retirement, another home. I also look at how I’m getting space and time for myself and my self-care – it’s all part of the wellness big picture.
And that is how we have created and structured GUWellness – it’s inclusive of mind, body, soul. We offer programs that address the whole person. That said, you can’t always nourish all these parts of yourself and your journey, all at once, all the time. Rather, we take action based on where we are now.
Food and exercise are two of my biggest issues, so, for me, as the head of wellness I have to consider my genetics around being of full-bodied Italian-Mexican heritage and knowing what I need to balance that out. That is my struggle and my starting point. I was a round kid, I’ve always been round, and what I struggle to find is a way to create and sustain healthy habits. That will always be apart of my journey.
Mindfulness is a big part of my journey. It’s something I come back to every day. Spirituality is also a big piece for me. Knowing that there are venues and avenues to connect with my personal spiritual practice is key. If that is something that you are interested in, I encourage you to pursue it. It is so important and there are so many ways to engage here at GU and through GUWellness.
All these elements – and our values at GU – intertwine. They all intersect with where we are on the journey. Sometimes the journey can be challenging. Sometimes it’s easier than others. But it takes work. GUWellness is here to support the journey.
What wellness opportunities do you participate in at GU and are proud that GU offers?
I am profoundly dedicated to the Weekly Walk with Charles. I’ve been doing it for ten years now because I believe that people need to recognize that they can simply get up, get out and move without huge efforts to change clothes and make special arrangements. The Walk was a foundation event that kicked off GUWellness ten years ago and continues on today. It was important to President DeGioia that we come together as a community and take steps toward wellness. I continue that. I show up every week. Sometimes I walk alone. But I still think that it’s important and shows my commitment. But I really want to walk with people. So, come out and join in the movement and the conversation. It’s also about those special connections that are made outside of the office, outside of the cubicle. One of my big goals for 2017-18 is to grow this walking community.
I’m also engaged in our mindfulness programming. It’s so important in my life and I am beyond proud that we offer this to our community.
What suggestion would you give to someone who wants to “be well?”
Engage. Find something that speaks to you, commit and just do it. It’s not about perfection. Just engage and then share it with others. Most people know what they need but don’t know where to start. With GUWellness there are many starting points, whether with walking, creativity, mindfulness – just start. We do this for you. Need a health coach? Call Health Advocate. This is all available for you, wherever you are on the journey. Another important pillar of wellness is financial . We have many resources available for people to engage here. Financial one-on-one sessions, educational workshops, planning and so much more….it’s not just about retirement anymore. It’s about those things that animate your daily life. I’m excited that this is a way we can support people’s fiscal health and happiness.
What do you envision the future of wellness to be on campus and in our world?
On campus, I want there to be an entrenched dialogue on a daily basis. How do we order food? How can we incorporate wellness into our meetings, family life, relationships. Consider the tools that we all need to engage wellness daily. There’s so much going on at Georgetown and in the lives of everyone who works here, that having a wellness perspective and lens of self-care is essential. You can’t serve others if you are not well. That applies to all of us individually as well as to us as an institution. Knowing our limits, boundaries, our purpose, sources of inspiration or barriers to inspiration – it’s all a part of this wellness journey and I hope that we will talk about this. Share our ideas, our