Educator Wellness Podcast

Your 8-Dimensions of Wellness and Creating a System to Support Your Well-Being

October 19, 2022 Scanlan Center for School Mental Health Season 1 Episode 1
Your 8-Dimensions of Wellness and Creating a System to Support Your Well-Being
Educator Wellness Podcast
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Educator Wellness Podcast
Your 8-Dimensions of Wellness and Creating a System to Support Your Well-Being
Oct 19, 2022 Season 1 Episode 1
Scanlan Center for School Mental Health

In our inaugural podcast episode, I chat with Dr. Peggy Swarbrick, Research Professor and Associate Director of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Use Studies at Rutgers University

She has worked for 25 years as the Director of the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Wellness Institute. Recently Dr. Swarbrick developed a Wellness Training Learning Collaborative (W-TLC) designed to support the wellness of the workforce and is a collaborator on peer support models for healthcare professionals and educators to prevent burnout.

 Learn about: 

  • The connection between prioritizing educator wellness and centering the needs of students and families
  • How identity plays a role in the 8-dimensions of wellness
  • How our wellness habits impact our brain, emotions, perspective, etc
  • What the relationship between self-care and burnout looks like

Thanks for listening! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Visit our website: https://scsmh.education.uiowa.edu

Show Notes Transcript

In our inaugural podcast episode, I chat with Dr. Peggy Swarbrick, Research Professor and Associate Director of the Center of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Use Studies at Rutgers University

She has worked for 25 years as the Director of the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey Wellness Institute. Recently Dr. Swarbrick developed a Wellness Training Learning Collaborative (W-TLC) designed to support the wellness of the workforce and is a collaborator on peer support models for healthcare professionals and educators to prevent burnout.

 Learn about: 

  • The connection between prioritizing educator wellness and centering the needs of students and families
  • How identity plays a role in the 8-dimensions of wellness
  • How our wellness habits impact our brain, emotions, perspective, etc
  • What the relationship between self-care and burnout looks like

Thanks for listening! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Visit our website: https://scsmh.education.uiowa.edu

