Welfare at Imperial: Why is it fundamental?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes wellbeing as the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy, the application of wellbeing is rooted in a myriad of factors; wellbeing is not fleeting, but it’s more of a constant state of living. Taking care of one’s welfare doesn’t only involve discussing a personal issue, going to a wellbeing workshop or reading articles – we address our wellbeing on a daily basis. Whether it be trying to maintain a sleep schedule, checking our finances, or just making time to see friends – we’re always seeking a feeling of comfort, health and happiness. 

What constitutes an individual’s wellbeing is different to all of us, and we each go about maintaining it through different avenues. Having collected feedback as part of my roles as a first year Welfare rep and Muslim Medics (MM) wellbeing officer, I’ve found that everyone has different ideas of what would improve their wellbeing. Often, there’s more than one way to address them.

A project I’m involved in is the Imperial I AM Project, which is a collaboration between MM and Islamic Society to create an online platform to empower and inspire students by tackling important issues relating to their wellbeing. This campaign is run via social media networks, with weekly blogs on issues that are relevant to certain times of year. Through feedback and group discussions, I’ve discovered that what constitutes our wellbeing evolves and changes over time. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder is more likely to be pertinent in the winter, whereas a topic such as motivation would come up later on in the year as pressure mounts and exams come upon us. For others, reading a blog post isn’t enough. I organised Muslim Medics’ wellbeing workshop on study skills last term, and, despite all attendees being medics, the feedback cycle shows that they produced a diverse range of ideas regarding which topics they would like to have workshops on. From this we can see how an individual’s wellbeing is complex, and how essential it is to address each aspect of wellbeing independently.

I know I’ve gone over feedback a lot in this article – I’ll let you decide if three times is a lot, but reflection is one of the most important aspects of wellbeing that is often forgotten. Doing something to address a problem isn’t enough on its own – you’ve got to think: has this worked out? Was there a quicker/easier way to sort out the issue? Do I need to try something else? Is the issue likely to happen again? This reflection allows you to pinpoint what matters to your own wellbeing, and whether or not you are happy with the way things are. Reach out to societies, read articles online, or just go to workshops; find what works for you and stick with it.

As students, it’s easy to get sucked into a world of lectures, prolonged stays in the library and trying to be the best we can be academically. As important as that is, there must be a balanced approach to taking care of ourselves. Because if there isn’t, how else would we expect to be comfortable, healthy and happy? 

If you would like to know more about the Imperial I AM Project, click here for a round up of posts published in first term!

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