Week 1

The fact that you are here means so much to us. We are super excited to help and support you on your personal journey to increased wellness and wellbeing.

One of your pre-program activities was to identify your program ‘why’ - your reason for being here on the Empower program. If you have not done so already, write your program why and program intention down on a piece of paper to bring along to your first workshop.

When you come into the club for your first Empower workshop, you will receive a beautiful Empower journal. It will serve as a guide and resource for your program journey, as well as a space for you to complete ‘Own Time’ breakthrough activities. This journal is YOUR journal and ultimately how you use it is entirely up to you. As with all activities within the program, you do not have to engage in anything that you don’t wish to or don’t feel comfortable doing.

We are fully backed to have yours
The structure and content for your Empower program has been designed and developed by field experts at Deakin University. The systematic program development included extensive collation and analysis of research about women’s wellness and wellbeing, as well as feedback from Fernwood members, staff and management. So, now you know you’re in safe and expert hands, let’s dive in!

What is wellbeing and why work on it?
If you already have some form of wellbeing or mindfulness practice incorporated into your lifestyle, you will understand the benefits of working daily on aspects of your mental and emotional wellbeing. If this however is all new territory for you, think of it like this – it’s like you’re flexing the wellness muscle. Just like we need to flex and train our muscles to stay physically fit and strong for long-term health, we also need to train the very foundation of our wellness fibres to help sustain a healthy state of mind and overall wellbeing. These foundations include:

  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Mindfulness
  • Stress coping and management

General wellbeing can be defined as how you feel about yourself and your life. It incorporates the physical, mental, emotional and social factors linking to happiness and life satisfaction. Some factors have a negative impact, such as stress and anxiety and what we like to call ‘energy vampires’ (more on these later). Others have a powerfully positive impact such as mindfulness, meditations and intention setting. Let’s explore some of these key factors now.

Stress
Stress is one of the biggest factors that can derail our overall wellness and mental wellbeing. Next week we will explore this topic further, looking at both the body’s innate physiological response to stress as well as the physical feelings, symptoms and experiences that you may have personally when stress does arise. We will explore how these may affect you and over the weeks look at coping mechanisms to reduce the negative effects of stress both physically and mentally.

When our goals fail to align with our true values and desires (our authenticity) stress can often arise. The long-term effects of stress can be detrimental to the physical body as well as our mental health. Strengthening our emotional intelligence can help in the management of stress, as well as understanding our own emotions and those of others around us.

Mindfulness
One of the most effective ways to develop emotional intelligence and manage stress is through mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially a practice of ‘being’ as oppose to ‘doing’. It is the simple process of bringing your attention back to the present moment. Taking time to be mindful puts a space between you and your emotions and gives you time to watch your thoughts come and go as opposed to indulging them.

We know that practicing mindfulness and participating in mindful practices such as meditation, journaling, intention setting and reinforcing affirmations contribute to the overall improvement of wellbeing, while supporting the reduction of depression and anxiety.

A perfect example of when mindfulness is beneficial is in times of conflict or stress. Taking a moment to step back and reflect on the situation is the first step to adopting a mindful approach to the situation, as opposed to getting caught in the moment and letting our emotions get the better of us. It opens us up to the possibility of a different perspective and possibly another outcome. Often clarity presents when mindfulness is practiced.

This brings to mind a famous quote:

“The moment we focus on anger is the moment we stop striving for the truth and start striving for ourselves.”

- BUDDHA -

Being mindful allows us to find a sense of calm, re-centre and gain a higher perspective on life.

Intentions and affirmations
An intention is a focused statement, similar to a goal or a desire, and the tense is generally future based. An affirmation is a statement in the present tense. Repeating and reaffirming an intention in a succinct sentence housed in the present transforms the intention into an affirmation. When an intention is reaffirmed by being recited or written repeatedly, its power and presence is reinforced in your mind.

The mind is very powerful. When it hears information over and again it starts to believe the information it is being exposed to and more likely to see the intention come to fruition.

If you’re struggling with any of the content this week, don’t worry. It will all become clearer in the workshop where we take a more detailed dive into emotional intelligence, mindfulness and intentions and affirmations as foundations for your daily wellness practice.

‘Own Time’ activities

In order to get the full benefits of the Empower program, we highly recommend you complete the ‘Own Time’ activities. Your future self will thank you for it!

Your meditative practice

Your yoga poses