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Strengthening Our Best Selves course returning

Previously known as Tough Times Toolkit, the rebranded class will be back on Bowen in February
Course instructor Maureen Mackey and Cappy out for a sunny stroll.

‘My hope is that people gain confidence in counting on themselves,” explains course creator Maureen Mackey. 

Do you sometimes get stuck in your brain as you deal with pressure? How is your stress level these days? We are all dealing with multiple uncertainties: inflation and paying bills, managing our Covid risk, ambiguous and scary world events, difficult everyday decisions, and more. Our individual worlds have shifted and it’s often hard to manage our everyday lives, let alone figure out how to move forward with intention. 

Yet we can use specific knowledge and concrete mental health tools to better manage our daily lives and to shape our best futures.

To that end, volunteer Maureen Mackey, RN, who has a professional background in psychiatric nursing, adult education, and course design, is offering a free “Strengthening Our Best Selves” course with the support of Caring Circle. Previously delivered as “Tough Times Toolkit” in response to the impact of the pandemic upon mental health, the name change reflects actively choosing how to move forward with strength and confidence. 

This course is not therapy or counselling, or for people in crisis or with acute needs. Rather, it is an educational initiative providing a learning opportunity--and what could be more valuable than making your life a little better? As described by a previous participant: “You have created something of great value for ‘regular folk’ and their communities.”

Each of the four classes is highly structured, consisting of instructor presentations of the course material, discussion, and homework that incorporates the topics and tools of the week, all working toward building your personalized resilience plan. The homework applies the class material and skills.

Emails between classes help keep the learning on track. Participants can do as little or as much work between classes as preferred and what is realistic for their own personal development. There are no exams or essays!

This course is delivered entirely by Zoom and starts soon. Choose from Monday evening classes, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, or Friday midday classes, 11:00 am to 1 pm. Monday classes will be held on Feb. 6, 13, 27, and March 6. Friday classes will be held on Feb. 10, 17, 24, and March 3. All you need is your computer or device equipped with audio and webcam and a private learning spot with a closed door behind you.

A previous participant said, “I truly like the virtual platform. The way you facilitate the course allows personal connections to be made, and your management of course materials online is very good. At the same time we are each in our own personal space, which I think adds to the comfort level of sharing.”

The topics covered are: growth mindset, stress and the brain, emotional intelligence and regulation, and thinking about your thinking, culminating with your personal resilience building plan. 

A safe environment is guaranteed and confidentiality is a priority. Each class is limited to five to eight participants aged 25 and up, Bowen Islanders only. 

The previously named Tough Times Toolkit has already been completed by 22 Bowen Islanders and this will be the fourth offering. Feedback on the anonymous course evaluations is overwhelmingly positive - 100 per cent of participants recommend it!

Said one participant: "I enjoyed how easy and simple the course was. It was easy to understand and was not overwhelming or overly complicated. I didn’t feel pressure and looked forward to the course without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the material. It was a nice break in the week and an opportunity to connect with like minded people.”

Another comment: “Excellent instructor who struck the correct balance between humour and seriousness, individual feedback and moving the class forward, a personal touch with remaining the instructor. Maureen’s careful listening followed by caring feedback was eye opening for all of us.”

In addition to her professional background, Maureen has personal experience: “I have had my own struggles with mental health and many of my friends on Bowen know about that. The tools in this course are evidence-based and work for me. I believe that this course provides an opportunity to focus deliberately on improving  the quality of our everyday lives,” says Mackey.

Curious or interested? Contact myself, Colleen O’Neil, Program Director of Caring Circle, at 604 947-9100 or for more information.

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