December 1, 2023

Social Wellness: Put It Into Practice and Happy Holidays from PCOW

As we head into our holiday break, how can we define Social Wellness in our lives? How can we connect better with our friends or immediate and extended family? Time is our most important treasure that we can give someone every day of the year. Whether we are interacting over food, writing a hand-written note, or enjoying an event together, let us take time this holiday break to practice good wellness, not just social, but also the other dimensions of our wellness wheel: spiritual, financial, mental, occupational, and physical.

The President’s Council on Wellness would like to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday season. In gathering with family and friends and celebrating our wonderful holiday traditions, let’s continue to build our relationships with those around us to help create and practice good wellness. As we welcome in 2020, plan those lunches with friends, attend a UMW Great Lives Series on Tuesdays or Thursdays, or find fun events to attend in downtown Fredericksburg. Share those with us on our Facebook page: UMW Wellness and enjoy the beauty of the holiday season.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce

PCOW: Wellness Wheel Sector Explained: Social

As the holidays are approaching, we are focusing this week on the Social dimension of the PCOW Wellness Wheel. Social wellness is defined as “fostering a sense of connection and belonging with others. This involves using good communication skills, respecting yourself and others, and creating and maintaining a well-developed support system.” The positive effects of building and cultivating healthy relationships with family and friends are infinite. We respond better to stress, form better habits, are more at peace and boost our self-esteem to be comfortable in ourselves and more at ease in different social settings.

UMW offers many ways for its employees to practice social wellness on campus: eat lunch with a colleague, attend a UMW-sponsored event with your family, or cheer on your students at UMW sports event with a friend! What will you do to practice good social wellness this week and during the holiday break? Share it with us on our Facebook page: UMW Wellness or Instagram: umw_wellness.

PCOW: Savor the Moment Challenge

The President’s Council on Wellness has a social media challenge for the month of November: Savor the Moment.” Take some time and stop and appreciate each moment in your life. Snap a photo of one of those moments, whether you are enjoying a walk outside with the falling leaves, a cup of hot chocolate/coffee, or having a good time with friends and family. Post your photo on Instagram or Facebook and tag @UMW_Wellness with #UMWSavorthemoment. Everyone who posts a photo will be entered into a raffle and we will draw one prize winner each week to win a gratitude journal during the month of November!

“Seize every second of your life and savor it. Value your present moments.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Let’s Get Happy: How Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Happiness

Monday, November 11th from 12-12:45pm
UC Colonnade Room (314)

Open to all Students, Faculty, and Staff with light refreshments!

There are several ways that you can increase your levels of happiness in your everyday life. Learn several proven techniques to increase happiness and then practice one of the techniques during the session.

Sponsored by PCOW & the Department of Psychological Science.

PCOW: The Wash Post and November Meeting

November/December 2019 Wash Post

The President’s Council on Wellness (PCOW) puts out a newsletter called the Wash Post which can be found across campus on bulletin boards and in campus bathrooms. An objective of the Wash Post is to educate all of us on wellness and encourage our students to attend campus wellness events and help them form good habits.

The November/December theme of the Wash Post is “Grattitude is Everything.” Being grateful and positive helps to improve our wellbeing emotionally and is contagious to others. Are you present in your surroundings and grateful for the little things in life? For some fun facts and ideas, check out the Wellness Website for the Wash Post, Volume 11.

Everyone is welcome to attend the PCOW’s next open meeting on Tuesday, November 12th at 8:30am in the UC Colonnade Room. President Troy Paino will be our guest speaker this month and we will be sharing updates from each of our committees. If you or your colleagues are interested in learning more or serving on the President’s Council on Wellness, please email

PCOW’s Physical Wellness Profile: Dr. Jeremy Larochelle

Professor of Spanish Jeremy Larochelle

Professor of Spanish Jeremy Larochelle

This week, in finishing up our articles on the President’s Council on Wellness Physical dimension of our Wellness Wheel, we sat down with Dr. Jeremy Larochelle, Professor of Spanish, who is in his 14th year at UMW. He tries to incorporate biking or walking into his day and many times he is seen biking to his home from UMW about 20 minutes away. Larochelle enjoys being physically well and active to help “keep balance in life,” not just with his family but also at work. His favorite activity is kayaking or canoeing and also hiking during the summer months. Larochelle encourages people to just go outside, even if it is just for 10 minutes, and breathe fresh air. His top tips are to be consistent in physical activity and plan times into the work week, head to the gym or go on a walk with family or friends. We all tend to be a little too work focused and scheduling a short break will help to keep our mind sharper and clearer. How can we incorporate being more physically well this week into our lives?

