Office of Student Health and Wellness
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – World Health Organization
The health of Rhodes College students is not defined by a lack of ailments – it is, rather, students’ ability to create flourishing and balanced lives. The Office of Student Health and Wellness exists to cultivate this culture of holistic well-being among students.
Holistic well-being is perhaps best understood through a model of intersecting areas of wellness. At Rhodes we identify these areas as: Physical, Social, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Cultural, Environmental, and Occupational Wellness. Each of these areas can contribute to one’s overall wellness, or one’s overall imbalance.
Office of Student Health and Wellness: COVID-19 Update
The Office of Student Health and Wellness recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our individual and communal rhythms and disrupted many of our lives. Perhaps the rapid changes in the spring 2020 semester were challenging to process. Or perhaps the longer we live in the circumstances (here we are with another remote semester), the more challenging you find them to be. Whatever your reactions or feelings, know that you are not alone. Rhodes College, the Office of Student Health and Wellness, and a multitude of other offices on campus are fully committed to the health and safety of our community and the wellness of our individual members.
As we enter into a physically distant fall 2020 semester and continue to navigate life in light of COVID-19, might I suggest that it is not too late to think more intentionally about your well-being. The below information is for you to think about your own Physical, Social, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Cultural, Environmental, and Occupational Wellness. Please keep in mind that some of the suggestions are subject to changes due to COVID-19, and they might be relative to spaces (like Memphis and campus) that you may not be in.
May the following suggestions not present themselves as a task list, but as reminders that we have options to cope, connect, and heal in the present. Now more than ever is a time to be kind to yourself and others, to be gentle as we continue to adjust and heal.
All the best,
Olivia Lee Fowler ’18
Coordinator for Student Health, Wellness & Engagement
Explore Resources by Area of Wellness
- Take your exercise off-campus by exploring Overton Park’s urban forest trails.
- Run, bike, walk the Vollintine-Evergreen Greenline that’s right off campus
- Head to Shelby Farms Park for more trails , fishing, a zip-line course, boat rentals, bike rentals, a dog park, and much more
- For even more activity, take the Shelby Farms Greenline[L1] from midtown all the way out to Shelby Farms Park.
- Attend a yoga class led by our very own Megan Crouse ’22, founder and president of the As We Breathe student organization.
- Attend a WERQ dance fitness class led by our very own Alisha Pershad ’23.
- Get a good sweat in at the BCLC. Any student has access to machines, weights, the indoor track, and racquetball courts!
- Make a sleep routine for yourself. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night – leading to better memory and problem-solving, improved mood, and maintenance of overall good health.
- Eat a balanced diet – the more color on your plate during meals, the better! Check out Bon Appétit’s Rhodes College-specific website for menu options and nutrition pointers.
- Consider physical touch and intimacy as one part of a healthy lifestyle. Commit to practicing open communication, and engage in healthy, safe sexual or intimate activity. Visit the Health Center for free resources.
- Think of intellectual wellness as engagement with creative and mentally-stimulating activities.
- Proactively attend your professors’ office hours to help you stay on top of your learning – not just when you start to struggle with material.
- Schedule a meeting with Peer Coaches to help you organize your academic (and otherwise) life.
- Read books and articles that are not just for your classes – learn by staying informed and thinking about new concepts.
- Try tuning into audio books during your morning routine, making meals in the residence hall, or on your walks to and from classes.
- Incorporate news sources such as NPR, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal into your reading or podcast routine. Stay informed, but also set a limit so as not to bombard yourself with news headlines.
- Try reading Mariano Sigman’s book The Secret Life of the Mind: How Our Brain Thinks, Feels and Decides or watching his Ted Talk to better understand how your own brain works.
- Remember that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Commit to caring for your body and your brain by prioritizing sleep.
- When travel is safe and permitted, think about how you can learn by experiencing different places and people.
- Pick a hobby that increases your skillset and/or invigorates you outside of just the classroom.
- Think of creative expression and exploration as a part of your intellectual wellness. You don’t have to be talented at something to try it – pick up an instrument, try painting, take a camera out on a scavenger hunt through your city, etc. The possibilities are endless!
- Try reading books like any of these from Austin Kleon to explore how to maintain a creative practice.
- Even social interactions can aid your intellectual wellness. Try playing games such as Scrabble, Chess, or Mancala to incorporate a bit of strategy into your game nights.
- Understand emotional wellness as an acceptance of yourself as being human; that no emotions are “bad” emotions.
- Recognize how your emotions and feelings intersect with the people you interact with in life. Treat others’ feelings and emotions as valuable as well.
- Schedule an appointment with the Student Counseling Center at Rhodes College to work through some of your emotions.
- Begin to understand resilience – one’s ability to traverse and adapt to adversities in life with healing and growth – and its importance.
- Read James Nestor’s book – Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art – to better understand how our physical and emotional wellness is intertwined.
- Learn to recognize your personal warning signs for stress, overstimulation, numbness. And identify emotional self-care tactics.
- Research mental health first aid and use these skills for yourself and others.
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, loving kindness as relaxation techniques.
- Laughter brings a different type of stress relief and social connection. Attend our very own CUP shows, watch Netflix specials of your favorite (or soon to be favorite) comedians, listen to The Laugh List on Spotify.
