With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, there is a lot of concern around mental and physical well-being.
In response, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is offering a series of four “Stress and Mindful Wellness” community education courses, which will be available online to the general public, free of charge, through the college’s online Distributed Learning platform.
The courses were developed by Lori Deeley, CNA’s art and design essentials instructor, while she was a program developer for employee wellness. According to a media release from the college, the goal is to give people the tools they need to help with stress and anxiety during the pandemic.
Deeley, a certified art therapist, encourages people to enroll and develop skills that will help them focus on self-care during this unprecedented time.
“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,” she said. “These courses are designed to redirect your attention back to the present and the things you can control.”
She said they are easy to follow and, best of all, there are no exams and no marks. The courses — Creative Energies, Being Present, Letting Go and Letting Be and You are All That and a Bag of Chips — are self-directed with no pressure or requirement for people to participate in online discussions.
They are designed so participants learn a new mindfulness-based stress reduction technique at the beginning of the week and practice it for the rest of the week on their own. All it takes is five to 15 minutes out of the day to practice each technique to create a healthy habit.
“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,” she said.
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.
“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.”
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.
Participants can register for this series at https://dls.cna.nl.ca/forms/WellnessRegistration.aspx or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
• Creative Energies, April 14 to May 1
• Being Present, May 5 to 22
• Letting Go and Letting Be, May 26 to June 12
• You are All That & a Bag of Chips, June 9 to 26