Each year, SEVEN participants log wellness activities for points. Not only do these activities help their personal wellness, but participants also compete for top overall point earners.

Wellness is a very personal topic that means something a little different to everyone. In addition, everyone struggles with finding time to make themselves a priority and dedicate time to their own well-being. However, as most SEVEN participants know, tracking activities and a little friendly competition go a long way.

Winners Jen Stewart and Maureen Parker have overcome a lot in their quest for health. From overcoming brain tumors to planning a wedding on top of impending graduation, our 2013-2014 winners are nothing short of amazing.

Student winner: Jen Stewart

Two-time student winner and environmental health major Jen Stewart works in wellness whenever she can in order to balance the demands of a busy life. From serving as a teaching and research assistant and planning a post-graduation internship to planning a wedding, Stewart credits wellness with helping her stay sane.

One of her favorite ways to be active is walking, noting that it’s ecofriendly and a great way to relax. Meditation is another regular activity that helps Stewart relax and ensures she’s addressing more than just the physical aspects of wellness. Adopting the “use it or lose it” mentality, Stewart also sees wellness as an important way to live a healthy life and prevent certain diseases.

How does SEVEN help you on your road to wellness?
It has helped me to keep track of my activities and keep a calendar (somewhat) of what my daily activities have been.

What is your favorite thing about SEVEN?
The competition and the feeling when I have met a goal, such as the incentive to meet a certain point total goal for a monthly prize. I also really like that the program incorporated all levels of wellness, not just fitness. Personally, I hate running. Ever since I injured my knee, I have developed a fear somewhat of running, jogging, and even cycling at times. I have learned to adapt my fitness levels to try to rehabilitate over time with SEVEN.

Has SEVEN helped you have a broader sense of wellness?
After two years of participating, I would say so. I was more involved my second year and was able to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of my personal fitness levels, where I want to be, where my health is, and where I want to be.

What advice can you share with someone to help them on their wellness journey?
Do something you love. Set goals for yourself, and give yourself a reward when you meet them—and make them fun! Mostly, just keep trying and never give up. The only person standing in the way and keeping you from your wellness goals is yourself. No matter what anyone, including yourself, may think, you CAN do it!

Employee winner: Maureen Parker

Maureen Parker is an administrative clerk in the School of Music who has participated in SEVEN for more than five years. As a brain tumor survivor, Parker does not take her health for granted and works hard to make wellness a priority.

This often means getting up and taking 5:15 a.m. classes so that she doesn’t find an excuse to not exercise later in the day. One of Parker’s favorite activities is yoga, as she finds it a great way to refocus her mind and pull herself into a peaceful place.

How does SEVEN help you on your road to wellness?
The tracking of activities helps me to not only maintain my schedule of activities, but it also helps to remind me of those dimensions in which I have a deficit and need to pay more attention to.

What is your favorite thing about SEVEN?
Tracking my activities. I am an accountant, so this is a comfort zone for me! I love all the classes that are offered through wellness, too.

Has SEVEN helped you gain a broader sense of wellness?
Yes, it has let me meet other people who have different views in the group classes that have opened my mind and let me try some new activities.

What advice can you share with someone to help them on their wellness journey?
Never give up or compare yourself to somebody else! Always keep trying and your rewards will be countless. If we are not embracing the gift of wellness through whatever activities we choose, we are only denying ourselves the gift of comfort and health we obtain through it.

Join SEVEN and discover wellness at Illinois State

Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environment, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive the SEVEN newsletter and information on campus wellness events.

For more information, visit Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/Seven.