Be Well at Western

Be Well WWU in a light-blue heart with a dark-blue outline

What Is Well-being?

Well-being is more than just avoiding the flu. It is the sum total of all aspects of individual and community wellness, from building personal resilience to cultivating a safe and supportive campus community for all identities. It is an active, conscious, self-directed, evolving, multidimensional, self-affirming process of making choices to achieve the full potential of your whole self.

Well-being at Western

Western is one of several U.S. universities—and the first in the Pacific Northwest—to adopt the Okanagan Charter and join the United States Health Promoting Campuses Network, which calls on higher-education institutions to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health-promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.

Western's Well-being Collaborative grew out of the signing of the Okanagan Charter. It is a group of students, staff, and faculty collaborating to chart the path forward for Western as a health-promoting institution. if you are interested in being involved in the Well-being Collaborative, email Brandon Joseph, Director of Student Resilience.

8 Dimensions of Wellness

There are many dimensions of well-being. The links below lead to information about 8 dimensions of wellness and campus offices and organizations that can help you practice wellness. As you explore these resources, please know that:

  • Self-care is a right, not a privilege, and there is no one way to be well. 
  • Our environment, our communities, our life experiences, and our social structures have an impact on our well-being and ability to practice self-care. 
  • You deserve the ability to care for yourself and experience well-being. Without putting energy toward personal well-being, it can be challenging to support one’s community.
  • Your well-being and your self-care practices are completely unique to you—be honest about and honor what works for you.
  • Your community is here. Western, as well the unique communities within Western, is here to support you.

Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness relates to understanding and coping effectively with your feelings both on an individual and interpersonal level. Practicing self-care, building your resiliency, and managing your stress in healthy ways are important life skills for your experiences at Western and beyond.

How can I practice emotional wellness on campus?

  • Take time for you! Set aside time to relax and de-stress. Whether it’s trying the at-home exercise resources, getting outdoors for some fresh air in one of Bellingham’s parks or even just around your neighborhood, joining one of our support, skills, and process groups, or practicing your own self-care techniques.
  • Check out Western’s ULifeline Self-Evaluator, a free mental health screening tool.
  • Explore our website to learn more about available resources, including professionally led support groups and workshops, online self-help tools, and one-on-one counseling. 

Social Wellness

Social wellness involves developing a sense of connection and belonging through your interpersonal relationships—creating an encouraging support network and fostering fulfilling intimate relationships. It is also about actively contributing to the wellness and inclusivity of your community.

How can I practice social wellness on campus?

  • There are student events happening practically every day of the week, during the day and in the evening. Check out the events calendar on the Western Involvement Network.

  • Consider joining one or more of the 200+ Associated Students clubs. You’ll find clubs centered around hobbies, social causes, and professional development.

  • Enjoy being active? Take advantage of Bellingham’s incredible parks with a friend. If you live outside of the Bellingham area, simply Google your town and “parks” to find recreation areas near you. 

  • Want to promote wellness on campus? Apply to become a Wellness Advocate

  • With all of these activities, you’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and feel more connected to Western!

Intellectual Wellness

Expanding your knowledge, skills, and creative abilities are all ways to practice intellectual wellness, and it can happen in and out of the classroom. It also involves keeping an open mind to new ideas, being curious, and actively participating in academic, cultural, and community activities.

How can I practice intellectual wellness on campus?

  • Visit Western's Tutoring Center for one-on-one tutoring, tutor-facilitated study groups, one-on-one study skills appointments, and materials to set you up for success in any class
  • Utilize the Hacherl Research and Writing Studio via chat, drop-in sessions, or email to learn revising & editing strategies for written assignments.
  • Join the Math Center in-person or online 7 days a week for tutoring in different math subjects including calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and differential equations)
  • Make use of the many research resources at Wilson Library! Library staff can help you find journal articles, use databases, and make the best use of other Wilson Library services and resources.
  • Get help from the Academic Advising and Student Achievement Center with course selection and registration, GUR progress, choosing a major/minor, and understanding Western’s academic policies. Connect with advisors, or check out their online resources

Physical Wellness

Physical wellness is health at any size and the agency to seek health care when needed. It is about minimizing risks and discovering what healthy habits work for you. Some ways physical health is achieved are through regular physical activity, eating to fuel your body, getting enough sleep, taking care of yourself when you’re sick, and getting medical help when needed.

