The week of Oct. 23 marked the first ever Hygge Week. Started by Professor of Psychology Dr. Lindsey Kennnedy as well as Seniors Jack Rindhal and Caroline Tague, Hygge Week, dedicated to the idea of coziness and comfort, is a part of a larger movement called the Hendrix Well-Being Initiative.
Dr. Kennedy decided to start this initiative after seeing the detrimental effect that stress can have on students at Hendrix.
“I could see how many people were struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, and yet many of them felt like they were alone in these feelings,” Dr. Kennedy said.
During her time away from Hendrix, after the birth of her daughter, Dr. Kennedy was able to dedicate more time to thinking about what a well-being program would actually be like. Once she returned to Hendrix and shared her ideas with students, many were excited to participate and contribute to this movement.
“This initiative is working to educate our community on the science of well-being and make self-care a goal that feels relevant and important to all of us, while also creating some sustainable well-being resources for our campus,” Dr. Kennedy said.
Hygge Week came out of ideas from the book “The Little Book of Hygge, ”by Meik Wiking. A cornerstone event of the week was the visit by Dr. Lahnna Catalino of Scripps College discussing the importance of “prioritizing positivy.” Besides events put on by Hygge itself, many clubs on campus put on events with conjunction with Hygge Week. Garden Club, French Club, Arabic Club, and others had events focused around comfort and de-stressing.
The HWBI doesn’t end with Hyyge week. Dr. Kennedy has a group of seven students helping plan and carry out various initiatives for an Undergraduate Research Odyssey Credit, as well as a group of ten students participating in a semester long wellbeing project and earning SP odyssey credit, who are reading books like “The Little Book of Hygge” and will eventually creating their own projects.
“My main goal for this initiative is just to start a campus-wide conversation about well-being and the importance of self care,” Dr. Kennedy said.
Next semester, Hendrix will welcome another speaker, Dr. Carrie Adair of Duke University Health System, who focuses her research on what to how to think about the future. Dr. Kennedy will also be putting together and sharing the results of the first annual campus well-being survey, which was emailed to all students earlier in September. She and other students will also be recruiting the first cohort of the Hendrix Well-Being Coalition to help coordinate and advertise programs around campus , as well as offering mental health first aid training sessions and setting up a well-being webpage for the college.
“I’d like to see us start talking about how we can change that thinking and support one another in better prioritizing our own wellness, in taking care of ourselves in a preventative, proactive kind of way instead of just when we’re sick,” Dr. Kennedy said.