FORT SMITH, NT - This year, many South Slave Divisional Education Council educators are participating in the board’s second annual Win the Day Wellness Challenge. Following the theme of the fall regional educator’s in-service, Filling Our Buckets, staff are working together over the rest of the school year to put their learnings into practice and take care of their health and wellness so that they are better able to care for their students.
This year’s wellness challenge is inspired by the nine Dene Laws, with each challenge lasting one month. The laws have been passed down through generations, and are taught as the key to living a good life. Today, as we increasingly focus on the importance of wellness, we are coming back to what the Dene have been teaching all along – that the most important things to staying well include loving, helping, and sharing, among others. Through this challenge, staff are focusing on how they can apply the laws to positively impact their personal and professional lives.
Each month features a new law, along with three challenge prompts staff can choose from. They are also invited to create and share their own challenges with the group, who stay connected via an email conference. The challenges themselves are diverse enough to enable all to participate and are designed to raise their level of awareness of and commitment to their physical, mental, and emotional health.
“I really liked the idea of taking time to thank people at work. You can actually see someone visibly light up when you acknowledge their hard work and take the time to say thank you in person. We all often work way too hard and it's too easy to feel that this hard work is not appreciated. A simple "thank you" goes so far in terms of making someone feel valued, and in turn makes me feel better too (win-win!),” said a November challenge participant. Last month the Dene Law be polite; do not argue with others was studied, and many participants choose to make a more concerted effort to thank those they interacted with throughout the day.
Feedback has been positive, although the challenges are not always easy – in September we focused on getting adequate amounts of sleep, with many finding that difficult to do given their busy schedules. Participants have commented on positive changes in their lives and are thankful for the direction that they challenge provides. Many have also said that even though the month may be over, they are planning on continuing on with the challenge as they know they will continue to reap the benefits.