While care for others serves as a fundamental value of Ignatian spirituality, equally as significant is care for oneself, especially in terms of physical health. This spring, a new approach to I-Day explores the importance of healthy habits and the fulfilment of physical fitness, an essential component of the Jesuit profile.
Jesuit students experienced the second Igantian Day of the school year on Wednesday, March 20. The Spring Ignatian Day explored how the formation of healthy habits increases our overall wellness. A group of faculty from various departments worked together to create this Ignatian Day experience, which was integrated with the Jesuit Moodle site online. The student navigated through interactive pages that contained prayers, videos, and reflections to deepen their understanding of health.
Misconceptions About Fitness
Many students overlook the goal of physical fitness, viewing the topic through the narrow lens of athletic training and the visible changes to the body that come as a result. However, physical fitness represents a wide range of healthy habits, many of which involve actions unrelated to exercise, such as sufficient sleep, hydration, and a balanced diet. To some, these responsibilities seem petty compared to other aspects of the Jesuit profile, such as Intellectual Competence or Openness to Growth. However, without the fulfillment of these habits, seeking the magis becomes a challenge as students begin to juggle the events of their day upon a weak foundation of creeping illness, sleep deprivation, and a toxic attitude.
The Benefits of Good Health
Mr. TJ Howard remarked that by pursuing a healthy lifestyle, he is able to uphold a “positive attitude” throughout the day and serve as a “positive influence” on the Jesuit community. As part of our mission to help others, maintaining self-care proves essential to approach the day with enthusiasm, and extend a contagious attitude of positivity to the entire community.
In light of the growing allure of nicotine products, especially among teenagers, substance abuse creates even more obstacles along the path towards healthy living. Escalating for many to the point of addiction, the development of unhealthy habits generate destructive effects upon the body that negate the benefits of a good diet and moderate sleeping schedule.
Thankfully, Mr. Max von Schlehenried was able to reveal the damage caused by stimulant drugs that are commonly accepted as harmless in today’s culture, namely Adderall and Ritalin. Beyond legal risk, unprescribed consumption of such drugs can lead to permanent changes to the brain. While the “focus” effect of stimulants may create a feeling of enhanced memory and precise concentration, many studies find that stimulant use without just cause actually generate worse results in the classroom. Needless to say, ignorance towards the damaging consequences of drug abuse can blight the mission of all Jesuit students as we continue to strive for physical fitness.
In the context of our Jesuit spirituality, the examen serves as a trustworthy outlet for guidance in the formation of good habits by inviting God to accompany each of us on our journey towards a healthy life. So the next time you reflect on your day during the daily examen, ponder the daily choices that contribute to fitness, such as choice of breakfast, hydration, and previous night’s sleep. By reflecting on these crucial choices and taking our fitness seriously, we will all succeed in creating a positive Jesuit atmosphere, promoting holiness in health.
Special thanks to all of the faculty that contributed to this inspiring I-Day!