Buckeye Wellness Innovators encouraging healthy habits through Well-Being Retreat

The Well-Being Retreat group all standing together smiling for a photo.
All of the participants at the Well-Being Retreat gather for a photo.
Food donations that were collected to help the Buckeye Food Alliance.
The group watches as two people test out the virtual reality goggles in front of the room.
Two representatives from the College of Engineering show participants how to use virtual reality goggles to practice meditation.
Helka Casey, psychiatric counselor with Ohio State’s EAP, presenting to the group about services available to them.

Administration and Planning (A&P) Buckeye Wellness Innovators (BWI) teamed up with A&P’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and headed to the beach for a well-being retreat. You read that right!

The retreat was designed to bring different groups together and focus on mental health and social well-being. Included on the agenda was a presentation from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), conversations around Buckeye Love and how to spread kindness, a collection for Buckeyes Food Alliance food donations and a relaxation demonstration with virtual reality (VR) headsets.

Nicole Holman, A&P BWI chair, said one of the reasons for the retreat was to provide an opportunity for staff to connect with one another in-person and learn about a variety of wellness resources on campus. “Wellness can mean something different to each of us, so it’s important to highlight ways we can access the resources that support the well-being of our campus community.”

A&P Diversity and Inclusion Council Leader, Casey Paris, talked about the importance of bringing the two groups together, “Getting together with people outside of our own team broadens horizons for everyone and gets us into a better space to meet new people,” she added. “It’s also a fun way to get together and work on things that are important to both groups and then each individual person gets to take this information back to their own departments and help make those places healthier and more inclusive.”

Helka Casey, psychiatric counselor with Ohio State’s EAP, shared an overview of service offerings available to staff, including mental health support, financial counseling as well as family and elder care options. “It’s important that staff feel supported and know how to reach our office in times of need.” Casey also introduced Bright Horizons, family concierge services that provides customized options to help staff manage work, life and family responsibilities.

Part of the retreat included turning off the outside world and turning on virtual reality headsets, taking people to a relaxation destination of their choice to spend time meditating. Instructional Design Specialist and BWI, Andy Vogel, said the College of Engineering is always trying to find ways to intersect innovative technology with health and wellness. “A lot of folks have maybe experimented or heard of meditation and VR, so we’re hoping to take advantage of that and use this to get people more interested and talking about their health,” he said. “It’s also about connecting people with the resources they have as a staff member or a student.”