Wellness Ambassador of the Month
How long have you worked at UC Davis?
I’ve worked on campus for over 10 years in several different departments, but I’ve only been in the Internship and Career Center (where I am now) for two years. Before the ICC, I spent 6 years in DJUSD as a secondary school teacher. I’m also an alumni of UC Davis.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness means feeling good. It means being able to do the things you want to do. It’s holistic- mind, body, and spirit all need attention. I also think it is really positive and focused on taking proactive measures to be at our best. I like how people choose to pursue this in so many ways – time spent with friends, exercise, meditation, healthy eating, etc.
Why did you become a wellness ambassador?
Our former wellness ambassador in the ICC left the university. I had really enjoyed the events (meditation and potlucks) that she had put on and missed them. I realized that I could take the initiative to make it happen, but felt a little overwhelmed, so I teamed up with a co-worker to do it together. That has made it more fun and allows us to offer more. As one of my hobbies, I’m a certified yoga instructor and have done a lot of mindfulness training and thought I could use those skills to contribute to my work community as well.
How long have you been a wellness ambassador?
I’ve been a wellness ambassador since the fall, so a very short period of time.
What has been rewarding or positive about your experience thus far?
I have loved providing weekly meditation to our department, and we have recently extended it to other departments. People tell me it helps them feel calmer and connected. I also love sharing resources so staff can connect with the tools that work best for them.
What are some of the challenges you face as a wellness ambassador?
Mainly the time to do it. Recently, it’s been the pandemic and the fact that we are working from home. I’ve continued to offer our meditations but our all-staff arts and crafts/planting succulents event for the spring is postponed for now.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with new wellness ambassadors?
Definitely find out what your staff wants through a survey because you’ll then have a good turn-out at your events and you’ll feel great! Plus, there are so many things you could do, it is overwhelming. If you focus on what your staff has said they want, it gives you a great place to start. From there, momentum builds and others feel empowered to contribute as well. Staff and Faculty Health and Well-being aims to build an environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice, while providing staff and faculty with the required support to make UC Davis the healthiest community.
How do you feel you have contributed to our mission?
I hope I’ve contributed by role-modeling offering events that staff have said they want, that support their wellness goals. My co-ambassador offers weekly walks while I offer meditation and we offer monthly lunches as well. These are the priorities our staff expressed through a survey. We have made it a norm to talk about wellness at staff meetings, and now more folks are coming up with ideas, and empowered to implement them, knowing that we are encouraged to do that.
What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I don’t have just one – I feel like I have to a lot of things to keep staying well. Yoga, kickboxing, reading (non-fiction ad fiction), volunteering with Soroptimist and travel are some of the big ones. I also live in a co-housing community and love running kids events and helping our community connect. It seems to me in any wellness study, human connection always ends up being the biggest positive factor in health so I’m all-in with community events.