Well-Being in Your School or Department

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Explore ways to foster a culture of well-being in Columbia schools and departments.

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Office of Work/Life Resources

The Office of Work/Life develops and delivers departmental, school-wide, or building-wide well-being workshops, programs, and initiatives to Columbia faculty and staff.  Please note, these programs are remote during fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Request a Workshop or Program

Programs & Initiatives

As part of the EAT 5 Initiative, the Office of Work/Life is partnering with the company, Field Goods, to bring farm-fresh produce to Columbia University!  Field Goods delivers fruits and vegetables from small and regional sustainable farms directly to your department or school.  Weekly fruit and vegetable orders are customizable and come with tasty recipes to take home!  

*Field Goods was founded by Donna Williams, Columbia Business School, Class of ‘93

Duration: 6 weeks or more
Cost: Minimum order of $16 per week with the option to pause or cancel subscription at any time
Minimum Enrollment: 20 participants 

The Healthier Columbia Food and Beverage Program offers food, beverage and nutrition recommendations that foster a healthier eating pattern for the Columbia community.  Resources are available to support better food and beverage choices in various food environments.

Learn more about how to adopt a healthier and more sustainable food environment in your school or department. The Office of Work/Life is available to consult on these recommendations and guidelines.

The Healthy Lifestyle Challenge (HLC) is a worksite wellness program developed by the Office of Work/Life that encourages Columbia employees to make positive changes that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. As an additional benefit, the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge serves to create increased levels of inter- and intra-departmental social exchange and contributes to a positive work culture.

Why Do It?
Chronic conditions are among the leading causes of death in the United States although they are largely preventable with behavior adjustments.

Program Aims:

  • Increase employee satisfaction, energy, and overall health
  • Increase level of intra-departmental social exchange and positive work culture

When Is It?
Weekly challenges are developed for a five-week period of time. Including registration and awards, the program lasts seven weeks total.


How It Works:
Each week, employees will be challenged to adopt or maintain a healthy lifestyle behavior.  

  • Week 1 - EAT 5: Eat five cups of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Week 2 - MOVE 30: Exercise for 30 minutes a day
  • Week 3 - TAKE 10: Take the time to relax at least 10 minutes each day
  • Week 4 - SLEEP 7: Sleep seven hours a night
  • Week 5 - 4 ME: Take care of yourself with daily health habits

How to Launch the Program:
Designate someone to coordinate a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge in your department or school.  Have the coordinator contact the Office of Work/Life to register, discuss logistics, receive materials, and set up the participant registration survey.

The Take the Stairs campaign encourages the Columbia community to choose the stairs instead of the elevator as a quick way to get physical activity and save electricity.  

The Mount Kilimanjaro Take the Stairs Team Challenges are designed to encourage physical activity, promote good health, and save electricity, while working together as a team.

Why do it?

If able, stair climbing has many benefits:

    Taking the stairs is good for the environment because it conserves electricity.
    Using the stairs is often faster than waiting for the elevator, especially during peak times. Typically, taking the stairs for trips of 7 floors or less is the fastest way to get to your destination.
    Walking up the stairs burns around 700% the number of calories burned standing in an elevator.
    Being active is healthy for your heart, muscles, and bones! Taking the stairs can improve cardiovascular health, good cholesterol, bone density, and muscular strength.
    Overall, being physically active can benefit your physical, mental, and cognitive well-being. Using the stairs can provide you with an energy boost during stressful times.
    How It Works:

Challenge teams of colleagues to ‘virtually climb’ Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (2,578 flights; 38,680 steps) in 28 days.

How to Launch the Program
Designate someone to coordinate a Take the Stairs Challenge in your department or school.  Have the coordinator contact the Office of Work/Life to register, discuss logistics, and receive materials.  
 

   

Yoga@Work is a challenging yet relaxing yoga experience focused on increasing flexibility, strengthening mind and body, and improving range of motion through postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation and meditation techniques. All levels welcome.

Instructor: Evelyn Pate, Registered Yoga Teacher, has been teaching yoga since 2011 and has a base training in Anusara Yoga, a therapeutic and heart-themed alignment practice.  She is known to the Columbia community for leading the Walk to Wellness Program at Manhattanville and yoga classes at the NYP/Plus One Fitness Center, CUMC.  

Format: Workshop or a longer series (5-8 weeks).
Duration: 1 hour.
Fee: There is a small fee to cover the instructor’s time.
Note: This program is offered in partnership with Columbia Physical Education and Recreation. Comfortable, loose-fitting work attire or exercise clothes recommended.

The CU Fitness Challenge is a mobile fitness challenge developed to help participants improve their physical fitness by engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. The challenge is hosted on a mobile app, MoveSpring, so participants can manually enter their activity minutes on-the-go or sync with a fitness tracker or wearable device. Participants can stay in touch throughout the challenge through the chat function on the app where they can share their challenges, successes, favorite workout tunes, or to simply check in.

Why Do It?
Physical activity helps you feel better, function better, sleep better and is good for your overall health, but many of don’t know where to begin.  By participating in this challenge, participants will learn new and fun ways to maintain activity throughout the week while building connections with colleagues.

How it Works
Participants are challenged to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every day.  This can be fulfilled by engaging in an online workout, going for a power walk or jog, completing household chores like vacuuming or mowing the lawn, and so much more.  The challenge can be hosted as a team or individual challenge.

How to Launch the Program
Designate someone to coordinate a CU Fitness Challenge in your department or school. Have the coordinator contact the Office of Work/Life to register, discuss logistics, and onboarding.

