The Wellness & Sustainability Committee is focused on fostering wellness and creating a more sustainable school for students, faculty, and staff. All students, faculty, and staff are welcome to join. If you’re interested in joining the committee, have ideas you’d like to share, or just want to learn a bit more, please contact Joonie Kim or Emily Chow.
Weekly Stretch Sessions (10-15 minutes)
Are you interested in starting your week with your body feeling good and cared for? Please join us as Kimberly Henderson leads 15 minutes of guided stretching each Tuesday morning between 9:30 and 10:00am! We begin at Berkeley time at 9:40am. – Motivational and relaxing feel good music – Simple, guided stretching – Opening the back, hands, arms, and feet If you’re interested, contact Kimberly Henderson to be added to the bCal!
Berkeley Public Health 5K Challenge RunWalkHikeMove
Every week, we challenge you to move! Whether that means running, walking, hiking, dancing, or snapping your fingers along with your favorite songs, the weekly challenge is to complete a 5K or the equivalent of movement (30-60 minutes). Enter your results each week!
Other ways to stay active
For other ways to stay active, like free workout classes (including virtual classes!) and other resources, tips, and tricks, check out
Plant/Gardening Share and Learn
Plant-minded friends, come join us to share about our indoor and outdoor gardening adventures! Talk about your favorite plants and favorite planting tips and learn from others as well. We meet every other Friday at noon. If you’re interested in joining, you can find event information on the SPH Community Calendar or please contact Joonie Kim or Emily Chow.
- SPH Ergonomics: If you need an ergonomics evaluation or consultation, contact Paul McCue in SPH Facilities.
- Ergonomics Tips for Working at Home
- Computer and Desk Stretches
- Pre-Approved Product List
- More Ergonomics Resources
Viewing the Computer
Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.
- Location of computer screen – Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
- Reference materials – These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.
- Lighting – Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.
- Anti-glare screens – If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Seating position – Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.
- Rest breaks – To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.
- Blinking – To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.
Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.
The Wellness & Sustainability Committee has worked on a number of fun sustainability-oriented projects like hosting Clean Air Day Challenges and hosting a Freecycle Event to encourage the SPH community o share and reuse items instead of sending them to the landfill. If you want to help with SPH’s sustainability initiatives or have ideas to share, please contact Emily Chow. You can also check out the Office of Sustainability to learn more about sustainability initiatives across campus.
Reminder to practice self-care during challenging heat spells. A few things you might consider:
- Be flexible with your schedule. For example, you might block off some time in your calendar or avoid having meetings during the hottest part of the day (usually midday) when you may have trouble focusing.
- Be flexible with your colleagues. They may be adjusting their schedules because of the heat as well.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they can add to dehydration. Make drinks extra refreshing on a hot day by adding ice. You could even make yourself a cold smoothie with frozen fruits and veggies – nourishing, hydrating, and tasty!
- Take it easy. Keep strenuous activity to a minimum, especially during the hottest parts of the day. But do still try to take some activity breaks to stretch, walk, or give your eyes a computer break – it’ll help boost your mind and your body.
- Take care of others. Use the buddy system to check in on colleagues, friends, and family who might be struggling because of the heat, and have them do the same for you.
- If you have a pet, keep a close eye on them as animals are good at hiding pain and discomfort. Give them plenty of fresh water (maybe put an ice cube in it!) and set up a fan so they can cool down. If you have a dog, try to walk them early morning or in the evening when it’s cooler, and remember that the pavement can get hot and burn their paws.
- Extreme heat can often lead to power outages. Don’t be in the dark, learn how to prepare at www.ready.gov/power-outage and sign up for outage alerts with your electricity provider.
For more information, please visit the University Health Services website. For staff and students working or participating in outdoor activities, please check out the Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) website.
Poor Air Quality
The air quality may be poor due to wildfires. If the air is smoky, try to:
- Monitor the air quality using the AirNow tool from the U.S. EPA.
- Stay indoors as much as possible with windows, doors, and chimney dampers closed.
- Set air conditioning units to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
- Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, if you have one.
- If you don’t have the funds to buy a HEPA filtered air purifier, here is a do-it-yourself idea to make an air filter that may improve air quality in your space.
- Berkeley perk: A team dedicated to employee health and wellness | Berkeley News
- Ergonomics | University Health Services
- Exercise is Medicine: A Global Health Initiative
- Faculty and Staff Wellness | University Health Services
- Systemwide WellBeing Initiative | UCnet
- UC Berkeley Recreational Sports
- UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability
- University Health Services calendar