(upbeat piano music)- Hello everyone. Hi. Hi everyone. I'm Kari Vogelgesang. Welcome to our very first ever live podcast from the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health. We are so excited and also nervous'cause we don't really know what we're doing to start a podcast through the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health, and this podcast is gonna be focused on educator wellness and school wellness and giving you all kinds of advice and tips and tricks and engaging in conversations with educators, particularly across the state of Iowa, about just the state of education and how how we can work together to improve our environment and our overall wellbeing. I, like I said, I'm Kari Vogelgesang. I am the director of professional development for the Scanlan Center for School Mental Health and also for the Baker Teacher Leader Center in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. And I am very passionate about this topic. This is kind of, this is the work that I do in the college. I'm teacher of professional development and I've moved into mostly educator wellness work with schools as of late. So I am so unbelievably honored to have our first guest be Dr. Peggy Swarbrick. She is an amazing human being and has contributed, I can't imagine anybody has contributed more to wellness and to particularly organizational wellness than Dr. Peggy Swarbrick. So I am gonna read her short bio and then we're gonna get into it. We're gonna get into a great conversation with Peggy and just see what she has to offer for us to hear today. So here we go. Dr. Swarbrick is known for bringing the voices and needs of people to the table by collaborating with peer community and family groups to identify and address social detriments that are barriers to recovery and wellness. She has worked for 25 years as the director of the collaborative support programs of the New Jersey Wellness Institute. Over decades, she has developed and evolved a strength-based eight dimensional wellness model that has been used for various populations as an approach for whole health recovery and prevention. Dr. Swarbrick has made significant contributions to the body of literature and occupational therapy, nursing and community behavioral healthcare practice, focused on such topics as the eight dimensions of wellness, wellness, coaching, peer support, and social determinants of health, financial wellness, employment and professional self-care. She has created self-care wellness programs for people in recovery, caregivers, families, youth and professionals, including training materials and intervention manuals. Doctors Swarbrick recently developed a wellness training learning collaborative. We're gonna talk a little bit about that later. Designed to support the wellness of the workforce and as a collaborator on peer support models for healthcare professionals and educators to prevent burnout. Welcome Dr. Peggy Swarbrick. How are you?- Great, very good. Thank you so much for having me here tonight.- Well thanks for taking time out of, I know, your very busy schedule to join us. So I'm gonna just do a quick mic check with Mariana real quick. Mariana, are you hearing Peggy okay? Yep, okay, I got a thumbs up, I had to turn my volume up, but I think it was maybe just my volume, Peggy, and not your mic. Okay, 'cause I just wanted to make sure everybody could hear you. So let's go ahead and just get into a conversation, Peggy. I think I'd just like to start, I'm always fascinated and interested to hear people's stories and how you got to where you are today. So where, when and where did your interest with wellness start and how did it kind of just evolve to where you're at with it today?- Yeah, so well the wellness model, this eight dimensional model that a lot of the reason, you know, you found it on the internet or read something about it, had been evolving for decades really in many different ways. In particularly where it did start was my own life, very early age dad a very difficult interruption, you know, in grade school into high school and into, you know, early college. So had that interruption in my life and at one point when I was going through some struggles, I was like, you know, there was like on interventions and things I like, I want wellness, I want wellness. And I started to develop this wellness approach for my own life and to get me back on track, and you know, still had some struggles. But as I started to do a lot learning more about this physical and spiritual and social intellectual, all the different dimensions we're gonna talk about. I started to like see these as strengths, even though I had a lot of these challenges, I started to be aware I could like frame my own personal journey of to wellness or recovery. And then as I started to go back to, I decided I wanted to help others, young adults, you know, young people, I wanted to help them, wanted to help you know, people with mental health and substance use and other kind of things, prevent those things as well as manage those things. As I went back to school and got my occupational therapy degree and moved along in my own academic career, I started, I evolved this model to address many different needs, different populations. So it started really from a personal perspective and then started to learn about how to bring it to different groups and it's been really well received in many different areas as you can see in some of the different programs we've developed.- Yeah, well thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I think it always, when you're as passionate as you are about something, typically it does start within us, right? It's like something very personal within us that keeps us going, that keeps us interested, that keeps our passion really going. And so yeah, thank you for that. So when you talk about your interest and you developed this interest in, you know, for yourself in wellness, which kind of sounds like you were basically saying to yourself, okay, I'm just in like this reactionary mode and I need to do something more preventative. Would you say that's a fair summary of kind of what you were thinking at the time.- In some ways, yeah, and I think it just became, I was pretty immobilized in my life at certain points, type of a thing. And then it was sort of just starting to think about those small things I could do. Even though I had a lot of self hatred and I had a lot of negative, you know, I had a lot of probably internal rage you're dealing with, you know, as a young adult and anyway, and then dealing with certain emotional regulation challenges. This became the way to help me sort of like center me, to get through the day even or get through moments. And again it just became a way that I started to develop these habits, these, well I called them wellness habits. I didn't wanna be on an illness medication, you know, you don't wanna have a medication routine when you're young. You wanna have a, so I call them wellness habits and I started to get into these wellness habits that really helped me to manage a lot of dysregulation issues but also helped me a lot with like disappointments'cause I had some setbacks then when I started to have like some of these interruptions in that time. But it helped me to keep that movement forward in my life and just started me to take each day and get through each day doing these basic wellness habits that many of us do anyway, but we don't realize when you're in crisis or you feel as though you're in crisis, sometimes resorting to those basic things really do help, just like I'm taking a breath, taking a, you know, doing something, physical activity, doing something or just unplugging, those kinds of things were so important, but developing a habit around those things were essential.- Yeah, so we were gonna talk about this I think later in the podcast, but it feels like it's pretty timely right now. So you keep coming back to this word habit, like you creating these habits, which of course when you say that to me I think of James Clear and Atomic Habits and I think of creating a system, right, a system that supports whatever you're wanting, right, and in this case a system to support our wellness journey or our wellbeing. And is that kind of maybe what you're talking about, like maybe you were you were creating this system for yourself but you didn't even really know that's what you were doing?- No, not even at all. And so it was like physically I had lots of these habits that were strong. Emotionally, it was a mess. There was a lot of emotional and mental, you know, whatever going on. But the physical habits I would get and it was really great because I see how they would help the emotional or the social things that would,'cause you'd have social repercussions sometimes as I started to develop those, you know, become more aware that these physical pieces were strong and I wanted, I didn't wanna, nobody wants to feel ill or sick or be labeled or whatever. So you kind of, I found the strong, I started to strengthen those areas, and then again as we'll talk a little bit later, but the other dimensions, then started to be mindful about, I had strengths in other dimensions. I wasn't a strong student. I actually had a very interrupted educational path. But intellectually I had a lot of creativity. So I started doing, I did this creatively and had a lot of creative outlets that were like really healing and really healthy. So I really encourage for, you know, young children and all of us do things that are creative, whether it's gardening or your ceramics or your knitting or your book reading, whatever it is in your creative passion, so doing those kind of things were helpful habits that I would, you know, add into this repertoire of things that really helped with the a balance.