Amidst the conversation and activities of the Duke Employees Wellness Expo every year, Annette Olsen can be found having a quiet moment with attendees.
Over the course of about seven minutes, Olsen, a chaplain for Duke Health, counsels Duke staff and faculty on how to better their spiritual well-being. Often that means teaching them routines – breathing exercises, walks and other rituals – that can be done from 10 seconds to 10 minutes every day.
“Resilience and all the health benefits that come from meditation or mindful breathing, they come from a consistent practice,” Olsen said. “It’s not just respecting but caring for the human spirit. It’s just about being more mindful about being mindful.”
Spiritual counseling will be among many free services at the Wellness Expos for University and Health System employees on Sept. 18 at Duke Medicine Pavilion and Oct. 26 at the Fuqua School of Business Kirby Reading Room. Organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program, this year’s expos, “Wellness through the Senses,” showcases how hearing, smell, sight, taste and touch can be used to help with resiliency and well-being.
To incorporate wellness into each sense, offerings during each expo include aroma therapy, a soundscape with accompanying visual, chair massages and trail mix made by the LIVE FOR LIFE’s nutrition team. Staff and faculty can also get a free flu shot and comprehensive wellness screenings by a registered nurse during the expos.
“We try to highlight how many resources there are at Duke. A lot of people come to work and stay in their cube. They don’t see the greater scope of what’s happening here,” said Cassandra Callas, LIVE FOR LIFE health education specialist.
Other activities at the expo include: wellness screenings from registered nurses, body composition analysis and spiritual consultations. OIT’s IT Security Office, Fire & Life Safety and Duke University Police are among the 20 departments presenting about physical and digital safety at the expos.
“Health means more than just physical health, how much fruit you eat or how many miles you run,” said Nicholas Beresic, LIVE FOR LIFE health promotions manager. “There’s emotional health, spiritual health, intellectual health, environmental health.”
And that’s why people like Olsen return year after year to better Duke employees’ health.
“It’s really fun. People are laughing and engaging. It’s very enlivening,” Olsen said. “People just seem to be happy. It’s one of the most fun events of the year.”
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