Workshops

Chair Yoga@Work is a restorative yoga experience focusing on relaxation practices such as stretching and breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. Chair Yoga@Work can be done in any office or conference room.  All levels welcome.

Instructor: Evelyn Pate, Registered Yoga Teacher, has been teaching yoga since 2011 and has a base training in Anusara Yoga, a therapeutic and heart-themed alignment practice.  She known to the Columbia community for leading the Walk to Wellness Program at Manhattanville and the lead instructor for Yoga@Work.  

Format: Workshop 

Duration: 30-60 minutes

Fee: There is a small fee to cover the instructor’s time. 

Note:  This program is offered in partnership with Columbia Physical Education and Recreation. Recommended attire is comfortable, loose fitting work attire or comfortable exercise clothes.  
 

The EAT 5 Nutrition Initiative offers a series of nutrition workshops to help participants increase fruits and vegetable intake to get closer to reaching the goal of eating five cups per day.  Each workshop includes an interactive nutrition session, food demonstration with tasty samples, recipes, and educational handouts.  

Workshops include:

  • Start Your Day, the EAT 5 Way
  • Time for Lunch, the EAT 5 Way
  • Snacking, the EAT 5 Way
  • Shake Up Smoothies, the EAT 5 Way
  • EAT 5, Holiday Sides

EAT 5 Nutrition Instructor: Daniela Elazari, RD, CDN, is the Director of Well-Being in Columbia University’s Office of Work/Life. She is a Registered Dietitian in NYC with over 9 years of experience in the field, specializing in weight management, mindful eating, and nutrition to optimize overall health and well-being. 

Format: Workshop or a longer series (3-5 sessions).
Duration: 45 minutes-1 hour workshops.
Fee: There is a small fee to cover the cost of food and supplies.

Much has changed over the past few months in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic as working remotely has become standard for most of us. Adjusting to this new work/life reality has meant finding innovative ways to structure our days, engineering our own home offices, learning ways to be active, and so much more. Join us for this webinar as we dish best practices and ask you to share yours too, as together we learn how to thrive in a remote work setting.

Format: Workshop
Duration: 45 minutes
Instructors: Daniela Elazari, RD CDN, Director of Well-Being, Office of Work/Life 
Kevin Myers, MS, AEP, ATC, Campus Ergonomist, CUHR
Fee: No fee
 

Take a break and reset mid-day with the University’s Ergonomist, Kevin Myers. Each virtual session starts with stretches aimed to lengthen and restore muscles, followed by guided imagery meditation to relax the mind and body. After participating, you can continue on with refreshed muscles and a new perspective as you take on the day
 
Format: Guided Practice
Duration: 30 minutes
Instructor: Kevin Myers, MS, AEP, ATC, is a Certified Athletic Trainer who holds a Master of Science in Ergonomics and Biomechanics from New York University. Kevin takes a holistic approach to workplace wellness by connecting the worker’s mind, body, and surrounding environment to enhance overall health and well-being.
Attire: Athletic attire not required
Fee: No fee
 

 Nutrition is not just about what we eat, but why and how we eat too. Join us as we explore the many benefits and practices of mindful eating, including tuning into our hunger cues, experiencing food through all the senses, and noticing the many food stimuli around us. We’ll end with a mindful eating exercise so bring a fun sized food that can fit on the palm of your hand like a raisin, piece of chocolate, or your favorite nut. 

Format: Workshop
Duration: 45 minutes
Instructor: Daniela Elazari, RD, CDN, is the Director of Well-Being in Columbia University’s Office of Work/Life. She is a Registered Dietitian in NYC with over 9 years of experience in the field, specializing in weight management, mindful eating, and nutrition to optimize overall health and well-being. 
Fee: No fee

While minds were made to think, sometimes our wandering minds can drive us far away from the present moment.  By practicing mindfulness we can bring our awareness back to the present moment, offering an opportunity to reenergize and achieve greater clarity and intention.  Join Evelyn Pate, Registered Yoga Therapist and Meditation Practitioner, to explore the challenges and benefits of mindfulness,  practice meditation, and so much more.

Format: Workshop 

Duration: 45 minutes

Fee: There is a small fee to cover the instructor’s time. 

The Office of Work/Life can coordinate with Humana, Columbia University’s Employee Assistance Program to offer workshops that cover a wide range of wellness topics including but not limited to:

  • Stress management
  • Positive psychology
  • Sleep health
  • Office ergonomics

These workshops are led by consultants hired by Humana and are typically one hour in length.  

Additional Resources

Subscribe your department or school to the Office of Work/Life Well-Being Newsletter to receive information about upcoming well-being programs and events, as well as motivational and educational emails.    

Are you responsible for purchasing food and beverages for your department or school? Learn about the Columbia Recommended Food and Beverage Standard and find tools on making a healthy purchase for your team or group.

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Columbia University Resources

In addition to our own programs and initiatives, learn about other Columbia wellness programs and resources.

The Learning and Development Office offers custom classes for individual departments.

Columbia University recognizes the growing demands on faculty and staff who have both professional and personal responsibilities as well as the increasing challenge of finding new and better ways to effectively manage people, time, space, and workload.  Flexible work arrangements (FWA's) are a critical resource for maintaining job satisfaction and quality of life among Columbia University staff.  FWA's may promote productivity, enhance job satisfaction, enable recruitment and retention of valuable staff, and reduce greenhouse emissions consistent with the University's environmental goals.

Visit this website for detailed information.

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External Resources

Looking for more? Here are resources outside of Columbia.

Visit the CDC’s website for further information about workplace health promotion.

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