- Sure, so let's go ahead and start too,'cause you started to list off some of the of the eight, the big eight. So let's go ahead and walk through those with our audience right now. So first of all, if we're gonna define wellness, what would that definition be to you?- I kind of say it's like this. I mean I say from a conceptual basis, it's a conscious, deliberate process where I become aware of and I make choices each day. So I become aware of physical and social and intellectual and occupational, environmental, financial, spiritual, these different areas that I realize like I have strengths in all of these areas. I have these needs. The needs sometimes start to pressure us, you know, make more money, or we don't have the right job, or we're not doing well in school, like there's needs and things we do, but we look at each of the areas we really probably have strengths when we think about those habits, especially the wellness habits, even we think about financial. What people think, oh well I don't have enough money. But are you in the habit of looking at the receipt and making sure you didn't get, you know, overcharged or are you in the habit of being mindful of what am I spending? Do I really need that, or you know, teaching ourself those kinds of basic, that's a habit. And we work with very poor people on developing financial wellness and that's a habit we've been able to help people to strengthen their financial wellness in that way. But again, we all have probably a habit we don't realize we have, we all maybe have a goal for something, but we have these habit that keep us in check or keep us perhaps from, you know, doing things that might be getting outta control for ourselves.- Sure, so let's talk about those eight dimensions. Let's talk about, so the first, so let's do, let's just go through 'em. So like physical is the first one. So what, you know, typically when we talk about physical wellness, what are we usually including in that?- Yeah, so the whole framework to start off with is to know that there's certain things that we all do. There's certain good things, the sleep is good, the eating is good, there are all the good things we can think about, but sometimes there's other things too. So we can talk about the basics of 'em but one of the things that people have found too is that there's the basics of them but then sometimes like especially for intellectual or occupational, each of us have unique things. But for sure for physical sleep. And that was one that I found early on and through my life, sleep has been a big one and that's when I paid a lot of attention to, I had a lot of struggles with it. Have a lot more success these days cause I have a lot of times to practice different things. But the sleep, you know, getting your rhythm of sleep is an important one. You know, eating healthy, not diets or exercise, you know, diets, you know, restrictions. But eating healthy, healthy food choices. I did have some issues with eating at a time, you know, with certain things, but learning how to just be kind to ourself and eating well and eating, as you know, good healthy things. But you know, indulgence is fine sometimes, having that balance in that way. Physical's a big one, finding an activity and that's what we are finding even more and more, that having some type of physical activity you can do, whether it's even just stretching or moving yourself can help with stress release. But it's also helpful for our bodies to prevent illness or a lot of times with mental health or mental and emotional imbalances, the physical one gets, you know, affected. So those are some of the core ones. But we also talk about things like getting your checkups or getting your regular preventative care'cause that's one of the things why the wellness model became so popular, one of the things that happened was had to do with some health disparities around people getting access to quality, timely preventative care and healthcare. So helping people to just know those things. When do you need to go for this check up. Those are some things. There's many more things in the physical dimension, but those are some of the key ones.- Yeah, that's sleep one, I get this question a lot too, Peggy, about, you know, what is the most important and that's, and we'll talk about that. I wanna ask you actually, because I get that question all the time, but I always say to people if I actually, if I had to like list one thing in, like would you agree, like do you think sleep might be like the number one thing?- It's very important for many, many people. I believe many people have it found, they're very fortunate people, but the sleep one does. And we do know there's a lot of good research to show the sleep deprivation, especially chronic, enduring so many physical and emotional health challenges for people. So that's why we take care of babies so well, right? We take care, we pay attention to that type, and then we forget about it as a certain, you know, we don't forget about it, but it just, life starts to unfold. But we do find that the sleep is a big one for people as in a very important one for keeping yourself well, managing a crisis and then also managing long-term chronic illnesses as well.- Yeah, for sure. It is huge. I mean I've seen it in my own children, I see it in myself, I see it, maybe I shouldn't say this live, but I see it in some of my colleagues when they're not (indistinct)(laughing) Yeah, it's like it becomes very, Mariana's given me the, Yes me. And she has a young baby. How's Leo doing, Mariana? He's good. Oh, he has an ear infection. Yeah, I mean it is, it is so, so critical to our, you know, mentally, emotional, just not even be able to make, you know, rational decisions when you are, you know, tired or sleep deprived. So, okay, so that kind of, let's feed into then one of our, the next dimensions. Let's talk about our intellectual dimension of wellness.- So we kind of see intellectual, could people think, okay, did I get a degree or an academic? So that could be part of it for some people, but at the intellectual, we talk about using your creative abilities and talents, your mind, using the mind in ways to learn new knowledge, share new, share knowledge, build your knowledge, build your skills. So intellectual, that's how we define it in a sense in this way. And then what I try to do with people is try to think out what's the activity you like to do that's using your BIP skills, using your knowledge, building your knowledge, or what do we do on a day-to-day basis for that, and I think that's a big one to really help people to find those different things you do to build your intellectual and use those, your mind in a creative way and be open to different ideas and learning about different things rather than getting stuck because when we get into like illness or mental health issues and challenges, we get stuck and we get stagnant and we get rigid in our thinking and especially, it's a sign of many conditions. So again, that's a freeing when we try to help people engage. As an occupational therapist, we did a lot to stimulate people's intellectual wellness through the different kind of activities we engage people in. So that's one of the things I try to help people do is explore something you like to do or like to try and try to do that on a more regular basis. It doesn't have to be hours and it could be just something you do a couple minutes a day or, you know, today I was doing a session for case managers and this woman just talked about how she just reading, spending time, reading at night, that's just such a great thing, having a nice book to read and then it also helps to sleep.- Yeah, this is the one where like, this is my big, well, I shouldn't say that. I, you know, the summer I started reading some research, you know how you like are doing research for one thing and then you get like down a rabbit hole and pretty soon you're researching something that you shouldn't be researching because you're just not supposed to be doing. This kinda happened to me, well it happens to me all the time. But then I started reading these studies that they were doing about like, 'cause you know, Wordle is like super popular with people. And so, and it and they were talking about how Wordle like challenges your brain and like makes you like be creative and critical thinking. And then I started to make all these connections to, to your work in that dimension of wellness. And so now I can't help myself. Whenever we talk about the intellectual dimension, I think of Wordle and puzzles that people enjoy doing.- Puzzles are really wonderful. All kinds of people, word puzzles, actual puzzles, creating puzzles, that kind, it uses your brain in different ways and just kind of helps that. And then it also, that also goes to the unplugging, unplugs again, a physical or an emotional activity of unplugging away and freeing ourselves of the constant things that filter into our brains, especially the negative self-talk we give ourself or we hear perhaps from, you know, things. So it helps to reprogram our mind in that way.