CNA offers free wellness supports to the public

Series of community education courses aimed at mental, physical health during pandemic

4/6/2020 2:22:15 PM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, there is much concern around mental and physical well-being as entire countries practice social distancing and self-isolation.

In response to this, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is offering a series of four “Stress and Mindful Wellness” community education courses, which will be available to the general public at free of charge.

The online courses were developed by CNA’s Art & Design Essentials instructor, Lori Deeley, during her time as a Program Developer for employee wellness. The goal is to give people the tools they need to help with the stress and anxiety during the pandemic. As a certified art therapist, Deeley encourages people to enroll and develop skills that will help them focus on self-care during this unprecedented time.
Lori Deeley, CNA’s Art & Design Essentials instructor

The schedule of this series is as follows:
  • Creative Energies, April 14 to May 1
  • Being Present, May 5-22
  • Letting Go and Letting Be, May 26 to June 12
  • You are All That & a Bag of Chips, June 9-26
These free-of-charge courses will be offered through CNA’s online Distributed Learning (DL) platform. Each segment will be available to participants for one month. During the four-week period, people will be able to log in and access courses at their leisure. They can be completed in a day, or ideally, practiced every day for that four-week period.

Theresa Pittman, Associate Vice President of Connected Learning, says that times of uncertainty often makes room for possibility.

“When exploring how we could connect with and support our college community at large, it became possible to offer these courses online through our extensive Connected Learning Network,” she said. “We welcome participation by our students, employees, alumni and anyone with a need for these resources during the upcoming months. We truly hope you will find value in the tools provided.”   

With the bombardment of information around COVID-19, there is also an ‘infodemic’ happening which can lead to excessive worrying about the ‘what ifs’ and other things beyond our control, Deeley explained.

“These courses are designed to redirect your attention back to the present and the things you can control. They are easy to follow and best of all, no exams and no marks! These courses are self-directed and there is no pressure or requirement for you to participate on online discussions.”

Creative mindful techniques and practices, such as guided breathing, movement, disconnecting from media and reconnecting with yourself, can allow a person to physically and mentally unwind.

“These courses give people the tools they need to not only weather this pandemic, but also tools that can be adopted into a daily practice going forward,” Deeley said. “They are designed so that you learn a new mindfulness-based stress reduction technique at the beginning of the week and practice it for the rest of the week on your own. You take five to 15 minutes out of your day to practice each technique to create a healthy habit.

“If you are working from home, and taking care of your family or yourself, these courses encourage you to take a break to practice self-care and bring you into the present,” she added. “It is important now more than ever to stop what you are doing, turn off your electronics and focus on yourself and the here and now.”

How does one ‘self-care’?
The introductory session, Creative Energies, runs from April 14 to May 1. Deeley says participants will learn and practice a variety of techniques designed to spark your creative energies mentally and physically.
“To utilize creative energies, you don’t have to be an artist. Anyone can harness the power of creative energy through hand yoga, meditation, poetry and drawing to help with stress reduction and relaxation.”

The second part of the series, Being Present, will be offered from May 5-22. Deeley says it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks and responsibilities so taking breaks throughout the workday is vital for physical and mental health. The course invites you to re-focus through guided breathing, movement, unplugging and looking at the positive things around you.

“Working from home has many challenges and distractions; from your cat sitting on your work to trying to find a quiet, comfortable place to concentrate. Give yourself permission to carve out a few minutes each day to devote your own self-care.”

The third session, Letting Go and Letting Be, will be offered from May 26 to June 12. Each of these four, quick, self-care practices are designed to give your mind and body a break and redirect your attention back to the present.

“Worry is a habit we can actively break by changing the channel in our brains. By utilizing self-care practices daily, we ground ourselves in the here and now,” Deeley said.

Participants will be introduced to the practices of guided imagery, mindful grounding, sleep journals, and other ways to deal with worry.

The final offering – You are All That & a Bag of Chips – will take place June 9-26.

“Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and our biggest critics. Negative self-talk and opinion can increase your overall stress levels, distort your thinking and damage your self-esteem,” Deeley said. “In this four-session course you will learn to stop, relax, be nicer to yourself, and have a laugh.”

The session will work with progressive relaxation, calming the inner critic, practicing kindness and compassion, as well as the value of laughter.

Participants can register for this series here, or email for additional information. Each of the courses will be fully supported by Deeley, as the course facilitator, as well as the DL Help Desk.

Media Contact:

Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic