CNA offers free wellness supports to the public

Series of community education courses aimed at mental, physical health during pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, there is much concern around mental and physical well-being as entire countries practice social distancing and self-isolation.
In response to this, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is offering a series of four "Stress and Mindful Wellness" community education courses, which will be available to the general public at free of charge.
The online courses were developed by CNA's Art & Design Essentials instructor, Lori Deeley, during her time as a Program Developer for employee wellness. The goal is to give people the tools they need to help with the stress and anxiety during the pandemic. As a certified art therapist, Deeley encourages people to enroll and develop skills that will help them focus on self-care during this unprecedented time.
The schedule of this series is as follows:

  • Creative Energies, April 14 to May 1

  • Being Present, May 5-22

  • Letting Go and Letting Be, May 26 to June 12

  • You are All That & a Bag of Chips, June 9-26

These free-of-charge courses will be offered through CNA's online Distributed Learning (DL) platform. Each segment will be available to participants for one month. During the four-week period, people will be able to log in and access courses at their leisure. They can be completed in a day, or ideally, practiced every day for that four-week period.

Participants can register for this series here, or email for additional information.  

How does one 'self-care'?
The introductory session, Creative Energies, runs from April 14 to May 1. Deeley says participants will learn and practice a variety of techniques designed to spark your creative energies mentally and physically.
"To utilize creative energies, you don't have to be an artist. Anyone can harness the power of creative energy through hand yoga, meditation, poetry and drawing to help with stress reduction and relaxation."
The second part of the series, Being Present, will be offered from May 5-22. Deeley says it is easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks and responsibilities so taking breaks throughout the workday is vital for physical and mental health. The course invites you to re-focus through guided breathing, movement, unplugging and looking at the positive things around you.
"Working from home has many challenges and distractions; from your cat sitting on your work to trying to find a quiet, comfortable place to concentrate. Give yourself permission to carve out a few minutes each day to devote your own self-care."
The third session, Letting Go and Letting Be, will be offered from May 26 to June 12. Each of these four, quick, self-care practices are designed to give your mind and body a break and redirect your attention back to the present. 
"Worry is a habit we can actively break by changing the channel in our brains. By utilizing self-care practices daily, we ground ourselves in the here and now," Deeley said. 
Participants will be introduced to the practices of guided imagery, mindful grounding, sleep journals, and other ways to deal with worry.
The final offering - You are All That & a Bag of Chips - will take place June 9-26.
"Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and our biggest critics. Negative self-talk and opinion can increase your overall stress levels, distort your thinking and damage your self-esteem," Deeley said. "In this four-session course you will learn to stop, relax, be nicer to yourself, and have a laugh."
The session will work with progressive relaxation, calming the inner critic, practicing kindness and compassion, as well as the value of laughter.