Build A Better Meal

Who needs help, suggestions, or guidance on meal planning, grocery shopping, and food prep? Next week the President’s Council on Wellness (PCOW) is hosting a Build A Better Meal program through CommonHealth, a free state employee wellness program, on Friday, October 25th from 11:00-12:00pm in the UC Capital Room, Room 314 for all faculty and staff. This program will “provide guiding principles to help you plan, shop, and prepare meals that fuel your body with the nutrients necessary to be your best. We’ll discuss updated food labels, portions, how to outsmart the grocery store and more to help you build a better meal, one choice at a time.” Each participant will receive a divided plate with cover (great for packing a healthy lunch). If you are hungry for more information, check out the Common Health website or email us at

Physical Wellness: Put it Into Practice

How do you define Physical Wellness for yourself personally? Do you incorporate nutrition into your daily diet, go to the gym weekly, or maybe just take a walk/run daily? There are number of great ideas on being physical well and active, but what can we do to make it a goal or a daily habit in our lives? We will be showcasing several ideas this month on helping all of us become more physically well and the first suggestion is to just walk. Make an appointment with yourself and grab your walking shoes and some friends. Go explore Fredericksburg either by walking downtown or enjoying nature on the hiking trails or surrounding battlefields.

Another suggestion is to join the President Council on Wellness (PCOW) sponsored Mary Wash Moves Event or the PCOW Walking Wednesdays. Mary Wash Moves is a team of faculty and staff split up into 6 teams. Keep track of your steps during the month of October and the team with the highest average wins some great prizes. Join a team by writing your name on the team color tab you choose in the official tracking document. For more information, email

Walking Wednesdays is available for anyone who has free time between 1:00 and 2:00pm on any Wednesday. We start in front of Lee Hall and explore different routes across campus or downtown for about 30-45 minutes. PCOW will be putting more information out in the coming weeks about this easy, once a week walking event. Let’s start some healthy practices to become more physically well!

Wellness Sector Explained: Physical

The UMW President’s Council on Wellness would like to introduce one of the six dimensions on our Wellness Wheel: Physical. Being physically active is one of the more frequently thought of dimensions on wellness.  Physical Wellness is defined as “taking care of your body by partaking in healthy practices such as exercise, a nutritious diet, and getting adequate sleep. Acknowledging the importance of your physical surroundings and taking an active role in sustaining it.” Whether you are going for a walk or bike ride, playing a game of soccer with your kids, or doing yoga in the park, participating in any form of physical activity each day is a great way to stay active and healthy. Being physically active reduces the risk of various chronic diseases, helps you function better, and leads to higher quality of sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults require around 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week. What can you today to increase your “physical wellness”? Check out the Campus Recreation website at for some great ideas.

Employee Walking Challenge

Mary Wash Moves

UMW Employee Walking Challenge
Brought to you by the President’s Council on Wellness, Campus Recreation and UMW Human Resources

Let’s show off how much Mary Wash Moves! Grab your walking shoes and get ready to rack up the steps this year with your UMW colleagues.

How It Works:

  • Dates: October 1-31, 2019 | April 1-30, 2020 | July 1-31, 2020
  • Teams: There are six teams and up to 25 people per team. You may sign up for your team by writing your name on the team color tab you choose on the official tracking document.
  • How to win: Log your total steps walked each day in the official tracking document. The team color with the highest step average between all active team mates (anyone who logged any steps on any day during the challenge) by the end of the challenge wins!
  • How to track your steps: Use a FitBit, Apple Watch, iPhone, or other step tracking device!
  • Prize: A free lunch sponsored by Human Resources and a free fitness/wellness experience sponsored by Campus Recreation!

If you have further questions, please email