By Mr. Mark Iacampo ( Hohenfels )September 18, 2012
HOHENFELS, Germany -- The Employee Assistance Program hosted its first Civilian Wellness Day here, recently, in an effort to inform the community of the many services available to help promote total wellness.
"A lot of times we get so busy in our daily lives that we don't even know what is available right here to aid us in our quest for wellness," said Kettely Darden, EAP coordinator and ASAP counselor.
Darden explained that while many people associate wellness only with physical health, the term actually encompasses much more.
"Wellness is about balance," she said. "We need to look at the whole person; body, mind and spirit. We wanted to touch on all the aspects and tell people what's available right here in the community."
Addressing the mind aspect of wellness, Dr. James A. Schmidt, EAP coordinator and ASAP counselor, discussed some of the counseling services, training and workshops available through EAP.
"We're all on journeys, and sometimes everybody needs a little help," he said. "We're offering our services if you ever want to come in and discuss (wellness) and say, let's create a plan where we can work on these things. We really believe that (individuals) have the answers and all we do is ask questions, and then a little light bulb goes off in their heads."
Corey Fitzgerald, ASAP program manager, pointed out that stress is a normal part of everyday life, but learning to manage it is critical. Priscilla Fleischer, Hohenfels Family Advocacy Program Manager, shared some of the stress management techniques she recently learned during the two week Master Resiliency Training in Philadelphia in June.
"A lot of it is simply about negative thinking," she said. Fleischer explained that often it is not an actual event that is creating stress, but the way we are interpreting that event, that in fact our own thoughts create our feelings.
Fleischer shared a technique of what she called "hunting the good stuff" which involved keeping a journal of positive thoughts and happenings each day. It could be something as simple as a good meal, a conversation, or appreciating the beauty of a butterfly.
"Any good thing that happens in your day needs to be celebrated. And we often tend to ignore them and focus on what went wrong," said Fleischer. "It's about trying to focus on what makes you the happiest and trying to really enjoy it."
Maj. Frantisek Halka, garrison chaplin, talked about man's endless quest for spirituality down through the ages. He pointed out that while the Army recognizes over 200 religions on its questionnaire, spirituality is more than dogma.
"There are great opportunities in Hohenfels," he said. "There are services, bible studies, lots of literature and spiritual retreats that are going on."
On the physical side of wellness, the workshop provided a healthy lunch of fruits, vegetables, and sliced turkey as well as a handout on "mindful eating," a strategy for stopping inappropriate eating habits. They also provided an evening fitness session at the post gym where fitness coordinator and personal trainer Emma Lawson gave tips on squeezing short workouts into today's hectic lifestyles.
"Studies have shown if you do 10 minutes of cardio three times a day your body can receive similar benefits to doing 30 minutes of cardio in one sitting," Lawson said. She suggested taking a ten minute break next to your desk and doing no-weight squats, in-place lunges, and jumping jacks.
"You do that three times and you've just given yourself a mini circuit with two exercises and some cardio," said Lawson.
Darden said EAP plans more wellness workshops and is actively looking for interested participants to brainstorm ideas for the future.
"After this workshop, as people continue to think about wellness, they'll know who the players are that can help them," said Darden. "We're very fortunate that the Army provides us in our community all these different services. Utilize them. I encourage you not to let this be just (a workshop) to focus on your well being but make it an everyday thing. We have to try everyday to take care of the whole person."