- Yeah, yeah. That's an interesting one because I think what you just said is important too. It's not necessarily like, cause I challenge myself through my daily work intellectually, but I think it, I think you said, you just said something that I think that I had a little bit of an aha moment, that just because I'm doing that work that I always do, like the challenge or the intellectual dimension like needs to maybe come outside of that. Would you say that like doing something more, like more creative or that's outside of like your daily work.- You can get it I think from some of your work, but I think it's then trying to find something else that helps have that freeing component that you don't have the pressure to do it. Like people laugh at me, in academia you have to publish and publish and I just love to publish and people mostly hate it. It's the most hated thing, you know, you have to do that. But the way I approach it, it's 'cause I just enjoy it, is a real intellectually stimulating activity. So we can, it is part and I always tell myself I don't have to do this either. So sometimes when you put that have to on yourself to do work, it puts more of the mental pressure and then you're not having that full benefit of it. So sometimes you can, you know, again, work can be a freeing kind of a way for your intellectual. But I think it's also to have that, what we used to call hobbies or leisure activities are really important I think for people's intellectual wellness as well as their emotional wellness.- Yeah, that was a really good point. That was an aha moment for me. I need to do I need, maybe I should like relearn French, maybe that's my next, maybe that's my next endeavor. I lived there for a little while and I was getting good and then of course I had to, that was 1999 and then I moved home and never spoke it again. So shame on me. Maybe that will be my winter project. Okay, what about our environmental dimension.- Environment, we think about our living, our learning, our working environments, the different environments. We can have a very, I always think about, think of, keep it close to home. Think about the things in our, where do we live, where do we learn, where do we work, where is our community? It's things like having this feeling, that safety in the environment, finding ways to make our environment safe, these kind of things promote our wellness as well as the things in the environment that stimulate us in a way or don't overstimulate us. So being mindful of those kind of things in our workspace, perhaps our, the environments where we teach students, being able to have environments that are fostering the learning process, and then also environments that are not like, you know, many times people have home environments that are, you know, we wonder why someone's acting a certain way, but we don't always know what's going on in that home environment there, not only the physical environment, but the social environment factors that could be impeding on us. So it's being attentive to those things and trying to build, you know, routines and habits that are bringing us in places and spaces that have, you know, are safe, that are stimulating and that we feel connected and we belong to. And we feel that they're, you know, cleanliness is a big piece of that too, where colors people find in environments and/or light is a big thing for some people, for their environment, making sure they have good sunlight or getting out in sunlight. These are all things that can really promote good overall health and environmental wellness.- Yeah, so I can't help myself now. So like, this is my teacher, like, you know,'cause I was a, I was a elementary school teacher for about 10 years and all the work that I do now is teacher education. I'm in schools every single week working with teachers. You know, I am a strong member of AACTE. And so when I think about this environmental, thinking about the teaching profession right now and how there's, you know, lots of teachers leaving the profession. We're having a really hard time attracting educators to the profession, and you know, we're trying to figure this out as a community, as a profession and there's lots of things going on, right? One of the things that I've thought about a lot is this dimension with teaching. And so I'd like to spend a little bit of time on this one because I feel like this is something that teachers need to address and we need to address with our administration too, like together as a team because I'm not sure teachers feel safe in their environment right now. I'm not sure teachers feel, especially coming, you know, coming out of COVID or coming out, I don't know if we're coming out, I don't know what we're, what kind of pandemic or what term we're using right now exactly. But I'm not sure they feel safe, I'm not sure that they feel organized, I'm not sure they feel supported. You know, when we look at some data, you know, that is, that has come out from like the NEA from ED Week and we are seeing what teachers are saying, that is basically what they're saying. Like their environment is so unsatisfactory to them that there's no amount of mindfulness that's going to work them out of that unhealthy environment. Is that kind of what you're seeing in the health healthcare profession as well?- Exactly, that's where people are leaving and we're doing a lot of work with healthcare providers. Again, the environmental structures and processes are just holding people back and then they're just getting away because it's a pressure cooker and there's only so much people can tolerate. So paying attention to the things we can do in the environment to created a safer place, create an opportunity for people to give voices to making changes in ways that are procedures or practices or just even the physical environment sometimes can be something that people can think about doing or we've been trying to help people to do.- Yeah, I get sometimes, I know I've said this to you before, I just said it to you, I guess, Peggy, not that long ago, but I really struggle with the word resiliency right now because I've heard so many people say this to educators in such a way that's almost like gaslighting. You know, if we just teach you how to be more resilient, it's all gonna go away. You just need to like be more resilient. And then we're forgetting about exactly what you're talking about, like the system that's been created, that we're having to operate in, and like how that's impacting, there's, you know, how that's impacting their mental health, their emotional health, their physical health on a day in, day out basis. And yeah, I just think that's an interesting one, right, and I'm seeing we're getting some comments from people too, maybe feeling like that's real.- Yeah, we did a, in the healthcare arena, we did a project early on and we're continuing to do it to do a peer support program for, in the help for healthcare. We did it with physicians and it's probably a nice model for teachers too, because it becomes a safe space for someone to come and get some support, diffuse situations or help them just to be a peer supporter to come. And it's not, it's just a, it's very episodic. People can come, people have been trained and then are identified that someone can come to talk to them and help them and build that and then help to come build that ability to kind of help the person through the situation or maybe linking them to a resource to help. But again, creating a culture that allows that even is of itself is a hard thing to do because in organizations (indistinct). But doing things to help people have places to diffuse or to support one another and also make the changes rather than say like, blame it on the victim really, as you're saying, and it's, we're not looking at that, you know, there's a casualty here that we have to help, you know, heal on this process and bringing the voices of the teachers to the table is an important thing. You're gonna get a great, I've said at the beginning, I'm always coming to people to find the answers, and you know, if we hear people's feedback and try to incorporate it, it might help make some changes there.- Yeah, I agree. Is that, were you referring to your check one, check two?- Yeah, that program, yes.- We'll have to, I did upload that, a PDF, your check one, check two PDF in our system for people who registered for the credit so they have access to it. But we could maybe figure out ways to, other ways of sharing that with people who have joined us this evening too. It's a really good system that I do really do think that could work in some of our schools and education. Yeah, so, okay. Okay, what about emotional? Let's talk a little bit about emotional.- Emotional kind of those things that we do to keep ourself, you know, addressing our feelings, expressing our feelings, dealing with the stress, being able to take the, that emotional temperature that we have, like emotions, high, low, keeping that in balance. And what I find is, you know, we all do things. Again, sleep affects that, what we eat affects that, our physical activity so that you can see the physical dimensional influence. But there's other things that we do to keep our emotional, you know, temperature in a regulated way that we can express ourself when we need to and we can also get our needs met. So emotional wellness is about, you know, that care and compassion we give to others and sometimes we're overextended on that and sometimes that can be really challenging for people, is having that good regulation with our emotions and/or feeling overtaxed, giving to others so much or needing to be meeting others' needs. Sometimes this becomes impacted in terms of teachers and our students. That becomes really a major challenge and that's often to what leads to the crisis, you know, the mental health anxiety, the depression, and other kind of mental health challenges for people. But it's just many of those factors around our emotional regulation.