Background, Foundation and Getting Started
The Strolls for Well-being at ISU have been created to offer opportunities to practice mindfulness by pressing pause and taking a break. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or simply need to step away from your workspace, the Strolls are here for you. Whether you have 30 minutes or 5 minutes, these materials have been designed to be flexible and fit into your schedule. So, pick a pause, a stroll or step away from your space and ‘pause where you are’ – it is up to you. These mindfulness practices offer ideas of campus locations to go, reflection questions to ponder and simply strategies to get you into the present moment. Make the time to take a few deep breaths, notice the natural beauty around you and simply ‘be’ for a few moments.
On this page you will find:
- The Background and Benefits
- The Purpose and Intention
- How to Get Started - The First Steps
- Beginning Your Stroll
- Acknowledgements and Special Gratitude
The Background and Benefits
We know that making time for self-care and well-being supports more balance in work-life and the ability to enjoy the present moment with happiness and wonder. The Strolls for Well-being at ISU program is a joint effort by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and ISU WellBeing to bring more mindfulness opportunities to campus. This program is based on the Stroll for Well-Being and Healing Gardens Walk program at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Florida. We thank the staff for their time, knowledge, and resources that they shared to make this program a reality at ISU. Research studies done at Morikami, and other locations, show that people who practice mindfulness regularly feel a great sense of calm during their day. Other benefits you might experience are:
- Reduce your stress level
- Boost your immune system
- Improve your concentration
- Help you be less reactive in difficult situations
We know that making time for a formal practice does not work for everyone and many people prefer alternatives that are flexible and fit into their schedule. All these things were taken into consideration as we began creating the Strolls for Well-Being at ISU. We will continue to reach out for feedback and insights as we continue to evolve these materials and opportunities to best serve our ISU community and beyond.
The Purpose and Intention
The strolls and pauses are designed to support you as you experience stress, anxiety, when you are generally overwhelmed or simply need a break. Each pause offer contemplation and an intentional connection with nature’s beauty and bounty that exist on our amazing ISU Campus. As you continue to explore the strolls and pauses over time, we believe that you will notice a difference in your attitude and ability to adjust to life’s unpredictable situations, uncertainty, and constant change.
How to Get Started: The First Steps
First, decide on how much time you have for this experience. Depending on your location, a pause could be done in around 15-20 minutes and a full stroll (six pauses) could take up to an hour.
Next look at the Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer maps (with photos to help find your way) and identify where you would like to go for a pause or start your stroll. You do not need to start at pause one - that is only for convenience in creating the maps to number the pauses. You pick which pause you want to start with, or if you only have time to do one pause - start at where it works for you.
There are now four seasons of Strolls available. Fall has three Strolls with the themes of – Awareness, Connection, and Transition. Winter has three Strolls with the themes of - Journey, Possibility and Gratitude. Spring has three Strolls with the themes of - Joy, Forgiveness and Trust. Summer has three Strolls with the themes of - Reflection, Fulfillment and Freedom. Each season's three Strolls utilize the same six pause locations on campus. There are six different pauses for each season - Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each the twelve themed Strolls is different in the quotes used, choices of reflection and has an intentional focus based on the theme.
If you decide you only have time for a single pause right now, then choose one of the themed strolls and look at the various pauses. At each pause, there is a reflective prompt and either an opportunity to connect to your physical senses or a mindful movement, plus a blank area for you to jot down your thoughts with words or images. Pick a pause that is a location and reflection that sound interesting and go and explore!
Beginning Your Stroll
Find a comfortable place where you can start at the location you have decided on. Once you are there, stop and take a few deep breaths, noticing and being grateful for the air coming into your body to support you. As you exhale, breathe out all the stress and tension you may be feeling or holding inside.
As you begin, notice the two intentions that are offered by Strolls for Well-being at ISU. One intention is to notice the physical path as you walk, the natural wonders all around and the amazing art displayed on campus. The other intention is a contemplative path as you reflect on past, present and future aspects of your life.
As you prepare to start, begin to quiet your mind. Put aside thoughts of schedules, to-do lists and other responsibilities. Come into this present moment– be right here, right now. Bring your full attention to the experience and the reflective opportunities.
The Strolls for Well-being at ISU program is a joint effort by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and ISU WellBeing to bring more mindfulness opportunities to campus. Visit the CELT or ISU WellBeing websites for more information.
Special thanks to all that have made this program possible:
Sue Tew-Warming of ISU WellBeing for research and development
Karen Couves of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) for research and development
Halee Olson of University Human Resources for design and editing
Nora Hudson of Recreation Services for mindful movement ideas
Lilah Anderson and Sydney Marshall of University Museums for history of the art pieces at the pauses
Inspiration and guidance from the staff of Morikami MuseumandJapanese Gardens