Posted on: July 27, 2022
Libby Pfonner, Wellness Coordinator, has done a fantastic job encouraging our residents to participate in activities that improve their health and wellness. One of the most popular activities is our monthly challenges. The topic for each month is selected by Caz Recovery’s Wellness Committee, and each comes with a simple tracker to keep an eye on one’s progress.
We’ve had these challenges for a while, but they were primarily targeted towards staff. Libby made it her goal to bring these challenges to our residents over the last year, and she includes the evidence-based practice of token economy in her approach. Residents receive prizes for completing their trackers. “They love the wellness prizes,” said Libby.
A Wellness Collaboration
Turning Point House in particular has been an excellent partner with Libby. Alyssa Draudt and Renae Banach are both Counselors there, and they lead the wellness collaboration at their program. “We plan our activities after the monthly challenges,” said Alyssa. The two get to work creating groups that reinforce the topic once the challenge is selected for the next month.
In order to ensure that residents want to get involved, both Alyssa and Renae focus on making the groups and activities enjoyable. “We wanted everybody to participate, so we started to make it fun,” Alyssa said. “They become more engaged when it’s fun,” explained Renae.
Back in April, the monthly focus was foot health. Renae found some recipes for foot scrubs online with ingredients like coffee, sugar, and different essential oils. Turning Point House is a program for men, and they were all hesitant at first. But one brave guy went up to make the foot scrub, and everyone else quickly followed. For weeks after, residents came up to Renae and Alyssa saying that they used the foot scrubs in the shower. “One really liked it and said how soft his feet were!” said Renae.
The current challenge for July is sun health and hydration. Turning Point House staff took residents to the beach and promoted sunscreen and drinking water while there. “A lot of them struggle with drinking water,” Alyssa said. The challenges keep the topics in the forefront of the residents’ minds. In addition, the challenges encourage the development of a healthy habit over a month. Alyssa and Renae also draw inspiration from the Wellness Wednesdays emails that Libby sends out to staff and residents every week.
Integrating Wellness Goes a Long Way
While the challenges are always a lot of fun, they also allow residents time to explore healthy activities they might not have tried before. “A lot of residents haven’t heard of the activities or never thought about doing them while sober,” said Libby. “It also gives them other outlets and ways to cope with trauma or triggers.”
The great ideas that Alyssa and Renae come up with at Turning Point House end up benefitting residents across the agency, too. “I can use their activities for every other program,” said Libby. “They’ve been really helpful.”
Since Alyssa and Renae started incorporating the wellness challenges in this way, they’ve noticed that the residents are really engaged. “There’s been a lot more participation,” said Alyssa. “It’s good for them to get education on the importance of wellness and taking care of themselves.” Meanwhile, Renae added that many of our residents have spent years not living a healthy lifestyle and that little steps with the challenges make a big difference. “I noticed that I feel better myself when I do the challenges,” said Renae. “A little water can go a long way!”
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