- Yeah, so we are doing this, we're funding a research project right now, it's called Imagine Iowa, and one element, it's basically like youth mental health first-aid on steroids and there's like restorative justice components. There's, you know, DEI stuff that's cut, woven into this, you know, mental health first aid curriculum, and there's wellness stuff as well. And one of the pieces that has been woven in is about emotion and identifying, like accurately identifying emotion. And one of the things that I've been so like fascinated by is that people, when you ask them to even name, like just name five emotions, they can't, they like, they basically can't do it. Have you, you've seen this I'm sure, right?- I've done that, those kind of exercises before and people are just so disconnected from the emotion, and that's why we see like reactions so much. Why is that so reactive? Well there's no connection to this as a being, so that's extreme for, you know, so we see it as extreme or whatever, but for the person that's not their temperature rate or you know, that's normal for them and have, people have a hard time just even being able to name these things to help, you know, help to reregulate themself. And this is where you see people start to then self-medicate in different ways or self-regulate in ways that are often not, they're more harmful for the person rather than helpful, but people are at that point where they just need that release and it's often something that perhaps is self-harming.- Yeah, yeah, I've seen this in my own work with students and children. And even with myself earlier on, I think my earlier, my younger self, you know, I look back at some of my reactions to things, particularly when my kids were little, and you know, I always have these guilty things about what we did and didn't do when our children were little and how angry I got sometimes. And really, and I think I, I know I said to them like, I'm really angry at you because blah-blah-blah. And really I don't think I was, I think I was scared.- Yeah.- And the reason why I'm bringing that up is like now after doing all the work that I've done in these past, you know, 25 years of my career, I am much, you know, now the training that I've had, I can sit and think to myself and take a deep breath. Really, where is this feeling coming from? Do I feel guilty? Like is this shame or is this jealousy? Like I can kind of try to unpack that. But until you like really accurately identify it, right, like I'm not sure that you are really living into this dimension and in a way that's gonna be beneficial to you.- Yeah. Yeah, so teaching us to, teaching people to be more in tune with that is a main, is a very, very helpful. And I think the other piece of it is just taking the time to reflect and not react, that feeds into that, is that we get into a reactive mode or we're expected to react or respond, and I think part of with emotional dimension, I find is people that have, are able to find things that can help them be contemplative in that whether it's like walking or doing some of these activities, I'm always activity based, that can help you sort that through. I had, at one point in my life, I was a, my activity that fit almost all the dimensions was swimming.- Oh, yeah.- Wham for 20, almost 20-something years, that was my activity. But that's where I was able to process that like where, you know, like you said, you didn't, we were aware but I couldn't do it before. And by the end of that swim, so many things were more settled in myself than answered all problems. But it was an activity that I could do to help come more in tune with those things. And that's why having some types of activities or some people, and then sometimes you have to go talk to people about it, reaching out to a trusted person in your life to help sort through, those are the kinds of things that can really help the emotional dimension be, you know, really something that's positive for you.- Yeah, and I think, you know, this is a good connection, right? Because all of these dimensions are interconnected, and you know, when one, you're struggling with one, right, then it often impacts some of these other dimensions. And I think this is a really good example, the swimming example. I'm a runner so you, you know, swimming is maybe your activity or was, and I run every day except for Saturdays. That's my recovery day before I do my long run on Sundays. And I agree with you like is, I am upset about something and I so badly like wanna tell somebody off, I wanna tell them how wrong they are about something.(laughing) But like if I can just get into that run and like, I mean you have no idea the amount of angry talk that goes on in my head during my run some days. But it's like the thing that gets me settled down, and like I have, my body is forced to go through like this breathing, same with swimming, right? That's almost kind of like this meditative state and like this rhythm that gets you to calm down and forces you to be with your thoughts and to really think through why you're upset and why you're feeling the way that you're feeling, right? So yeah, if people can, you know, running's my thing, but it doesn't, you know, I know most people hate running so.- But finding something, whatever it is, walking, yoga, whatever that could be for, everyone has their thing, and you know, everyone listening to, you know, there's something you do probably or you might wanna try. And then the swimming one is kind of a, that was it. And then I had a lot of things happen to me about 12 or 13 years ago with family losses and deaths that the swimming wasn't working, and I was like, oh no, am I gonna like cycle back? And I had this really, I was having this like I had my father, my brother, my mother was, they both died, and then my mother was sick and there was career things. And it was funny because I do a lot of this wellness work where we do a lot of things around the dimensions as we're talking today. And people used to talk about stuff in a, again, the intellectual, I say, what is that Pilates thing, and yoga, that sounds like a really good thing for someone else. And I started to like look into those things and then I started to taste test them, trying them out. And then I started to then realize I needed a variety. So I developed a repertoire with that. Those with the walking, with yoga, the Pilates. now that's my thing and people are like, you don't swim anymore. Like 'cause they, everybody knew me as the swimmer lady. But again, you're finding a, we will have something or we can then try something new is also another thing to try to help us to think about trying new things that can really help.- Well first of all, I wanna say this to you, I'm sorry to hear about your brother and about that loss and that period of time in your life, and also you just scared me to death because when you said swimming stopped working for you, then you know, I immediately started to have a heart attack, like, oh my god, what if running someday stops working for me?(laughing) But I agree with you. I used to like on my runs, I used to, now I like really it do get as well like the breathing that goes along with yoga and I'm totally bought in. But I, my friends who are listening right now, they will tell you, I used to like, okay, I'm gonna admit something to everybody. I used to kind of make fun of people who used to do it. I used to be like, why don't they do do like a real exercise? But like now I get it, I totally get it. I was just slow coming into understanding like all of the benefits from practicing it. It's a real thing. Okay, let's talk about financial, our financial dimension of wellness. This is particularly I think a good topic right now for teachers.- Yeah, so financial being like, just being aware of, and our, you know, what are our spending, what is our, you know, being aware of the skills that we have around savings and being aware of just what, what are we spending on, what is our income? Knowing just that awareness of what are our financial habits. And you know, we all have probably long-term goals or short-term goals with finances where we think that that, we do believe it does help us, but just some basic awareness of financial, the basics of finances can really help be a foundation we find for people to just become more aware, not to be so overwhelmed. Because it is a stressor, it's a major stressor. But being aware of, just thinking about okay, I wanna, spending and awareness of our, you know, expenses. Now it is this, you know, we're having a lot more with finances now. But one of the things we can always remember, you know, I'm getting old, but 'cause that was a big one for me was financials from early on. And I got into some really good habits around that thankfully. And you'll see swings in these things, so it's just being able to just be aware of what we do. And we're so overwhelmed like, I mean, this is unfortunately the thing that does drive people to some serious acts with financial hardships, we do know. But hopefully just learning for ourself to be kinder to ourself and not overwhelming ourself and reaching out and getting help when we can. But just being back to that basic money management that you learn probably hopefully in school or online, those are skills that can help you manage the crisis and/or rebuild yourself if that's where you need to be at. And I think we do see money becoming such a stressor for certain people.