Introduction

Your Empower program will be delivered in three separate (but equally important) ways:

  • Online content and videos
  • Live workshops
  • Daily journal entries ('Own Time' activities)

At your first live workshop in club, you will receive your Empower journal. Your journal is something to treasure as it will track your journey in your own words. This is a space where you can workshop your thoughts, feelings and program activities in your own time and in your own way. You will also benefit from bringing it along to each of your workshops. By fully engaging in the journal activities you can easily keep up-to-date with the progression of the program. It will also help you discover where to focus your attention each week to improve your wellbeing.

At Fernwood we understand that holistic health is not just about exercising and eating well. True health is reflected in the wellbeing of our mind, body and soul. The connection between these three aspects of self is undeniable - we are what we eat, drink and think.

With the prevalence of stress, anxiety and other emotional and mental health issues affecting how we think and feel, we understand the importance of empowering you with the tools to live your most authentic and happy life.

Over the course of the next six weeks we will be introducing you to a range of wellness-related topics, taking you on a journey to find the areas in your life and self that may require some attention. These topics include:

Stress and anxiety: It's important to understand what physically happens to our body when we experience stress to help manage it. In the first half of Empower, we explore the physical and psychological implications of stress, and in particular long-term stress. We give you the knowledge and tools to combat stress on a day-to-day basis, to help prevent some of the negative long-term effects.

Mindfulness and meditation: One of the most effective ways to cope with stress, mild to moderate anxiety and the 'stuff' that derails our general wellbeing from time to time, is the practice of mindfulness and meditation.

Emotional intelligence (EQ): Stress management, mindfulness and meditation have been proven to enhance emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ describes the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and understand the emotions of other people. Research suggests that people with a higher sense of EQ are able to manage life's stressors, adopt a positive growth mindset and are less likely to experience mental health issues.

Positive psychology: Positive psychology is not simply trying to 'think positively.' We've all tried that and know that unless there is a shift in our default way of thinking, being positive can only last so long. Our thoughts and feelings determine our ultimate actions and experiences with the world, and this is driven by our belief system. Through developing emotional intelligence and working towards a growth mindset, we can start to have more positive experiences, enhancing our mental health and overall wellbeing.

Sleep health: Getting enough quality sleep is an essential human need. We heal both physiologically and psychologically when we are sound asleep. Starving our body and mind of sleep has significant implications for long-term mental and physical health. We will explore what healthy sleep really looks like and ways to achieve this.

Gratitude: Gratitude is not just an action or saying 'thank you'. It is a real, heartfelt positive emotion and deep appreciation for someone or something which produces long-lasting positivity, and often feelings of elation. Reflecting in gratitude is a powerful mindfulness and self-care practice. Done daily for a prolonged period of time, gratitude can have positive benefits on mental health and emotional intelligence.

Self-care and loving kindness: The practice of loving kindness and self-care is at the very heart of Empower. Knowing our value and worth in our most authentic self is not something that comes naturally to most of us. It can be one of the hardest things we do on the journey to positive mental health and total wellbeing. We will explore compassionate practices including loving kindness, gratitude and forgiveness. It could be time to dig deep – but you've got this!

So, let's prepare for the start of your program with two activities to complete in your own time.

‘oWN Time’ Activities

Where are you now?

An important part of any personal development journey is understanding where you are now. It is exciting to witness the growth within ourselves that emerges when we move through a process of positive change. One of the areas of wellbeing we will be exploring over the coming weeks is Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Pre-Program Activity 1: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Questionnaire
You will find an EQ Questionnaire below which we would like you to download and complete before you attend your first live in-club workshop session.

Pre-Program Activity 2: Your food affects your mood
You’re probably familiar with the phrase 'you are what you eat'. We know that the food you choose to fuel your body not only affects your metabolism and physique, but also your gut health, mental health and mood.

We encourage you to support all the work you are doing with Empower with foods that are going to nourish your brain and your body, and support a healthy mood. To help you out, you will find a variety of 'mood food' recipes in the Empower Recipe eBook.

These recipes are not compulsory meals, but are a highly recommended addition to enhance the benefits of the program.

Why are you here?

Pre-program activity 3: Your 'program why'

  • Take as long as you need to write down YOUR personal reason for doing the program. We will call this your 'program why'.
  • If you were telling a trusted friend why you joined Empower, what would you say?
  • Once you are clear on your 'why', it is a good idea to set an intention to focus on throughout the next six weeks and even beyond. If you have never set an intention before or need some help, don't worry we will help you in your first workshop.

An example program why:
I want to learn practical techniques to cope with stress at work and learn to meditate.

An example program intention:
I intend to use meditation as a way to manage work stress and dedicate more time to myself.

Your program why and program intention are not set in stone, in fact, they will likely change and evolve as you move through the coming weeks, and that’s okay. Now it's time to meditate.

Meditative or MindfulNESS Practice

Throughout your Empower experience we will be exploring a number of powerful meditative and mindfulness activities (both in your live workshops and as part of your 'Own Time' activities).

If you have never intentionally meditated before, it's important to know there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Everyone practices meditation differently and experiences varied benefits.

Meditation is about directing the mind to a point of focus instead of simply clearing it. Meditations may be guided or self-directed and can be as simple as focusing on one’s pace or rhythm of breath, or on a specific topic for reflection. This brings us to your final preparation task before starting next week.

Your meditative practice

Empower resources for this week:

Program schedule: Here is a copy of the program schedule so you know exactly what’s coming up and when throughout Empower.

Reminders: Complete your Emotional Intelligence Quiz and Personal Wellbeing Index before your workshop this week.