How can I practice physical wellness on campus?

  • Incorporate regular physical movement into your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike and get up and move during study breaks.
  • Focus on how exercise makes you feel, especially the stress-relieving and energizing effects, rather than on how it makes you look. 
  • Visit the Student Rec Center or visit their website for an extensive list of at-home resources to help you stay active.
  • Visit the A.S. Outdoor Center for low-cost outdoor equipment rentals, student-run bike shop, and learn about available outdoor excursions.
  • Take charge of your sexual health by using protection (Western Wears is providing safe sex supplies by mail!), having open communication with your partner(s), getting tested for STIs, and getting routine physical exams. Schedule an appointment with the Student Health Center through the MyWesternHealth portal.
  • You can find food resources through Western's Hub of Living Essentials and at Bellingham’s Opportunity Council website.

Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness is about proactively preparing for and engaging in work that is meaningful and enjoyable to you. This dimension of wellness is about finding personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through your work and career. It is about finding career opportunities that are aligned with your values and life goals.

How can I practice occupational wellness on campus?

  • Visit the Career Services Center website to schedule an appointment for help with resumes and cover letters and to access a variety of career-related resources. Students who are undecided on their major can access help in identifying their interests and exploring careers in order to optimize their academic decisions. Students with specific post-grad plans can also access specific health professions and graduate school advising resources. 
  • Contact Western’s Center for Community Learning to find out about volunteer opportunities to gain transferable skills and build your resume
  • If you have an interest in promoting student wellness, apply to volunteer as a Wellness Advocate!
  • Discover on- and off-campus job and internship opportunities through the Student Employment Center website, including work-from-home options.
  • Check out events hosted by the Career Services Center, including job fairs and career development webinars happening throughout the year.

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness is about developing a core set of values and beliefs that give your life meaning and purpose. It is about putting your energies into activities consistent with your values and beliefs. It includes introspection (e.g., prayer and meditation) and also outward practices of compassion toward others and connecting with others in meaningful ways.

How can I practice spiritual wellness on campus?

Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness includes being respectful of our surroundings and mindful of sustaining our natural environment. Environmental well-being also means creating a connection with nature and your personal environment and also recognizing the impact of your environment on your personal wellness.

How can I practice environmental wellness on campus?

  • Become an Outdoor Wellness Program mentor and support your peers to regularly go outdoors to enhance their mental well-being and resilience OR become a mentee and get matched with a trained mentor to help you create your personalized outdoor wellness program! 
  • Join an environmental student organization.
  • Go for a walk in “the Arb,” aka the Sehome Hill Arboretum, a 175.5 acre park right next to campus with 6 miles of trails and an observation tower overlooking Bellingham Bay. 
  • Get involved with the Outback, Western’s student-run 5-acre farm and wetland restoration site.
  • Learn how you can promote environmental stewardship on campus by visiting the Sustainability Engagement Institute website.
  • Visit the A.S. Outdoor Center website to stay up to date on the availability of outdoor excursions.
  • If you are taking classes on campus, practice sustainability by using the recycling and composting bins throughout campus. If you live on campus, participate in Residence Hall composting.

Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is a lifelong process of learning how to successfully manage your finances. It involves making decisions to live within your means, setting financial goals for your future, and making informed financial decisions.

How can I practice financial wellness on campus?

  • Visit the Financial Aid Services Center for a variety of resources to help you boost your financial literacy. Explore concepts of budgeting, debt, student loans, and identity protection.
  • Apply for grants to offset the cost of your education. Visit the Scholarship Center website for information, tips, and resources.