- Yeah, and again I think that that's just, you know, it's so important to think about these dimensions as being connected. You know, when we're really, you know, if you're really struggling financially, you know, you have to think about, you know, how that impacts you emotionally and how that impacts you socially. You know, 'cause you maybe will stop hanging out with your friends 'cause you don't have any money to do it and then maybe you stop, you know, you stop exercising cuz you feel depressed because you don't have that social engagement anymore. And I think that's what's the beauty, you know, for me anyway, the beauty of this model, is how, how you can see that connection between all of them, which makes you just more mindful of each of these dimensions of everybody's life.- Yeah.- Yeah, okay, what about social?- So social, you know, having our, it's that ability, you know, having social connections, social networks, our ability to kind of give support, get support. And that's a really big one for all of us. We're social beings and being able to connect with others and, you know, have that reciprocation with support or giving the support is very important. And then having someone to go to, to connect to around, again, the frustrations we might be experiencing are really kind of important. So it's just, you know, building those social skills for ourselves, not, you know, we do need the disconnections though at times from people, especially we get caught up in social media things, but having disconnection yourself is an important thing, spending time alone, but having that good balance of like being able to spend that time alone but then reaching out or having others and endure when we're maybe in a role where we have a lot of social people responsible for being able to have that reciprocation with it so we don't be taking it all on ourself or feeling so overwhelmed, which I think is a problem for people with sometimes with the work-life balance.- Yeah, I think it's actually a really, it's a lot, it's harder than what people think, right? I think that you really have to know yourself to know exactly how much is too much and when it's not enough. So I'm thinking of like, you know, how easily for people, particularly for people who maybe identify as being an introvert, which believe it or not, I am more of an introvert than an extrovert. You know, I can easily get myself, and I think introverts would say this, into this habit of like self-isolation sometimes because like social settings just are just not appealing to us at all. It feels like you're sucking the energy and the life out of me and it makes me super anxious. But then that's really unhealthy too, even though like we want, it's like the comfort of, we don't know when to like put a stop to that comfort and our comfort is to be alone. But then it's the other way for extroverts too. Like they wanna be around people all the time, but then it's like they need that alone time too to like, for clarity, and yeah, but so it's like you have to really know yourself to know like what that balance is.- Yeah, and it changes as we, you know, in different phases too, changes over time, and it's just having that good balance with it and then having some good support, you know, support system that might, you know, be available to connect with or, and as you were talking about with teachers, that's one of the things they can do in the environment, create a supportive environment. As I mentioned, that peer supporter program has been really invaluable. The check one, check two, but also in addition to that, we created a formal peer supporter training that people are trained to help support one another and it's been very, very helpful for the, the healthcare providers in these setting, and I think teachers definitely need that as well.- Definitely, yeah. I'm also wondering too if somebody's done some research on like how that's maybe changed us, like how COVID has maybe changed us, if like it's created people to be either more one way than the other than they were before because maybe they were so isolated for so long that it made them be more of an extrovert or vice versa. You know, I don't know. That's kind of... Okay let's talk about occupational wellness.- So that one, as I've defined it over the years, has been a little different. But I kind of see it as that those activities that you have purpose and meaning and passion. Again, that's work often identified, but it can be volunteer work, it could be your role as a parent or, you know, caretaker, can really fit into this area, as well as students. So, you know, across the lifespan, these different things. And some of us have multiple occupational wellness areas that we're, you know, activated on a day-to-day basis. So it's really, but finding things that are, that we have passion and purpose and really help, you know, again, could be a little, seem like the intellectual in a sense, but it really usually resolves around a role, social role, you know, we're a parent, we're a worker, we're a student, we're a member of the community who's volunteering.- Yeah. Yeah, I think this is, again, I think that this is a big one for teachers right now. Like struggling to find, to even understand or know whether or not this occupation is actually what they need in their life, at least in this season of their life right now. You know, at least when I'm looking at responses to surveys and different types of data that are coming out, I think this is something that we're really struggling with, and there's lots of things that feed into it and I'm wondering if maybe this is also happening in healthcare too.- Yeah, I think it is, you see where people are looking at priorities. And again, the greatest thing about the dimension of wellness model, so it started, I think,(speaking faintly off mic) the career one is a little, so that's really where when we're thinking, okay, keeping ourself, well, okay, am I volunteering? Maybe my volunteer work is gonna fill the cup.- Yeah.- Or my community work's gonna fill the cup or my family, so it's, and then that can help me to have clarity about making this decision so I don't feel, you know, I don't rush out of it, and you're helping make the decision, and a lot of times some of those volunteer things we can either do or pursue can maybe lead to a new occupational role, you know, if someone wants to make a shift.- That's true. I'm wondering too about boundaries, like maybe coaching people through how we not just set boundaries, but respect boundaries. You know, I and I also know that we can take this too far too, like I'm gonna set a boundary to only work, you know, exactly 40 hours a week. When you're on a salary, like you, that's really not, when you're on a salary, that's not really how, how it rolls, right? And we know that as teachers but also like definitely setting boundaries about, you know, when we answer emails or when we answer phone calls. So yeah, I'm wondering about that, if like maybe there's some better coaching we can do about boundaries and if that could help to, you know, people wanting to stay in the profession a little bit longer.- What I'd like to, what I often do with people around that is I kind of help them like do their wellness inventory, I call it the strengths inventory, where you list out what you do on a day-to-day basis in these areas and where are your strengths, and then what are you doing each day that you have, and almost like getting that calendar and putting it in your calendar or whatever, your virtual calendar or whatever, and then asking people to, you know, to really commit them to themselves if it's that five minute thing or that 10 minute thing. And then, you know, we do some coaching with people around that kind of thing. We've seen some good success with that people'cause it helps with people to identify the priority activity you can do, and then you are, most of the time you're already doing it, maybe not as consistent, but it gets you into that more of that habit, and then, you know, helping you, when you talk out loud with it, it then helps the other person to know, wait a minute, I'm not gonna call them that time at six. We're gonna end this and next week, it can get done. So it helps to sometimes make it a public state awareness that other people can start to respect that a little bit more.- Yeah, or like setting that email timer, right. I'm trying to do this, I'm trying to be better about this. Mariana and Kat are like on here right now and I'm, I really am trying harder ladies to set that when I'm emailing, when I'm working on the weekends to make sure and set that timer so it doesn't go to them until Monday morning because I know who they are. Like they're gonna see it and they're gonna respond to it and then I'm gonna be like, why are you working on the weekend? And then they're like, why are you working on the weekend?