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There could be surprises at the Healthy University workshops

From exercises for working more healthily to practical tips about getting a good night's sleep. Students and staff who take part in the Healthy University Workshops on 18 or 19 October will be given tips to suit their personal situation.

‘Everyone has something they would like to change,' says Leiden psychologist Winnie Gebhardt. She is an expert on changing health-related behaviour. On 18 and 19 October her master's students of Health Psychology are giving some surprising workshops as part of the Healthy University Days. Sign up now for the workshops.

Does the theory developed by the students also work in practice? According to Gebhardt, this is the purpose of the 'Health Promotion and Disease Prevention' course. Master's students of the Health and Medical Psychology specialisation study how you can change behaviour in populations and what conditions are needed for this. As a practical aspect of their programme, the students develop a number of workshops. Gebhardt says that the students used to go to secondary schools to communicate their findings and ideas to students through health lessons. For three years now, the students have been providing workshops for the staff and students of our own faculty. They not only discuss the latest scientific insights with participants, but also share practical tips.


Doing puzzles at the workshop

Healthy Faculty Days goes big

The workshops have been such a success in recent years that the Healthy Faculty Days are now going to become Healthy University Days. All employees of Leiden University and LUMC are welcome to participate in the interactive and dynamic workshops. The university's personnel monitor and national scientific research show that the workload is very high, and people easily spend eight to ten hours at work. So the question is: How can you organise your work in such a way that it becomes both healthier and more enjoyable for you in a very easy and natural way? That is what the workshops are all about.

The future

Joining the international Healthy University network is more than just about gaining membership, says Gebhardt. 'It is also an identity. We are a university that pays attention to everyone's health. By joining the network, we can participate in all the initiatives in this field. If students and staff become aware of the fact that we want to be a healthy university, they can also take this into account when organising a party or event, for example. Being healthy then even unconsciously becomes a norm.

‘I'm a member of a gym, but I don't like going’

When asked how healthy Gebhardt herself is, she points to her desk. When I look at my daily life, my workplace is actually my weakest spot, because it invites me to sit down and work on forever. That's why I now have a desk bike and a standing table so that I can move more while working. I don't smoke, I drink very little and I am a vegetarian. But also with me eating could be a bit healthier. I don't enjoy intensive exercise. I'm a member of a gym, but I don't like going, so I'm not there very often. That's why I try to be as active as possible throughout the day. I rarely take the car; I walk and I cycle everywhere. I love walking and it's not as boring as running on a treadmill. Finally, I meditate daily. I like to start the day consciously. Early in the morning I take twenty minutes to focus on breathing and to enjoy pure silence. For me it is also a moment of balance and gratitude. It helps me appreciate being healthy!

Text: Sahra Almahmood
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