Six steps to student wellness: part two

In the second part of this series on student health, Professor David Russell and Charlotte Harbour tell us their wellbeing secrets

In this two-part series, we’ve been discussing six key areas of focus to augment positive student health and wellbeing outcomes. To recap, last month we spoke about the importance of nutrition, exercise and emotional support services in optimising student wellness.

4. The Microbiome

You may have heard us talk about gut health at industry events – or perhaps remember previous University Business articles discussing ‘The Microbiome’. It’s a hot topic – and with good reason. Research continues to demonstrate the links between optimised gut health and positive health outcomes for people of all ages. Whilst it is implausible to suggest that dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut flora) is responsible for all health consequences, it may be a key driver in maintaining undesirable effects such as an unhealthy weight, low immunity and autoimmune disorders. We can help support students’ microbiome by delivering food and beverage offers that are high in phytonutrients, plant fibre and ferments such as live yogurt.

  • Have you considered running specialised nutrition workshops and cooking classes on campus? 

5. Self-Care

We live in a society which prioritises achievement, attainment and long hours. Whilst these aspects of life are inevitable and important in reaching personal and academic goals, they should not be the basis for day-to-day living. Studies from now and yesteryear continue to demonstrate the significance of ‘self-care’ in achieving positive physical and mental health outcomes. As we know, health is not just symbolic of the ‘absence of disease’ – but is emblematic of the ability to thrive in all aspects of wellbeing. Self-care can help us be more productive in a shorter space of time, keep immunity high, foster a greater community and decrease stress-related symptoms. So, how can we deliver more self-care to our students? The key is providing education as to why it’s important and then offering appropriate opportunities to do so. This may mean running classes such as meditation or offering subsidies on alternative therapies such as nutritional therapists, massage and acupuncture.

  •   Have you considered offering subsidies on local spas or alternative therapies that encourage self-care rituals?  

6. Connection and Community

Last month we spoke about the importance of emotional support services in maintaining student wellbeing, especially in regard to mental health. We maintain the importance of patrol support, counselling and talking therapies in the academic sphere – but are also keen to see the continuation
of student connection opportunities in higher
education. By nature, we are social creatures who appreciate connecting with others on matters that are significant to us or of interest. We know that higher education offers some of the greatest opportunities to meet and grow alongside others who share our passions – whether that be through the course, sport or society. Let’s continue this beneficial philosophy, as connecting with others is a biological requirement to engendering all round good health.

In summation, our six steps to student wellness are: Nutritionally dense food and beverage offers, physical activity, emotional support services, the microbiome, self-care, and connection and community.

What are yours? Let’s chat @RP_Consultants

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