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  • Jenny Hill

New Understandings of Wellness

I will remember the pandemic as the time the phrase “hope you are well” took on multiple meanings. We have all been challenged in unexpected ways while living in the time of COVID 19. Are we literally well as in: physically well, not ill? Are we physically well, as in: not in bodies taxed by stress and worry? Are we mentally well, able to field uncertainty, unknowns and isolation?

The good news is support is out there. Many employer-based health insurance plans have a wellness program. And there are resources available to everyone, such as public health services from your county:

Crow Wing Energized has videos, links, and articles on topics like physical activity, resiliency, healthy eating and even a special section for kids.

In Cass County, the Live Healthy newsletter is a great resource on current events, education and services, all related to your wellness.

Following the wellness trend, the in-person workshops for 2022 Back to Basics features two workshops that offer tools to help you figure out your own definition of wellness.

Build Your Wellness Toolkit

The first workshop will give details on a tool called the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

The workshop will be led by Jode Freyholtz-London, executive director of Wellness in the Woods, a Central Minnesota non-profit. Wellness in the Woods is dedicated to improving access to mental health care for all residents of Minnesota with a focus on reaching underserved communities.

“I became very aware of the importance of balance and wellness when my mental health became a crisis period in life in 2005,” said Freyholtz-London. “After living through that period, I realized how few of us actually take care of ourselves mentally and that even little stressors can lead to a crisis if we do not have a plan in place, with a support system that works for us.” Wellness in the Woods provides programs and activities centered on advocacy, education, and expanding statewide peer networks. Freyholtz-London has been working with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) for 18 years.

“Having a simple tool like WRAP has not only shown me the importance of balance in all areas of my life” Freyholtz-London finds common misconceptions include thinking that wellness is only about physical health when in reality, there are 8 dimensions that need our attention. “The workshop will offer an introduction to those dimensions, balance and the WRAP that I use and our organization Wellness in the Woods uses as a foundation for health.”

The in-person workshop “The Meaning of Being Well” will be offered Monday, February 14, at 5:30 p.m. at Pine River-Backus School. Click here for more information on in-person workshops.

The Ancient Science of Ayurveda

The second workshop, Introduction to Ayurveda, features a brief history of this ancient science that originated in India. It will cover the Dosha characteristics and basic Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle guidelines. The workshop is offered by Aprile Lack, AHC, RYT, LMT of helth, LLC and Not Amy’s Farm.

It was while she was working on her master’s degree at the University of Minnesota that Lack took what she thought would be an “easy-peasy” elective, Intro to Ayurveda. “Except it was a graduate-level class! It was a really in-depth class and I was able to feel better by following several Ayurvedic practices. I was hooked.” She found a favorite thing about Ayurveda is how logical it is. “Once you understand your individual characteristics, it's a lot easier to figure out what is happening and why. Probably the number one misconception is that Ayurveda is a religion. It's not! It is a science-based approach to living well.”

The in-person workshop “Intro to Ayurveda” will be offered Wednesday, February 16, at 6 p.m. at Pine River-Backus School. Click here for more information on in-person workshops.

There is no one right path to wellness. People’s needs vary throughout their lifetimes. And it can feel as if there are as many “fixes” as there are problems. These workshops and resources provide just a handful of ways you can fill your wellness toolkit. As the pandemic continues to teach us, having a toolkit to draw from can make us all more resilient.


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