The Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education planned and executed a Health and Wellness Professional Development Day for all staff on Monday.
A health and wellness committee, a division-wide initiative formed last year, decided to put funds toward the event – a health and wellness convention of sorts.
Nick Gale, principal at St. Mary’s School, is part of the health and wellness committee and spoke to the News about Monday’s event.
“Initially we had intended for this to be a full-on live day where all of our staff would come together, but unfortunately health restrictions have just made that not possible, and we’re now in the environment where we needed to go online,” said Gale.
The intention of the day was to provide informational sessions and opportunities to work on wellness.
“We tried to have things for people that are brand new to their career, or are coming up to the end of their career and maybe need some help with their pension,” said Gale. “If you are someone who is struggling physically we had some physical fitness sessions, if you’re struggling spiritually, we had some faith based sessions that could help you re-invigorate your faith. We tried to find something for everybody.”
Classes and breakout sessions listed online included Yoga with Kristin Carlson, Joyful Classroom with Dr. Trisha Sotropa, Cash Flow Management with Steve Meldrum, Healthy Meal Planning with Jennifer Paterson, Letting Christ Work Through You with Kathy Glasgo and Connecting to the Heartbeat through Powwow Music and Dance with Melissa Purcell, as well as many others.
Trevor Moore, who acted as the opening keynote speaker for the event, is a mindset coach.
“I was excited to be part of it,” Moore said. “I’m passionate about health and wellness and very much mental health. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about it is my own personal experience. I do have mental health struggles of my own that I’ve worked through and managed for the last 40 plus years. I’ve gone through a journey of chronic pain for the last ten years.”
During his keynote address, Moore said he spoke about moving from a “survive mindset” to a “thrive mindset,” where he believes people can operate more fully.
“In a survival mindset, you’re sort of stuck in the problem whereas with a thrive mindset you can focus more on the solution,” Moore explained. “When we have hiccups or hurdles or problems in our lives … we kind of put things aside and triage.”
Moore said COVID has caused many people to shift to and stay in survival mindset, and that it’s important to identify when in that frame of thinking so intentional changes can be made.
“It’s important to identify where our focus is, and if it’s so much on surviving the day and managing for tomorrow, rather than pursuing goals, pursuing joy, pursuing dreams, then we’re not thriving.”
Gale said COVID has presented challenges for staff and their ability to care for their wellness.
“Clearly over the last 20 months within the COVID19 pandemic, it’s been very challenging to look after ourselves and I think we need to acknowledge that,” he said. “This has been a very trying time for all of us in any number of different ways. We’ve lost so much throughout all of this; we’ve lost social connections, we’ve lost the ability to go to the gym at times, we’ve lost the ability to celebrate our faith as we normally would.”
He said this event was an opportunity for staff to re-engage with health and wellness.
“We know that a successful staff is a healthy staff, and if there’s something we can do as Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education that can improve the health and wellness of our staff, we’d like to do it,” Gale said. “We’d like to make sure our staff are ready and willing to be their very best for our students.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News