Wellness/Taking Care of Yourself at Convention

It is almost time for ACPA17! We hope that as you are creating your list of what to bring to Columbus, Ohio, USA, that you keep in mind what you will to do to take care of yourself at Convention. While there are many events and programs packed into just a few days, we do not expect you to do everything. In fact, we want everyone that attends the convention to take some time for themselves! To help everyone stay healthy and not become burned out at ACPA17, we have compiled a few tips for you:


  • Hydrate! Bring your own bottle and drink plenty of water to keep you energized and focused for the learning and networking opportunities. There are water fountains located throughout the Greater Columbus Convention Center and ACPA17 hotels (usually near the restrooms) for accessible hydration.
  • Rest. For those of you staying at a convention hotel, it will probably be easy for you to go back to you room to recharge when needed. Remember, that just because there are multiple events every night, does not mean that you should try to go to all of them and forget to sleep!
  • Slow down and reflect. Not only is reflection good for the learning process, it is also good for our health. Even the most well-oiled machine needs to take a day off every once in awhile. If you need a quiet space for this reflection, please visit the Prayer, Meditation, and Reflection Room. This room is available throughout the entire convention, and is sponsored by the Commission for Spirituality, Faith, Religion, and Meaning.  We also invite your to participate in the Reflection board and utilize the space under the Battelle escalators to take some time for yourself or reflect quietly with peers.
  • Eat Healthy. It is easy to ignore your basic needs when you are wired from stimulating conversations, so be sure to budget in time for meals and feel free to bring some snacks. There is a food court in the Convention Center, multiple restaurants within close distance, fantastic food options at the North Market just across High Street and a convenience store in the Convention Center as well.
  • Exercise. If you are staying at one of the convention hotels, this can be easy with equipment/rooms that are already on site. Pack some workout clothes and build this into your schedule, especially if this is part of your regular routine!


      1. What to get out and enjoy the fresh air? Get outside and enjoy the city.  There are parks and pathways close to the Convention Center.  Check out CrowdCompass or the ACPA17 Webpage for ideas
      2. Exercise safely. While there are a few paths near the Convention Center, we want everyone to be aware that Columbus is a city and we are located in a busy downtown area. Watch out for cars and other people!
      3. Exercise with others. If you are wanting to exercise with other professionals at the convention, check out #sahealth, #sawellness, and/or #safit hashtags on various forms of social media including those for ACPA17 Convention!


  • Connect. Most of us probably know at least one other person at the convention. Why not take some time to maintain or build that relationship? Connecting at ACPA17 not only gives us an outlet to recharge on site, but can give us someone with a shared experience to help reflect later!
  • Un-plug. Many higher education professionals are known to be reachable 24/7. However, we cannot focus on learning and connecting at the convention if we are still trying to do everything that we would during a normal week at work. If you are able to, try these tips:


      1. Out of Office. Set up an out of office response for your work email and voicemail so that others know you cannot respond right away.  Have a plan for who is managing some of your work tasks while you are away, and work with your supervisor to know the ones you will be responding to as well.
      2. Set time aside. Plan to check your work email once a day, and keep it at that. Triage what you can in that 30 minutes. The rest will still be there when you get home from ACPA17.
      3. Let students know. Do you work directly with student leaders that have your cell phone number? Make sure they know you are out of the office as well and may not be able to take their calls – or might not be as helpful as you aren’t as close to campus as usual.
      4. Divide and conquer. Is there someone (or multiple people) that can handle some of your daily work while you are at ACPA17? Set this up in advance and let colleagues know. Then make sure that this person is one of the first people you fill in on all of the great things you learned at ACPA17!


  • Don’t fall into the “vacation trap.” Calories still count the same, time still runs the same way, and sleep is still needed – just like at home!

Have other ideas on staying healthy at ACPA17? Share them using #ACPA17 on social media!

About the authors:

Nathan CheesmanMr. Nathan Cheesman serves on the Member Engagement committee for the ACPA17 Convention. Nathan has worked in Higher Education for the last decade in multiple functional areas. He currently is the Coordinator of Orientation and Student Leadership at the University of North Georgia. You can follow him on Twitter @H0mbreDeQues0.

Mrs. Liz Gordon-Canlas serves as the Local Arrangements chair for the ACPA 17 Convention. Liz has worked in worked in Higher Education for almost a decade, always in residence life and education work. She is currently an Assistant Director for Residence Life at The Ohio State University. You can follow her on Twitter at @LizGordonCanlas.

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