LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2021) — To coincide with World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, 2021, Aramark launched its college and university focused TAKE15 program (#TAKE15, #TAKEYOUR15). This new health and wellness program is based on Aramark International’s annual TAKE15 initiative which originated in the United Kingdom. TAKE15 is being launched at the University of Kentucky to encourage students to take 15 minutes away from their study or work environment to unwind and recover from stress.
"As COVID-19 takes center stage around the globe, managing mental well-being has become even more crucial than ever," said Pulkit Vigg, resident district manager for UK Dining. "TAKE15 reminds us to intentionally take 15 minutes out of our busy schedules to focus on something that we love to do like exercising, cooking or going for a walk so we can revive, refresh and restore our body, mind and soul."
As part of Aramark’s Feed Your Potential 365 health engagement campaign, the goal of the TAKE15 program is to help encourage positive mental well-being in students' study and work environments with a focus on mindfulness. Students will be reminded of ways to do this through digital and in-unit promotions including social and blog content, printed and digital location signage, as well as interactive engagement activities. The three pillars informing the program include mindful eating, activity and exercise, and relaxation. These pillars will also allow for cross promotion of events already planned and sponsored by the college or university.
“Emotional well-being is an integral and essential component of holistic health, which makes the TAKE15 program more important than ever,” said Jenna Brott, Aramark registered dietitian. “Stress was a major factor before the pandemic for students, and COVID-19 has resulted in many of us having to completely change the way we live, work and interact with each other. The TAKE15 program will serve to nourish the whole person.”
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80% of students report feeling stressed sometimes or often. College students experience stress related to changes in lifestyle, increased workload, new responsibilities and interpersonal relationships. In January 2021, the American Heart Association, which Aramark supports through the Healthy for Life® initiative, published a scientific statement confirming that mental well-being is important for overall health and heart disease prevention and treatment. The American Heart Association specifically references mindfulness as a way to reduce stress, increase compassion and foster higher levels of well-being.
Additionally, broad research has shown benefits associated with rest. Taking breaks can reduce stress, improve memory, boost energy, improve overall health and enhance performance and creativity. The TAKE15 program includes an extensive toolkit with turn-key activation solutions for accounts to execute in various ways to support the mental and emotional well-being of everyone on campus.
TAKE15’s toolkit has been created to encourage 15-minute breaks, activities and practices that are encompassed within three pillars associated with improving mental and emotional well-being.
- MINDFUL EATING: Mindful eating is rooted in the practice of mindfulness, which is about consciously staying in the moment. This experience works on a psychological and emotional level to attain a healthy relationship with food, to create a healthful mental and emotional balance. It’s based on the five senses and explores the impact of sight, smell, taste, textures and sounds on food choices.
- ACTIVITY: Keeping active helps protect both physical and mental health. Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that makes people feel good — boosting self-esteem, helping concentration, as well as sleeping, looking and feeling better.
- RELAXATION: An important part of relaxing is reconnecting with the body and the sensations it experiences. Meditation can give a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both emotional well-being and overall health. Breathing exercises and restorative activities also contribute to relaxation.
“Aramark is more than a food service provider; we are an integrated hospitality partner,” said Jack Donovan, CEO of Aramark Higher Education. “The toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on all of us is staggering, and we want to encourage our community, particularly our students, to take the time — even if just 15 minutes a day — to focus on their own well-being and to prioritize the daily small actions each person can take that will reap large health benefits.”
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves the world’s leading educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, prominent health-care providers, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world with food, facilities and uniform services. Because our culture is rooted in service, our employees strive to do great things for each other, our partners, our communities and our planet. Aramark has been named to DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list, the Forbes list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity,” the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” and scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index. Learn more at www.aramark.com and connect with Aramark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.