Gabriella Pinos/Assistant Entertainment Director
Relax. Feel good. Be well. This is what FIU’s Healthy Living Program hopes to encourage within the University’s population.
Located in the Student Health Center, HLP offers programs and services that are free for all FIU students, ranging from stress management consultations to energy therapy and crystal healing.
“We really pride ourselves on trying to provide as many different types of services for students so that they can discover what works well for them,” said Victoria Gonzalez, health educator at HLP.
When it comes to physical and mental health, the staff at HLP want students to experiment with their health through their complementary services.
Most of the students who visit the program, for instance, display symptoms of stress, according to Gonzalez. The program’s stress management consultations help students understand and reflect on the root of their problem, which may encourage them to make changes in their behavior. In these cases, accepting and assuming accountability for a stressful situation allows students to move on.
“That is really important because it can definitely minimize the amount of time that you are stressed out in a situation and that will reduce your symptoms, short term and long term,” said Gonzalez.
Students are also referred to HLP from Counseling and Psychological Services to get a more well-rounded approach to health and wellness. The program’s most popular services, which include massages and aromatherapy, revolve around mental health.
“Mental health to us has a lot to do with self-awareness and understanding,” said Gonzalez. “What we do is target behavior change.”
While HLP is mainly focused on the mental wellbeing of students, the program also provides services related to physical health and dieting. Gonzalez, along with Giselle Garces, HLP’s registered dietitian, promoted eating habits that individual needs and encouraged mindful eating.
“Mindful eating is basically intuitive eating, listening to your body and understanding different signs and signals that your body gives you about food,” said Gonzalez.
Students may also not know how to eat fruits or vegetables that they may otherwise enjoy, said Gonzalez. She encouraged students to try different ways of eating fruits and vegetables and to try a variety of foods from different food groups.
“We tend to think that healthy eating is only eating boiled chicken and brown rice and broccoli, but when you eat that every single day, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Eating as many different types of food as possible is really the healthiest thing you could do,” said Gonzalez.
In Spring 2019, HLP plans on hosting three different types of workshops, including an aromatherapy series where students will learn about the benefits of essential oils and a stress management workshop. Four workshops on the different dimensions of wellness – physical, emotional, intellectual, social, occupational, environmental, financial and spiritual – will also take place from February to April.
For online students, HLP currently offers video content on YouTube and IGTV, as well as a podcast, “The Healthy Minute,” on iTunes and SoundCloud. As for everyone at FIU, Gonzalez invited students to try as many services as are available at HLP.
“Try as much as you can that interests you, try to push through the fear of going to that yoga class if you know you’ve always wanted to try a yoga class. It takes as much as just walking into the gym and continuing to walk to continue to get there and trying it out,” said Gonzalez.
For more information on the Healthy Living Program, visit go.fiu.edu/hlp.
Photo by Gabriella Pinos.