Mind, body fitness the focus of Women's Wellness Conference
April 29, 2009
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (April 30, 2009) -- Long, demanding duty days, continuous training, being away from home during deployment, it can all add up to creating feelings of stress and tension.
To counteract this potential for personal overload, the 7th Sustainment Brigade chaplaincy held a Women's Wellness Training Conference Friday through Sunday at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg providing female Soldiers and female spouses of Soldiers, the opportunity to strengthen their spiritual skills, thus enabling them to become more resilient throughout the Army's non-stop deployment cycle.
"The brigade sponsored the event gearing it toward promoting a spiritual and healthy lifestyle for women," said Staff Sgt. Portia Davis, 7th Sust. Bde. chaplain noncommissioned officer in charge.
Togetherness and strength of sisterhood were Friday's focus kicking things off with a showing of the movie "The Secret Life of Bees."
"The movie was good," said Sgt. Yvonne T. Brooks, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sust. Bde., chaplain's assistant. "It showed us a lot of ways to uplift each other as women, not only in times of need but during times of joy as well."
Saturday was a day of classes geared toward teaching women healthy ways to bolster themselves. Classes such as Discovering Your Inner Self, Body Image and You, and Healthy Weight Loss and Nutrition, were on the agenda. An added perk was childcare which was provided freely to those women attending the conference.
"Saturday was basically a time for health and wellness," explained Brooks. "I was one of those people attending for myself as well as being a chaplain's assistant to help Staff Sgt. Davis if she needed anything."
Brooks said her experience taught her a few things about herself that she did not realize.
"The classes encompassed so many paradigms," she said. "We did a personality exercise using colored chocolate candies that showed us our different personality characteristics. I am a powerful person based on the exercise and that means I like to be a certain way and I'm going to fight until it gets done that way. The exercise was a way to show us the strengths of our varied personalities - one was powerful, one was popular, one was peaceful, and one was perfect, and how the traits are reflected in your spirituality."
"I went as a volunteer to help her (Davis) but I became a patron of the event," said Brooks. "I learned a lot about health and nutrition. The difference between eating healthy, and the difference between dieting and exercise and how you need balance. I especially learned about those diets on television and in magazines that celebrities are hocking. I learned that those diets are not realistic in terms of lifestyle. One of the more important things that stuck out for me was learning that everybody can't maintain that (television) way of living. You have to figure out what works best for you. It was all about living a healthier lifestyle."
Gaining self-awareness was the best part of the weekend for Staff Sgt. Alveta Jackson, S-3 schools noncommissioned officer, 7th Sust. Bde., Special Troops Battalion.
"The information that I gathered will help me be better aware of who I am as a leader," said Jackson, "It further showed me how I can better support my Soldiers as well as care for myself mentally, physically and spiritually."
"The environment was so nice," added Jackson as she described the surroundings of the resort. "The opportunity that we were given, it was calming and relaxing. We were treated like royalty. If you are stressed out during the day and have issues, whether at home or work, this type of conference provides Soldiers a way to relieve that stress."
Jackson further explained how the training is conducive to the success of the total Army family.
"This wellness conference shows how serious the command, and the Army as a whole is about planting seeds for Soldiers to grow and to become better leaders," she said.
Sunday morning found attendees enjoying a luscious breakfast with music provided by members of The Transportation Express. A worship service ensued followed by brunch.
Providing women the opportunity to strengthen their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual stamina to successfully face the many challenges that occur throughout the brigade's deployment cycle is the purpose behind the Women's Wellness Training Conference. The goal, to provide a relaxing and spiritually enriching environment for those who attend. For Brooks, it offered her the chance to take time to be mindful of the simple things in life.
"On Saturday morning after we did Pilates," she said, "all of us ladies were energized and pumped up. The highlight of the entire weekend for me was when I walked out onto the balcony of the golf course overlooking the James River and ate my breakfast in the sun. The feel of the wind on my face and in my hair, and the warmth of the sun bathing my skin, it was wonderful."