Discover Your Benefits

Columbia University offers a comprehensive benefits package to support your everyday needs and life events. You might be surprised to learn how many benefits plans and resources the University provides to you and your family everyday—as well as when the unexpected happens.

Total Well-being

Total Well-being

This month we’re highlighting the extensive programs available to support physical, mental, financial and social well-being. Plus easy steps you can take today in your wellness journey to enhance every aspect of your life.

What is Well-being? Simply, well-being is being and feeling well, physically, mentally, financially and socially. It’s the experience of health and happiness, social connection, engagement and having a sense of purpose. These aspects of wellness work in tandem—a healthy mind is connected to a healthy wallet, and so forth. When you are well, life is at its most satisfying. 

Ways to increase well-being and live your best life: 

Well-being is most often equated with physical health, but that’s just one element of total wellness. Mental health plays an equal role. Your Columbia benefits include resources to help keep you emotionally healthy: 

  • LifeCoach: A coach will help you develop a personalized program to help you achieve your lifestyle goals. This free, personalized coaching is available to you by phone. Call 855-290-2655.

  • Counseling: A counselor will help you work through a specific topic such as stress, anxiety, relationship issues, etc. You have access to up to three free sessions per topic which are confidential and available 24/7. Call 888-673-1153.

Mobile apps available at discounted rates through the EAP (and also from the App Store or Google Play):

  • Talkspace: Confidential and secure mental health support. Users can send text, video and audio messages to dedicated therapists from anywhere, at any time.

  • Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation and mindfulness programming to tackle life’s ups and downs.

  • Five-Minute Journal: Simple, directed journaling exercises to help users focus on the good in their lives.

*You do not need to be covered by a Columbia medical plan to take advantage of the EAP.

The warmer months are a great time to kick-start healthy routines that you can carry through the year: 

  • Visit a farmer’s market. They’re a great way to ensure your food is fresh and locally produced, connect with your community and get kids involved in their nutrition. Find a market near you

  • Join a free fitness class with Shape Up NYC

  • Take advantage of exercise and nutrition programs, and discounts. If you are enrolled in the Aetna Columbia Dental plan, you have access to wellness resources, including personal trainers, health coaches, weight management programs, gym memberships and nutrition counseling. For more information, visit the secure member website: aetna.com.

Check out fitness discounts on the Columbia Office of Work/Life website for more.

Stay in the know about H2O

Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Stay hydrated. Hydration helps you feel focused and energized, while helping your body function at its best. Avoid dehydration by drinking water throughout the day. Water carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, lubricates your joints, removes waste and much more. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If you think you’re not getting enough water, go to the CDC Water and Nutrition page to learn more.

  • Swim safely. Pool? Ocean? Lake? Wherever you enjoy swimming, take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you, including testing the water for the proper pH and chemical levels, checking for proper drain covers and helping to keep it clean.

Financial well-being—the health of your finances—can be as important to your mental and emotional well-being as physical health. It includes managing debt, living within your means, saving for housing, education and other big expenses and retirement planning. 

Establishing financial goals and a plan to reach them can be a valuable first step toward financial wellness. Through Columbia’s EAP, you can speak with a financial or legal counselor, as well as access a do-it-yourself document preparation resource with hundreds of state-specific legal forms such as wills, living wills and power of attorney.  

Your Columbia benefits also offer support for planning related to your finances before and during retirement. Officers and Support Staff have access to helpful resources, including free individual, confidential counseling sessions through TIAA and Vanguard, along with workshops for financial, investment, retirement and estate planning. 

Do you feel a positive boost after lunch with friends or walking to the subway with a coworker? You can thank serotonin, a chemical credited with making you feel good. For most people, serotonin is released in positive social settings. Here are two activities sure to boost your seratonin: 

  • Velocity: A University-sponsored bike ride to end cancer. Join a team and ride; help sponsor a team; or, volunteer at the event. Four distance options—62.5 (100K), 45, 25 or 10 miles—along a fully-supported route that finishes at CUIMC. You’ll feel good about contributing to the fight against cancer, exercising and engaging with colleagues and friends. Learn more. 

    Ready to ride? Columbia faculty and staff who sign up between July 29 and August 2 can waive the $75 registration fee.* Use code: THANKYOU19

  • Walk to Wellness: Get active during the workday by exploring your campus with a Walking Map as a guide. Look for notices of instructor-led walks on the Morningside, Manhattanville and Medical Center campuses. 

  • Wellness Coaching: If you are on a University medical plan, you can meet one-on-one with a wellness coach to help you be more active, eat better, reduce stress and more.  Go to the UHC Wellness Coaching page to sign up.

  • The Office of Work/Life offers a number of programs, workshops and well-being initiatives. Learn more.


*Fundraising minimums still apply.

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