This proves to be a busy year for Faculty of Education student Jason Wegner. Between completing PSIII level practicum at LCI high school, coaching football, and co-authoring the book, Manic Man: How to Live Successfully With a Severe Mental Illness with Dr. Kerry Bernes, Jason continues to maintain a healthy balance with his physical and mental well-being. Jason is no stranger to confronting challenges to one’s psychological well-being. He speaks openly about his experiences living with bipolar 1 disorder, counsels others with mental wellness techniques, and shares his remarkable story of triumph over mental trauma. Alongside his holistic approach to personal wellness, Jason emphasizes the importance of giving back to those around as a way to spark gratitude and foster wellness in the everyday.
Q: How do you define your personal sense of wellness?
To me wellness is when you feel good mentally and physically. Physical wellness is important because emotion comes from motion. So being able to exercise regularly and eating a healthy diet is integral to overall wellness.
Wellness is the feeling of health and happiness. Stress will always be there. But having the confidence that you can handle anything thrown your way—this is essential.
Q: What particular activities contribute most to your personal sense of wellness?
Giving back by working with teens at the high school level is important to my personal sense of wellness. Working with and mentoring kids on the football field, in the weight-room, and the classroom is also important. Simply being there for students matters—showing them that we as teachers care and that they are being heard. Trying to make others well is what makes me well. So always contributing while keeping an attitude of gratitude is my personal secret to wellness.
Q: Have your ideas of wellness and gratitude shifted at all during the current pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has given me a stronger sense of appreciation. Once restrictions were lifted, seeing friends and family and attending sporting events made me especially grateful. Even though we’ve gone back to restrictions things lost during the pandemic are really crystallized for me.
As for wellness: it is evident that isolation can do a lot of damage to people. So it's important to make the effort to stay connected with one another.
Q: What are you grateful for in this moment?
At this moment I am grateful that I am able to teach in the classroom as well as coach in the weight-room and help train athletes. I am grateful for my teaching placement. I am grateful for my mental and physical health. I am grateful that I have the privilege to share my story and connect with others.
Q: Do you have any plans that you are excited for in the near future?
I am excited to launch my book, Manic Man, and potentially be doing some book launch events in the near future. It is thrilling to be able to share my story with those who want to read it. Of course I’m also excited to be finishing my PSIII and graduating from the University of Lethbridge this winter. I look forward to a job interview in January.
Writer: Nicholas Tuff
Photos: Rob Olson and Jason Wegner
Manic Man: How to Live Successfully With a Severe Mental Illness is available at Chapters, Analog Books, the U of L Bookstore and on Amazon. Interviews related to Jason's book can be seen at Bridge City News, CTV, CTV (October 20, 2021), Global TV, and Lethbridge Herald.
Faculty of Education Wellness and Gratitude series:
• The Link Between Wellness and Gratitude: Dr. Robin Bright
• Wellness and Gratitude: "It’s honestly been a rollercoaster," Brae Clowes (BA/BEd ‘21)
• Wellness and Gratitude: "Although I hate the routine, I need the routine", Dan Grassick (BSc/BEd ‘02)
Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
• The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
• Wellness is Keeping Active, Both Mentally and Physically, Brae Clowes
• Wellness is The Joy of Cooking: Dr. Jeffrey MacCormack
• Wellness is Feeling Productive: Sally Leung (BA/BEd '17)
• Wellness is About Writing: Teri Hartman (BA/BEd '02, current MEd student)
• Wellness is Spending Time Outdoors: Dana Visser
• Wellness is Stillness: Jane O'Dea (dean emerita)
• Wellness is Coping with Stress Through Art and Music: Jenn Pellerin
• Wellness During the COVID-19 Experience, PSII, and Staying Connected: Kelsey Shoults
• Wellness is Being in the Moment: Kenneth Oppel
• Wellness is About Having a Consistent Routine: Alex Funk (BEd '17)
• Wellness is Spiritual: David Slomp
• Wellness is Ranching: Danny Balderson
• Coping with COVID-19: Harnessing our Natural Stress Response
• Coping with COVID-19: Loneliness
• The Intersectionality of Faith, Mental Health and Wellness for Racialized Populations During the Pandemic
For more information please contact:
Communications, Dean's Office
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
BecomeaTeacher.ca | BecomeaTeacherAssociate.ca | EdGradStudies.ca