Members of the Faculty of Education Wellness Committee are joined by faculty, staff, and students on a campus walk. L to R: Drs. Greg Ogilvie, Marlo Steed, Danny Balderson with Charlotte Hardy, Aaron Stout, Marie Lyle, Christy Audet, Dr. Elaine Greidanus, Suzanne Hepburn, and Amanda Langhorn. Photo taken in the fall of 2019 by Rob Olson.
In light of our current practices of self-isolation and physical distancing, how are we managing to stay healthy and safe? Over the next while we will spotlight what some folks are doing in terms of health and wellness, and we will also have some mental health advice from registered psychologist and associate professor in the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education, Dr. Dawn McBride. We hope these stories about alumni, current students, faculty, and staff will offer some helpful tips and takeaways for you. Perhaps our series might inspire you—however and where ever you may be situated—to continue or begin the practice of being well.
The University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education is embedding an overall focus on wellness into its program. “At the school level there have been comprehensive efforts to make health and wellness a priority,” says Aaron Stout (BA/BEd’07; MA Ed.’19) “We’re trying to reflect that.” Stout and Assistant Dean of Student Program Services, Dr. Danny Balderson, have spearheaded a committee to ensure students have knowledge and access to resources and activities that promote well-being across the spectrum. In 2019 the Wellness Committee hosted a health and wellness mini-conference in partnership with the Alberta Teachers Association Health and Physical Education Council’s Ever Active Schools and Alberta Health Services.
“If we give our students a grounding in health and wellness it translates into them bringing that with them and enhancing a focus on physical, mental and emotional well-being within the school system,” says Stout.
The many dimensions of wellness include social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical. Attention to each promotes a balanced life, both professionally and personally. Stout notes that each person’s path to wellness is unique. “Emotional well-being for one might mean quiet time and space to engage in reading, contemplation or meditation,” he says. “For me, those things come from going to the mountains or taking my dog for a run in the coulees.”
In the teaching profession well-being is essential, as educators juggle the demands of numerous and constantly shifting tasks. “Sometimes we develop the illusion that professionalism is all about work,” says Stout. “Fitness and well-being are just as important. We need to schedule breaks and be open and unapologetic about it.”
In addition, teachers are role models. “We talk about modelling all the time in education,” he says. “When we work with students, representing ourselves as whole people is important.”
For this reason, the Education faculty at the UofL endeavours to model health and wellness to pre-service teachers with the hope that they will share and model it with their own future students and colleagues, and—in a trickledown effect, and positively impact friends, family and beyond.
Related story links to the Faculty of Education Wellness Initiative series:
• The Faculty of Education WELLNESS INITIATIVE: Supporting a Focus on Health and Well-Being
• 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
• Twitter Education Community: Books are a Form of Wellness
• 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
Writers: Elizabeth McLachlan and Darcy Tamayose | Photographer: Rob Olson
Learn more about the Faculty of Education: Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)
Twitter: @ULethbridgeEdu Website: uleth.ca/education
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