Health and wellness initiative kicks off at CFMWC
By Ryan Melanson,
Most members of the defence community continually balance their busy work days and home lives while trying to find time for things like exercise, full nights of sleep and other means of self care. In recognition of this, the Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre (CFMWC) has started a series of monthly sessions meant to give its members new strategies to take care of themselves both physically and mentally.
The unit is teaming up with PSP Halifax Health Promotion services for a Total Health and Wellness initiative that will see the unit come together once a month for sessions or activities designed to help members make healthier choices regarding physical exercise, food, finances, stress, relationships and other life factors.
The idea was sparked by LCdr Kimberly Chu, who previously started a similar program when she was posted to CFRC Halifax and achieved positive results. It was stressed that the days are not part of a replacement for unit PT or anything else, but rather an entirely new effort in addition to existing health-focused initiatives.
Harold White with Health Promotion Services attended the inaugural session along with EAP Manager Holly Scothorn, and while there was talk about exercise, proper diets and heart health, the focus was on brainstorming with the CFMWC members about topics to explore in the coming months. Things like financial stress, retirement planning, conflict resolution, healthy cooking and grocery shopping tips and low-impact workouts were all presented as themes to explore on a given day.
“We’re really opening it up to them, to say ‘What would you like some education and interaction on to help you live a better life,” said Capt(N) Darren Garnier, Commanding Officer at the Warfare Centre.
“I know not everyone is always going to be interested in every topic, but they’ll be here and learn something anyway, and I think it will be very worthwhile.”
With a workforce that has an older average age than most CAF units, along with a number of civilian employees, CFMWC offers a good test group to gauge the impact of the sessions.
“And it’s very unique to have this kind of support from the Chain of Command; that’s not an opportunity that everybody gets, so we’re going to try to make the most of it,” White said.