(laughing) So I think too, it's also when you're thinking about not just teachers setting boundaries, but then our admin really thinking about how am I gonna respect these boundaries and promote like the healthiness behind setting boundaries, you know, and lead by example. So it takes two, right? Yes. Okay, the last one we're gonna talk about before we're gonna get into some other questions here is our spiritual dimension of wellness. In this one, when Peggy and I'm doing this one, well I'll just let you talk about it'cause there's always this like person who always will say, well I'm not religious, and to be honest, I'm really not either, but it's not that.- Yeah, and so the way we define it in the model is not to be religious. It's again those things that are driving, it's just related to our values, our beliefs, and it really is more of that conceptually, the definition there. So what are the beliefs that we have and what are the values we have and then what are activities are we doing to really demonstrate our adherence to our values and our beliefs and those things that have that really, getting similar to occupational and that passion with it. So for many people it is sort of a religious connection or a culture. I see spirituality really is connected to culture as well. What are those activities, rituals, habits, you know, you have in your culture that often are spiritual connections. There's a symbolism there. And sometimes people get lost from those things and that's where I think they are very centering activities when you have a spiritual connective thing to your culture or spiritual connection to your religion or spiritual thing that you get outta swimming. Swimming was my spiritual activity for me.- I get that.- And again, walking for me now is my spiritual activity. People are like, what, walking. But it is, I get it, it's just a piece. Again, it's more spiritual for me to walk and do the walk that I do than it is even physical and/or emotional.- Yeah.- It helps me again get clarity on those things. But we, I do think that, you know, I think many people do have religious practices that they do that fit this and that's the nice thing about the wellness dimensions in the model. You can really fit it to your own life, your culture, your age, where you are in the lifespan.- Yeah, that's a perfect segue actually'cause one of my questions was about identity or culture and maybe thinking through how does identity and culture play into the eight dimensions of wellness, which you're already kind of, you're already speaking to a little bit.- Yeah, I think it hits in the spiritual dimension a lot, and it manifests itself in any of the other dimensions as well and when I work with people on this model, I do, you know, we do actually talk about those things, and sometimes people who are, you know, really in a stuck place or in a place, they start to reflect on those things and think about some of their cultural practices that they've like let go or they're not as following through and it helps them sometimes to reactivate those things or perhaps start to think about how to reconnect with maybe their spiritual communities or those spiritual cultural practices that they have. So it definitely has, in the way people do define wellness personally, definitely has an influence on their cultural bring upbringing and even just subcultures, you know, of youth versus teachers. We're all a culture, you know, healthcare has a culture. So the model does, you know, does manifest itself in different ways even in those kind of cultural, in our cultural groups, but also the activities we do really can be driven by our culture.- Yeah, yeah, I've noticed this a lot too in using the model in different schools and with different communities. You know, even around like your physical dimension when we talk about like healthy diets or even the ability to, the way, the way that some cultures define different types of emotion is different even. So when we're in that, like working through that emotional dimension, it can like really vary sometimes. There's some pieces in it that, you know, you really have to be culturally conscious and aware when you're using the monologue, working with different groups of people, but still applicable.- And it's openness 'cause I just dunno what I'm going to get sometimes using it and like, I like, wow, this is something learned and yep, just using the model per, like I said, it's personally been beneficial and then in working with people I've learned and grown in so many different ways and then appreciating that people, comes alive in so many unique ways in people's life. But, you know, it just, it's a good, the model just helps us to become more self-aware, particularly of your strengths, but also then taps into that cultural identity component and your own identity.- Yes, yep, yeah, I've noticed that too. I mean, for myself, like really being mindful of that, but then also again, when you're using it with other groups and in even having one-on-one conversations with people, like the way their life experiences, the way, how they identify in this world, and how they've experienced this world, it's really actually, it's super fascinating and interesting to see the differences then and the things that they've experienced or they think about within each of the dimensions, really learn from each other. I'm gonna be mindful of our time. We went through, we kind of, we went through the eight dimensions, which was awesome and I really wanted to talk about that cultural piece, which was really great. I'm wondering right now if it would be a good time to just pause a little bit to see if anybody who's joined us has any questions. And maybe Mariana and Kat, you can help with this if anybody submitted a question, and if not, then I still have, I have 1,000,001 things that I always wanna ask Peggy, so. I'm not seeing any reaction from Kat. Oh, here. Okay, so we have, What role is media playing in not feeling safe? So one example is, I'm so sick of the, oh, the furries, cats in school. So I don't know if you're familiar with furries, like this, we can, we'll talk about that, that is constantly being spread on social media and is so untrue. So like there, so I think this person is wondering like, is the media feeding feeding into this idea that like, schools are not safe, and so then that's like putting teachers on high alert and making us, creating us to feel like more unsafe and maybe in healthcare as well.- Yeah, I mean I'm sure there's a, definitely, I think the media's done a lot to put a lot of gasoline on fires. So I think there's a lot of things blowing up in that way. So, and I think that, so we have to be conscious of that. But I think one thing I find for wellness, if I talk to anybody is like cutting our social media connection and the reactivity, again, talking about that emotional dimension is like really being conscious of not, you know, like it's all gonna be out there and things, but perhaps like minimizing how much we're responding or reacting or taking it on is the way I kind of see, the way I try to approach the thing because it seems like it can just, that kind of keeps the feeding of it. But there's a, you know, it's an unfortunate way and that perhaps, there is a bigger focus, and then again, people become, yeah, this is bad, this is bad. And like you say, it may not, it could be bad, but maybe not as bad with people. So it's trying to help people to not, you know, to consume that media in, you know, and not totally take it as like the fact or the absolute. But it does sounds like it's like definitely probably will, it is probably influencing this in some way, I would think.- Yeah, you know, it's like the media thing. It's like, you know, sometimes we really want them to highlight certain things that are happening in a certain profession in the teaching profession. And then other times, I agreed on, that like, sometimes it's just like, wait a minute, you guys are like taking this to an extreme, to the point where you're like creating fear where there doesn't need to be fear. So I agree, like, you know, what is a healthy dose, and keeping, you know, your critical thinking hat on and your own like rational perspective when consuming that media and that information is really critical.- Keeping in mind the balance. So there's that side, but what about the other side? Like where's copies, there's so many wonderful teachers, there's so many things of stories and teachers that are doing some amazing things, like helping the media to go look at (indistinct) you know, showing both of that, those things.- Yeah, so I was actually just reading a study in Ed Week this morning. And so this reminds me of it, Peggy. And basically it was this group, it was some qualitative data that they had basically in addition to, so there was like, there was like this quantitative data that was talking about all the teachers that were leaving the profession and how they were just miserable. But there was also this group of teachers who were commenting that they actually have like, in some ways during COVID like thrived and they like their job even more, but they're like ashamed to talk about it, because not, there was some shame that was being brought up in this qualitative data, but also like they felt guilty and so they didn't wanna like be public about like the positive side of some of the stuff that they were feeling and experiencing because they felt bad because they knew that their colleagues were not feeling, some of their colleagues weren't feeling that way. So I think that's really interesting, right? Like there are two sides.- Yeah.- Yeah. So, okay, we have a good one from Wende. So let's see what Wende has to say.

