Environmental wellness is achieved by gaining an understanding of the dynamic relationship between humans and their environment. Every person has the capacity to have a positive impact on the quality of their environment, whether it's their immediate environment, i.e. their home, classroom or office, their community, and even their planet.
There are different environmental circumstances which impact our health and wellness which include:
Social environment – This is the fluid arena in which people interact with individuals, groups and institutions through personal interaction or electronically through social media, interactions which are filtered through a lens of social norms.
Depending on the social environment and context, health and wellness can be impacted in a negative way, a positive way, or both. One example is peer pressure, which can be particularly intense at this stage of life. Bullying, character assassination, body shaming and other personal attacks can have a significant negative effect on wellness, while praise, compliments and empathy – and Tar Heel school spirit – all will have a positive impact. Its amazing how contagious a smile can be - give it a try and see!
Built environment - This aspect involves how we set up the area we live, study and socialize in. This is often where we have the most control. Our home - whether an on-campus residence hall room or an off-campus house or apartment - is ideally our retreat and respite place. It is where we can return to for relaxation and renewal. In that respect, it is important for us to make our living environment as comfortable and conducive to our level of desired rest and enjoyment as possible. Consider decorating with your favorite colors and other items that bring you happiness and/or help you rest.
Natural environment – All around us are naturally occurring living and inanimate elements that include air, water, earth, plant life and wildlife. These elements interact organically to form a series of ecosystems which impact the health and wellness of all species on Earth. Research continues to show us that getting outside and experiencing nature if various ways is an important and often essential component to our wellbeing, especially as it relates to our physical and emotional health. So take a walk across campus or a hike in one of the nearby trails, or spend 15 minutes a day sitting outside getting a small dose of daily vitamin D from the sun, or even something inside as simple as sitting and watching the fish swim in the fish tank on the second floor of the union - very peaceful!
At Student Wellness, we strive to create spaces where students feel safe, supported, and included. In addition, we also recognize our own responsibility for the quality of our air, our water, and the land that surrounds us. We believe taking care of our campus and community environments is an important contribution to the well-being of individuals and out broader society. Please join us in thinking about the conservation of energy, water, and to the commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible.
Enhance your environmental wellness by taking advantage of resources offered around campus, joining a student organization, and in the community.