- One need not be religious to pursue spiritual wellness or find spiritual balance.
- Connect with Chaplain Beatrix Weil as a spiritual wellness resource. Students do not have to be religious or hold any belief about a Divine to have a conversation with Reverend Weil.
- Schedule an appointment with the Student Counseling Center at Rhodes to do some exploration of your inner self, values, and beliefs.
- Take time to process life-changing or major events – what led you there, how you think they have impacted you.
- Try meditation practices or mindfulness. Tune into meditation practices hosted by our Chaplain’s Office and the Office of Student Health and Wellness.
- Think about engaging in a religious faith you find meaning in. These are by no means comprehensive, but you could start with any of these on-campus groups.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of your personal access to clean air, food, and water. Your environment and environmental wellness relates to every atmosphere you find yourself in – where you study and sleep, what you consume, and the ways in which you get outside.
- Pay attention to how you set up and operate in your spaces. Is where you study conducive to learning and memory? Are your living spaces places you can relax and de-stress?
- Schedule a meeting with a Peer Coach. They can help you with academic prioritization, but also how you organize the rest of your time, study habits, etc.
- Think about how you can have an impact on your own environment and community. Run for a leadership position during one of Rhodes Student Government’s elections, or in an organization you already belong to.
- Think about how you can have an impact on your own environment and community. Try serving in an area that you’re passionate about by connecting with the Bonner Center for Service..
- Take a break from studying and take a walk around our beautiful campus, or try making one of your meetings a walking meeting.
- Check out our city’s very own Memphis River Parks Partnership. The organization works to create a connected riverfront, and has an abundance of resources and information on ways you can enjoy for yourself!
- Spend some time in the campus-adjacent Overton Park. Run or walk the trails, visit the zoo, or simply enjoy being outside on the Greensward.
- Take a trip to Shelby Farms Park – one of the nation’s largest urban parks. Trek the miles of walking, running, or biking trails; rent a kayak; get a close and personal look at the bison; enjoy the retreat of being outside.
- Visit Shelby Forest (Meeman-Shelby State Forest Park) north of Memphis. Allow yourself to get even slightly removed from the city, and enjoy fishing, running, hiking, biking, etc.
- In whatever ways are possible for your lifestyle, try reducing your waste, recycling, and reusing
- Explore the cultural student organizations at Rhodes. Cultivate cultural wellness by engaging in a cultural group you identify with, or by engaging with a group or events that are new to you.
- Think about how you can explore other cultures even where you are – try new foods, listen to new music, read books about leaders, ideas, movements that might be new to you.
- Engage in reading books and materials to continually educate yourself and broaden your perspectives. Try starting with Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist – or perusing entire lists of resources such as this Understanding and Dismantling Racism list.
- One of the greatest and most influential parts of Memphis culture is its music. Get connected and learn more directly through our own Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College. The institute promotes engagement with Memphis and its music history, and offers students the ability to get involved creatively through musical talent, research and writing, community engagement and events, production, and more.
- One of the great aspects of a liberal arts education is the emphasis on engaging in studies outside of your particular discipline. Take a class from one of our own expert professors about culture(s) or history(/ies) that are interesting or new to you.
- Think about applying to the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies. The institute allows students to pursue research and creative projects specifically related to the Memphis region. Browse through previous student presentations from this permanent archive.
- Explore Memphis in a way that intentionally engages our history and culture. Spend time at the National Civil Rights Museum and the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum; check out resources from the Memphis Heritage Trail; tour Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, and the Blues Hall of Fame; visit any of the locations in the Memphis Museums family; tour the city by murals…this list is by no means exhaustive!
- Occupational wellness does not need to be something attained in the future professional world. Think about jobs you might hold on or off campus in the present, or allow yourself to view being a student as your full time occupation right now.
- Pay attention to not just what you aspire to, but your present experiences. Are you taking classes or pursuing volunteer, leadership, or other opportunities that enhance your skills?
- Connect with the Bonner Center for Service about volunteering opportunities.
- Connect with the Office of Career Services – schedule an appointment with someone, or attend one of their events or workshops.
- Connect with Rhodes Alumni about their roles, how they ended up where they are, how their Rhodes experience has prepared them for that
- You don’t have to be taking classes or have an internship to learn about a field or do some professional preparation. Try pursuing occupational wellness through something like reading.
- Read books pertinent to the field you want to go into, or professions you might be interested in.
- Keep up with the New York Times’s books lists.
- Ask for a recommendation from someone at a locally owned bookstore (in Memphis – Novel and Burke’s Books would be great places to start).
- Read The Emotionally Intelligent Office – 20 Key Emotional Skills for the Workplace or a similar book, and consider that being prepared well for the workplace, or pursuing occupational wellness, is not limited to professional or industry-specific skills and knowledge.
The Office of Student Health and Wellness was created in 2018 and has since been pioneered by Olivia Lee Fowler ’18. As a graduate of the Rhodes College Urban Studies – Urban and Community Health program, Olivia values being able to integrate her background in community health and well-being into her work supporting flourishing student experiences.
With special thanks to Taryn Graves ’23, who has been dedicated to the work of the Office of Student Health & Wellness.