Today's blog, inspired by my new studies at VCC [You can learn more on their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/VCCSchoolOfInstructorEducation/] —I'll be talking about some of the trends I've discovered in the field of Mind-Body Wellness.
The field of mind-body wellness can encapsulate a wide range of modalities. Based on my experience I am speaking of the areas of psychology, holistic nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, life coaching, and the intersection of spirituality and science.
In an article by Margo Badzioch, a Market Research Lead [Source: https://www.mindbodyonline.com/business/education/blog/wi/7-wellness-trends-watch-2022]
She shares that "Mental health was ranked the most important dimension of wellness by the greatest number of Americans."
When I hear that, I am happy that mental health is seen as increasingly important. I believe taking care of our mental fitness is as important as taking care of our physical fitness.
Furthermore, more people are talking about trauma-informed practices being integrated in all aspects of wellness from trauma informed yoga, to teaching in a trauma-informed manner (https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/health-and-wellness-trends)
I've noticed in the College I work at, classes are taught from a trauma-informed lens, and both life coaching and counselling are taught through a trauma-informed lens. When I teach yoga, I teach from a trauma-informed lens. This can even mean giving options, and giving permission, and recognizing that some things may not feel safe for somebody that has experienced trauma or somebody that may have PTSD or c-PTSD, thus by being trauma informed and approaching wellness through the lens allows for a more inviting and inclusive environment for all, with the hope to create more safety and a sense of space, freedom, and acceptance.
Another unfortunate trend in the field of mental health/wellness is that since covid 19 there has been higher rates in adolescents facing mental health issues. The school closures and constant changes took a toll, and there is a need to address the mental health of youth https://www.facetsjournal.com/doi/10.1139/facets-2021-0078 Although there is a lot of opposing views on whether lockdowns and mandates were appropriate, we cannot negate the damaging mental-health effects it caused, and it is important to give space time and care to meet the mental health needs of those affected, particularly youth
Additionally, another trend in mental-health is that more services are being offered online at an increased rate since Covid began, and according to The American Psychological Association - this trend is here to stay (https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/01/trends-online-therapy)
Although the regulated profession of psychology has more privacy rules than unregulated professions such as coaching, it used to be an emerging trend to see clients online. I used to see clients on Skype before Zoom became popular! However in the last few years, I have found from my experience too that the trend to go online became more and more accepted, which in my mind allows for more freedom and flexibility in how people get the support they are looking for.
Overall, the trends of increased interest in importance of mental health is a step in a positive direction. I am inspired to be part of creating more learning and support in the field of mind-body wellness and learning more in the years to come. Additionally, the trend towards trauma informed is a positive one that I hope continues to spread across other industries, and the trend towards online is something I am prepared for, as I enjoy being able to work remotely.
This blog was written as part of a class assignment for VCC, in this journey of returning to the classroom.
A recap of Sources used in this blog:
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Back To The Classroom
It's been some time since I've been back in the classroom, and now I find myself enrolled at VCC for the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program where we are asked to blog, beginning with a short autobiography.
I feel I have a long history of being at school - from starting University at 17, to going back to a career college for a diploma in natural nutrition, to studying yoga, and many other informal courses and apprentice-style learning such as mentoring with an executive coach that followed for several years.
In 2011 I even did a short stint going back for a second university degree in Nursing - a degree I decided to step away from - one of the first times I did not complete an educational training, which was a learning curve in it's own right. As somebody who believed quitting is not an option - that experience taught me that sometimes quitting is the right option. Then for years after that I dove right back into my entrepreneurial endeavours - which included writing and publishing my first paperback that focused on a body-mind-spirit approach to health and wellness with a focus on the 8 pillars of nutrition.
At around that time, I started to dedicate myself to learning business. I took an online course and obsessively read books, and for good measure was an avid watcher of Shark Tank ;) By 2014 an opportunity to teach business at the Nutrition School I had once attended became available to me. I took a short Instructors Course, and was already quite familiar with teaching as I had been teaching Yoga for nearly a decade by that point and had lead yoga teacher trainings. However teaching in an academic classroom was very different than teaching on a mat or the informal style of a yoga teacher training. Nevertheless, certain qualities of holding space for students and managing classroom dynamics, and using all your senses to teach the class and not the content came in handy. I still find this to be an important balance - to teach the people in front of you versus being rigid on a plan.
Teaching was fulfilling, and at times draining, as I've always been one to feel a lot of energy from others. I was also running around town at the time teaching at various colleges on top of teaching yoga classes. So when an opportunity presented itself to be a Facilitator in the Northwest Territories I figured - how could I pass this up?
Never in my life did I ever expect to travel North of 60, let alone live there, so I gave up my comforts of Vancouver including the many lucrative instructor positions I had amassed over the years to leap into the unknown.
My time up North presented an education like no other. I saw a part of Canada that was unlike anywhere else I've seen in Canada. I had an opportunity to go to some small northern communities that had reminded me of times I travelled in Central America back in my early 20s. I also learned that after braving -50, there was no weather that could stop me from being outside, as outside is my favourite place to be.
After my year up North I returned to Vancouver and enrolled at Rhodes Wellness College. Although my background had been in Psychology I felt my counselling knowledge was out of date, and I was looking for a refresher, along with a time-out to figure out my next move along my career journey. Rhodes had an experiential style of learning and openness that was something I had only experienced back at my yoga teacher training back in 2006, and I did not realize a College would have such an open hearted learning environment. I enjoyed and appreciated it and although I had an education in health coaching and had apprenticed with a coach and had worked as a coach, I decided to take another semester to obtain my official Life Coaching Certification. In a way I was using this time to figure out my next move, as I was certainly in a place of life-transition at the time.
I left Rhodes and decided it was time to get out of the city and found my way to island. I wasn't completely sure what my next step would be, but I'd always been an entrepreneur in the health and wellness realm, and stepping into the unknown was something I'd done many times before.
Just as I was preparing to leave Rhodes a new President came to the College, and in a meeting with him I was granted a short contract to develop some new programming. The new President saw my background, the fact I had a published a book and took a bet on me to work on some new course developments. Well that initial short contract turned into a bigger contract and now over 2 years later I am still with the college on a part time basis working remotely from the island, while still involved with my entrepreneurial pursuits as a Life Coach, Writer, and building my vision of Ecotherapy Adventures - the healing path of nature's wisdom as teacher.
Being involved in curriculum development I was presented with the opportunity to take the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at VCC - and so now, here I am - back in the classroom - an unexpected yet deeply appreciated opportunity.
Although I do not know the full scope of where this will lead, I am embracing the practice of being present, and doing my best to show up fully while juggling multiple projects. A quote that's been coming to me lately has been
"The Tao does nothing but leaves nothing undone" -Lao Tzu
- The Tao is the way, the flow of life. I find when I remember to flow, that all things will fall into place and this is certainly a lesson that is coming up for me now as I do my best to flow with the range of work and educational opportunities that are are with me now.
Copyright Tova Payne 2022.