The Manitoba Teachers’ Society’s wellness program: Balance — Mind Body Spirit

By Robyn Braha
October 7, 2016

Commitment to education takes a lot of energy and with that need for energy there is a need to ensure that our members take care of themselves. Therefore, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society developed a new wellness program, “Balance”, which launched in the spring of 2015 with a dedication to providing wellness resources to its members. The goal of the program was aimed at helping to eliminate what may seem like overwhelming challenges that often accompany initiating wellness programming.

There is a tendency to shy away from wellness because of the time to organize it or possibly not knowing where to start. Balance helps to eliminate these challenges as, with a team of wellness experts and a diverse menu of programs, incorporating wellness has become easily implementable and accessible to all the MTS members.

Adopting a wellness role, whether one has volunteered for the task or was “voluntold”, can be quite challenging as wellness means something different to everybody. What works for one person doesn’t work for the next. Therefore, to ensure the success of the program, the initiative incorporates multi-level programming to meet these diverse needs. Through Balance we are able to support wellness leaders by helping them to design and select appropriate programming to meet their strategic goals.

Programming includes workshops on topics such as Fitness, Leadership Coaching, Financial Literacy, Nutrition, and Caregiver Fatigue. Members can choose from dozens of different programs whether it be a short stretch break for a small group meeting, or a full day of wellness events for hundreds of members. Through Balance, incorporating wellness has become a welcomed endeavour.

The program also includes an MTS Wellness Publication Balance Magazine which is distributed five times throughout the year. The publication is dedicated to providing written wellness resources as all articles have been customized to meet the interests of our members and are most often provided by members of the Balance team. The Balance team consists of professionals who are experts in their fields such as Registered Dieticians, Personal Trainers, Speech and Language Pathologists and Leadership Coaches.

We have taken a proactive approach to effecting overall wellness change by working with Education students on how to protect their voice, which is one of their most valuable assets. Through Balance, we have had a Speech and Language Pathologist team member work with the University of Manitoba Education students creating awareness of how they can help take control of their health before they even hit the classroom. Without this knowledge, teachers may adopt vocal stress leading to the need for treatment, which may include surgical intervention as well as the need for adaptive equipment to enable them to continue teaching.

Since it was launched, Balance has connected with over half of our members. It has created a support structure for those wishing to incorporate wellness into their Associations, their schools and their day-to-day lives, thus helping them to find their individual path to healthy living.

Robyn Braha is the Wellness Facilitator at The Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

Canadian Teachers’ Federation
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Perspectives web magazine is published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent over 238,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.

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