Where’s the best place to prioritize your own health and wellness this summer? Right here at the University of Washington! Beginning this July, join us for our Raise the Bar Summer Wellness Challenge, a team activity that both supports and challenges departments to create a healthier and more positive environment at work.
We’ve supercharged last summer‘s slate of activities and events and included new ones that will enhance the experience for you and your team, focusing on five core areas of workplace wellness: being active, eating well, stress management, cultivating kindness and compassion, and building community. Each area of focus will be supported by activities, events, and other helpful resources designed to help all participants prioritize overall health of the mind, body, and soul.
If you’re interested in captaining your department or work team on this unparalleled UW-wide wellness challenge, register here (for full details, see the end of this article). Below, find a breakdown of the five areas of focus for Raise the Bar and a sampling of activities you and your team won’t want to miss once the summer gets underway!
We can encourage each other to be more active during the workday and demonstrate that physical activity can improve productivity. Moving more leads to more energy overall!
The Whole U has partnered with leading fitness studios and instructors across the Greater Seattle area including, UW Recreation, IanFitness, The November Project, and Pure Barre to bring Raise the Bar participants motivating and inspiring workouts. Check out the July classes at the end of this article for a full listing. If group workouts aren’t your style, we’ll have you covered with a range of activities you can do at your desk, both individually and as a team, in order to be more active at work.
Eating well doesn’t need to be a solo activity—in fact, eating together is one of the easiest ways to make healthier decisions related to nutrition and learn first-hand that small changes can have a lasting impact.
As part of Raise the Bar, you will receive advice and tips from UW registered dietitians to help guide you in making more nutritious (but still delicious) food choices. Eating well isn’t just something that can be fun—it’s intended to be! Everyone is encouraged to have team picnics, potlucks, and other food-centric gatherings to enjoy the summer weather and share healthy recipes! You won’t believe what you’re capable of cooking up together—and we can’t wait to see!
Workplace-related stress has been steadily increasing over past decades. The good news is that there are strategies and opportunities to reduce work-induced stress. Together we can advocate for productive breaks, deeper breathing, and other small activities throughout the day that help mitigate work-induced stress.
This year we are excited to bring you guided meditations from UW experts including, Danny Arguetty, Mindfulness Program Manager at UW Recreation; Jane Compson, assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma; Bonnie Duran, Dr. P.H., professor in the School of Social Work, adjunct professor in the School of Public Health, and director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute; and more.
Each week The Whole U will share a new, recorded meditation created to enhance your Raise the Bar experience that will give all the guidance and space to take a moment to close the eyes, breathe, and attain a greater state of calm and centeredness. In addition, teams will have the opportunity to create a de-stress zone or game space to decompress.
Cultivating Kindness and Compassion
As a new area of focus for Raise the Bar, Cultivating Kindness and Compassion will give the UW community a chance to continue to develop and delve deeper into qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness—both for oneself and for others.
The Whole U Speaker Series this summer has been designed around cultivating kindness and compassion. Bonnie Duran will kick-off the series with a seminar on “Cultivating a Loving Heart” to strengthen our capacity for love, compassion, joy, and peace. You will also have the opportunity to complete a 30-day kindness challenge to inspire small, random acts of kindness towards others and oneself.
Creating a strong sense of community can transform a workplace enormously—often in unexpected and deeply impactful ways. A simple smile, word of appreciation, or act of celebration can lift the mood of many and strengthen our connections to one another.
Team building is fun! Get know your co-workers through weekly ice-breakers and find common interests. The Whole U is also challenging each team to volunteer together. Find an organization that resonates with your team and spend an hour giving back. But that’s just a sketch of the activities that will be included in Raise the Bar. For the full checklist of ideas, be sure to register!
Here’s how Raise the Bar works:
One person will sign up as a captain for the team, group, or department. The team captain will receive an email from The Whole U with a toolkit including a Raise the Bar checklist and will ask different members of their team or department to specialize in a certain area of focus. Throughout the months of July and August, additional Whole U workouts and activities on all campuses will be made available to keep you and your team empowered and progressing forward in positive ways.
At the end of the 60 days, teams who submit their completed checklists online will reach Whole U Champion Status!
As the challenge progresses, we hope you’ll share your stories of success with us, including photos, comments, and tips you pick up along the way! Send them all to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them as part of a featured story every Wednesday!
As we join together to Raise the Bar for workplace wellness, consider participating in these related upcoming Whole U events:
- IanFitness bootcamp at the HUB on July 10
- IanFitness bootcamp at South Campus Center on July 12
- November Project workout in the Quad on July 17
- Yoga and meditation in Grieg Garden on July 19
- Pure Barre class at the HUB on July 24
If you’re ready to help your work team and yourself take strides toward overall wellness and a more positive, personable, productive workplace register here. Raise the Bar begins July 9 and runs through August 31.
Special thanks to UW Medicine, AT&T, and US Bank for sponsoring this UW wellness challenge.