Strolls for Well-Being at ISU helps people center themselves during their day while they learn more about campus. The new program is a joint effort of staff in ISU WellBeing and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT).
"It is a way to connect employees, students and anyone in the community with our beautiful campus in a mindful and intentional way," ISU WellBeing specialist Sue Tew-Warming said.
Tew-Warming was inspired by the Morikami Stroll for Well-Being Therapeutic Garden Walking Program, a garden walking program in Florida.
What is a stroll?
What separates strolls from other walking programs at the university is the emphasis on self-care and well-being, Tew-Warming said. It also can help faculty, staff and students reconnect with campus after the pandemic moved many away last year.
This fall there are three themes -- awareness, transition and connection -- following the same central campus path that can be downloaded from the ISU WellBeing website. The winter will have three new themes with a different path.
"We ultimately hope to have 12 themes throughout the calendar year, so every season will have a new stroll," CELT event coordinator Karen Couves said. "We will take walkers to different parts of campus."
A stroll designates places to pause and focus on being present in the moment, reflect on a quote or move with purpose. Participants also learn about points of interest across campus.
The fall stroll uses several sculptures as its pauses. There are plans to have recreation services help plan a route in the future.
"It is a great way for us to collaborate with different departments across campus and bring something useful to the whole campus community," Couves said.
Strolls take about 45 minutes to complete, but people decide if they do it all or a certain pause to best utilize their time. Tew-Warming and Couves conducted a pilot study this summer with faculty and staff trying a stroll to provide feedback.
"The biggest thing we heard was that flexibility is key," Tew-Warming said. "We want this to be flexible so it doesn't have to be done at 10 in the morning or two in the afternoon. It is for whenever people feel they have the time."
Couves also heard from instructors who plan to integrate a stroll into their courses to benefit themselves and their students.
Practicing mindfulness regularly can have numerous benefits:
- Greater sense of calm
- Reduced stress level
- Stronger immune system
- Improved concentration
- Be less reactive in difficult situations
"Our modern offices are built for distraction," Couves said. "To support people's overall health and well-being, doing something like a pause is a really simple way to get back to the present moment, be mindful and get back into their day."