So Wende:

"I have seen some models that have 10 dimensions." Yep, this is true."Cultural and sexual were two additional dimensions."Wondering where those might come in." And we kind of talked about this, but do you wanna say a little bit more about this, Peggy?- Yeah, so those are, there's different dimensional models. There's 4, 6, 8, 10, and you know, so they could come into the, sometimes people talk about the sexual dimension as being separate or the cultural being separate, but we've just had this eight dimension and kind of stopped there in a way. But I think those are two areas that could sometimes come into some of the other dimensions and/or they might need their own. And you'll we'll see other models that have perhaps 10 or 12, even up to 12 I've seen. But the way I've conceptualized this over time was just more for the eight areas. But those are very important areas, and I think every, most things I see as the, through the culture, the culture of, the cultural lens, I think fits in all of the dimensions. But you know, I think if you're using the model, you want to develop the list yourself, people would always say you don't have enough(indistinct) but you take this and do what you want with it. I went from five to seven to eight, so over time. So I think if you wanna use it and wanna add those, that's fantastic, especially if it meets the needs of the people you're wanting to help work with this on it. You always wanna be meeting people's needs.- Yeah. Yeah, I agree. And I think it's been pretty easy for me to, at least when I'm teaching it, to loop in identity and culture within each of the dimensions when I'm talking about it. And in fact, I have drawn like a cultural and identity like wheel around the wheel before on the board, but I know that some people have adjusted it and actually like planted those additional dimensions and made the wheel a little bit bigger too. So yeah, that was a great question, Wende. Thank you for that. Ruth, I see that you're curious as to where we find this in print. I'm not sure if you're talking about just maybe the eight dimensions in print potentially. If that's it, I mean you can Google it, but we also on our website shortly, we should have a, what are we calling it? It's like a materials and resources tab. Oh, you're gonna be mad at me for bringing this up, aren't you? That's not quite ready on our website, but I'm hoping that we'll have some of those materials on our website. She's nodding now and laughing. Yeah, on our website, and we'll definitely include Peggy's work in that group of resources. And those of you who are attending this for licensure renewal credit, those resources will also be in Canvas as well.- Yeah, I have a variety. I think you're gonna get links to all of the different, the model and the materials. I have a lot of materials, I just developed a new workbook that would be nice for teachers. It has lesson plans around doing different things around the dimensions and I have different quizzes you can use, and I've a lot of different resources will definitely, yeah, that we'll be able to link to. You'll be able to get there and/or you can just reach out to me. Because I've been doing this so many years. I probably have things in publisher, I have things handwritten from decades ago that I find and people find useful. So happy to share.- Yeah, she's the most generous person. You know, when you look at her CV and it's like 10 miles long and you think, oh, she's not even gonna talk to me. And then she not only will not, she just sits down and talks to you, but she'll like share everything she's ever created with you. So really, honestly, you are just a true educator, Peggy, and we are just so happy that you were able to join us today and share everything that you shared with us and keep kind of supporting our profession and teachers out in the field. So thank you Peggy, for coming.- Thank you.- Yeah, I think I have one more question for you before we leave tonight and it's kind of a question, bringing it back to students in our classrooms, which is,"If you could recommend like one thing for educators"to do to be able to translate all of this information"to students how would you recommend they do that?"- Well, I think there's a couple different things you could think about, as kind of perhaps in, I think I told you this. I had to do a lot for high school students a couple of years ago and I did a whole thing for some children and stuff. So what do I do? I say, oh my god, I started this at that age, so, but that's 40 something years ago or whatever. So find my nieces, pull in my nieces and the kids. So I worked with my niece on it just to do some reality check on it and some PowerPoint help to make it boil down to them. But I think you could perhaps, you know, do some work with a youth group to kind of look at it, give some feedback on some of the language, and then introduce it. They loved it. We did some, I organized a couple of youth groups, helped them do some conferences around the wellness. We did these wellness fairs there and then just recently we did some stuff online with it during the pandemic. And so I would say just get a younger, get a couple people, younger folks to give you some feedback and help, but introduce it. And I think it could be a nice part of health class or education. You can integrate it into a couple of your courses for students. Like some of these topics you can figure out. And titrate it, you know, you can say here's the dimensions but then the specific ones. But the young adults love this. And again, they have their own cultural spin on some of the things, but I was so surprised with the one my nieces and I did share with Kari in the group. She wrote for our newsletter, we do this newsletter, she's written for me, and it really resonated well with some youth and young adults. So I definitely think they probably have many more great ideas to even help you bring this model alive more for them and also could help the teachers.- Yeah, and I think I really look at, look at it as preventative and coupling this with our SCBH information and interventions that we're implementing in schools. It doesn't have to be like, you know, we oftentimes think of initiatives like PBIS and then SCBH curriculum and wellness as like totally separate things, and they're not, they're really not. They like are supposed to be complementary and coupling each other and building off of each other to create a preventative like system that supports your wellness journey and your wellbeing.- Yeah, and Wende said she's using it with her high school students.(indistinct)- Perfect. Well thank you so much for joining us today, Peggy. It was really, really wonderful having you. And I wanna thank all of you educators or people out there, maybe in the health profession, anybody who took time out of their busy schedules on a Wednesday night to be with us this evening and engage in this conversation. I think it's really important and I'm so happy that we have started a podcast. I'm so proud of us. Thanks team. And thanks, Peggy, for being our very, very first guest and kind of our Guinea pig. So hopefully you will join us next month. I'm looking down at Marianna and Kat. What is the date for next month? What is it? November 17th? November, I can't remember. November 6th. No, I'm gonna be in Norway on November 6th. Is the 16th. Yeah, November 16th. Okay. So hopefully we'll see you all back here November 16th. Take care everybody have a great Halloween and October and I'll hopefully see you November 16th.- Be well.- Be well, yes.