SWAB members give students sunflowers with words of affirmation on them. First-year Healthy Minds Ambassador Lydia Smith said the goal of “Love Your Body Week” was to promote overall wellness. Photo by Sammie Wuensche
Nourishing the body with proper foods, exercise, positive self-talk and healthy relationships are all practices the Student Wellness Advisory Board hopes students use to care for themselves, junior SWAB Healthy Communities ambassador Mallory Finley said. Amid the stresses of everyday life, Finley said it is easy to forget about one’s own needs.
SWAB hosted “Love Your Body Week” from Feb. 14-17 to promote self-love. During the beginning years of adulthood, it is vital to develop healthy habits to continue throughout one’s life, and SWAB helps facilitate that, Finley said.
“Taking care of yourself is something that’s just so crucial — especially in college when you’re learning how to be independent and live on your own and looking at what that looks like in your own life for the first time for a lot of people,” Finley said. “I just think being able to promote things like rest and self-care are our biggest takeaways.”
Events of the Week
Each event throughout the week, merged the missions of the three branches of SWAB — Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies and Healthy Communities, first-year Healthy Minds ambassador Lydia Smith said.
The week kicked off Feb. 14 with a Valentine’s-themed event in which SWAB ambassadors passed out flowers with positive sayings attached to the stems on main campus. Smith said she saw how small things can put a smile on students’ faces at the event.
“It was super cute because I saw people all throughout the day walking and still holding their flowers with the little affirmations on them,” Smith said. “I love getting flowers, so it was just cute to see everybody really happy about them.”
The Feb. 15, event focused on promoting a healthy mindset with food. In the early afternoon, SWAB ambassadors tabled at Mullin Town Square for a disordered-eating screener — a type of survey intended to provide insight into a student’s relationship with food — where students received Pressed Juicery wellness shots for participating.
Later that evening, Nicole D’Aoust, a graduate student at Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology and eating disorder therapist, gave a presentation at the intuitive and disordered eating workshop in BPC. D’Aoust said many people — especially young college students — are unaware of the true definitions of an eating disorder and disordered eating.
“We basically covered the difference between eating disorders and disordered eating, and I went into a little bit of the myths and misconceptions about eating disorders,” D’Aoust said. “Then I gave a brief rundown of the ‘health at every size model,’ which is a weight inclusive, size inclusive model that we try to use to treat anybody everybody — not just those with eating disorders.”
D’Aoust said with around 25 students in attendance, she wanted to educate students on healthy food relationships and also offer resources. At the end of her presentation, D’Aoust gave attendees helpline numbers and podcast, book and website suggestions to help inform and heal from eating-related challenges.
D’Aoust said many people are unaware they have an unhealthy relationship with food in the first place.
“There’s such a misconception of, ‘Taking care of my body equals losing weight or restricting food or over exercising,’” D’Aoust said. “Stuff like that — this disordered eating — we affiliate with health, when in reality, doing so is more detrimental and is not loving your body. It’s treating your body in a way that shows that you don’t like the way that it is now.”
The closing event was Healthy Happy Hour the afternoon of Feb. 17 on Lower Mullin Town Square.
Smith said SWAB partnered with Resilience-Informed Skills Education, Campus Recreation, Inter-Club Council, Student Government Association, The Board and TriDelta to promote different avenues of physical health. Each organization had a table on main campus.
“It was to just celebrate the body that you’re in and provide different resources in an informational setting within different clubs,” Finley said. “For us [SWAB Healthy Communities branch], we did a ‘Coffee and Consent’ booth talking about the importance of consent in relationships. The different booths talked about their own various perspectives on topics.”
Sophomore SGA Class Senator Sabrina Musharbash said she tabled at the event advocating for girls-only hours at the gym. This, she said, would boost both physical and mental health, creating a more comfortable environment for women to exercise.
“Our table was just getting information from our class on what their views would be on girls-only hours in the gym and expanding the Cage,” Musharbash said.
Purpose of the Week
Being a part of the planning of “Love Your Body Week,” and seeing the positive impact it had on students was meaningful to Smith, she said. Her goal in joining SWAB was to engage in an organization that would have an impact on others.
“It’s so important to talk about that kind of stuff and have programming on campus for mental health,” Smith said. “Because I know in my own experience that I didn’t have resources I wish I would have had when I was struggling a lot, and so I think being able to provide that for people is super cool.”
When learning about what “Love Your Body Week” was all about, D’Aoust said she was pleasantly surprised at how many areas of health SWAB covered.
SWAB’s themed weeks and events to encourage self-care and love are important all the time, not just after Valentine’s Day, Finley said.
“I just always thought it was really cool and it’s really important that our school has a resource and a community of students who are promoting these things not within the administration and faculty,” Finley said.
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