Several Colorado College campus clubs dedicated to the mental and physical health of students combined forces to create Wellness Week, a weeklong series of events devoted to raising awareness of holistic wellness.

Wellness Week emphasized the connection between physical fitness and emotional well-being through active events such as yoga and Zumba, both of which encourage a connection between body movement and emotion.

“Wellness Week is a celebration of living happily and healthily,” sophomore Anne Schwartz explained. “It seems that all of the events on campus regarding mental or sexual health ask people to reflect upon bad experiences that they have had and how they have grown into a stronger person. Us Spillers just want to celebrate the fact that we are well, that we are lucky, and that we have some idea of how to stay happy and healthy.”

Senior Lauren Schneider coordinated Wellness Week as part of her work as president of the mental health advocacy group, Spill. Other student groups dedicated to mental health, nutrition and sexual safety such as Grow, DAWG, SOSS and Farm Club, also assisted in the planning of the week.

“We basically wanted to create a well-rounded approach to wellness because wellness comprises so many aspects of our daily lives,” explained Schneider.

On Tuesday afternoon, 30 students participated in a yoga class taught by a yoga instructor from lululemon and were rewarded with free frozen yogurt from Buttercup’s at the end of the hour-long class.

On Thursday afternoon Wellness Week hosted a presentation given by nutritionist Julie Anderson about healthy diets and de-stressing through food. The link between physical wellness and mental health is undeniable.

“When a friend tells me that they are feeling down and can’t figure out why, I always try to suggest exercising and eating well,” Schwartz said. “I guarantee, it might be a pain to get out and do, but you will feel better, be more productive during the day, and sleep more during the night.”

However, the connection between fitness and emotional well-being is not always healthy. Wellness Week tried to address the importance of having a healthy body image and exercising for the right reasons.

“Although I understand the importance of physical exercise, I think many students exercise for the wrong reasons,” Schneider said. “We want to advocate for healthy eating habits and healthy exercise habits [to] create a healthy mindset, which is the foundation to a healthy lifestyle.”

On Friday, Schneider will teach a Zumba dance class at 4:30 in Cossitt Gym.

“By teaching Zumba, I hope to promote a healthy way to exercise while having fun, without focusing on the number of calories burned,” Schneider explained.

Additionally, senior Tori Marsh will teach a special yoga class called Laughter Yoga on the quad (weather permitting) on Friday afternoon at 3:30.  Laughter Yoga is a practice in which participants force themselves to laugh to induce the same psychological and physiological that natural laugher provides.

“Many studies have shown that laughter can improve circulation, stimulate the immune system, reduce stress hormones and alleviate depression and anxiety,” Marsh said. “Since our body can’t tell whether our laugher is fake or real why not trick it and get some health benefits out of it? Plus it’s a total blast.”

Wellness Week reminded CC students that maintaining a healthy body and healthy mind are interconnected and it’s difficult to have one without the other.

“Our physical and mental wellness are so connected; it is really hard to have one without the other,” Schneider said. “I don’t understand why people get annual physical check-ups, and not mental ones. Our mental health is just as, if not more important.”

Kate Leaf

Active Life Editor

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