Wellness is for everyone

Inspired NSCC employee implements daily practices to positively impact wellness at Strait Area Campus

Wellness is for everyone

Diane Johnson-Snook, Program Coordinator with Achieve at Strait Area Campus.

“Because the program [NSCC’s Leadership Essentials] focuses on making a difference, I started thinking about what I could do in my office to promote mental wellness among my colleagues.” ~ Diane Johnson-Snook

Fast Fact

As the College has increased its focus on the importance of mental wellness, campuses continue to expand the opportunities for students and employees to learn about and experience wellness, including yoga and mindfulness meditation classes, smudging and talking circles, presentations on mental health and resilience, therapy dog visits, exercise challenges, and opportunities for social connection.

Last fall, Diane Johnson-Snook sourced some large sheets of paper and transformed an NSCC Strait Area Campus office wall into a blank canvas. She called it the Positivity Graffiti wall and invited coworkers to post what makes them happy, or things they are grateful for, thinking it would help enhance overall mental wellness in the workplace. The response has far exceeded her expectations.

“The wall is almost full,” says Johnson-Snook, Program Coordinator of the campus Achieve program. “People have shared everything from compliments to gratitude that someone shoveled their driveway. By sharing these everyday joys with each other we are taking the opportunity to change perspectives on how the day is going and creating a healthier, happier work environment.”

The inspiration for this uplifting undertaking came in part through NSCC’s Organizational Learning offerings. “I am taking the Leadership Essentials program, which expanded my knowledge on the ways that we impact each other in the workplace through our actions and the things we say,” Johnson-Snook says. “Because the program focuses on making a difference, I started thinking about what I could do in my office to promote mental wellness among my colleagues.”

It’s the small things

At first, Johnson-Snook sent articles to coworkers about coping with stress, the impacts of negative news, and increasing their happiness. As interest grew and more people asked to be added to the mailings, Johnson-Snook realized she was onto something. Wanting to build on this momentum, she came up with the idea for the Positivity Graffiti Wall, but it took a few adjustments to make that happen.  

“We had a hallway in the entrance that had several bookcases and filing cabinets,” she says. “I had those moved and filled the space with plants, the graffiti wall, and a bulletin board where we can post quotes about self-care and creating joy. Now, when we walk in, we have a bit of breathing room, which I think helps everyone transition into the workday with more calm, mindfulness and enthusiasm than before.”

Although her office has always been a supportive environment, Johnson-Snook has noticed increased optimism, empathy and kindness since the Positivity Graffiti Wall went up. The wall has also attracted interest and input from across the campus and beyond. “The academic chair has regularly contributed to it,” Johnson-Snook says. “Our campus librarian has also made a few posts. In fact, virtually everyone who has visited our office has stopped to read some of the messages. If I am in, I’ll encourage them to add a line or two, and to come back anytime they have something else they want to share.”

Future plans

To enable more sharing, Johnson-Snook is making plans for a second wall. She has also been thinking of other, more off-the-wall ways to promote mental wellness among her colleagues. To date, she has launched a Friday afternoon “one-song dance party” and an office challenge to encourage people to drink more water. Diane’s initiatives to boost positivity and wellness are great examples of how we can all influence our workplaces for the better and she has heard from colleagues that they are taking those principles into NSCC’s classrooms.

“The goal for me is to ensure that we have a work environment that promotes well-being so that when we leave at the end of the day, we have plenty of energy to spend time with friends and family, or doing something that increases mental wellness,” Johnson-Snook says.

24/01/20

“Because the program [NSCC’s Leadership Essentials] focuses on making a difference, I started thinking about what I could do in my office to promote mental wellness among my colleagues.” ~ Diane Johnson-Snook

Fast Fact

As the College has increased its focus on the importance of mental wellness, campuses continue to expand the opportunities for students and employees to learn about and experience wellness, including yoga and mindfulness meditation classes, smudging and talking circles, presentations on mental health and resilience, therapy dog visits, exercise challenges, and opportunities for social connection.

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