The University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing is working to address the needs of communities during these challenging times.
You’re in Charge
UMASH Student Communications Specialist
You are greeted with a colorful 6-pronged wheel. “Enhance your wellbeing,” it says. The wheel is divided into 6 categories: environment, health, relationships, security, purpose, and community. Click on relationships, and the wheel spins, collapsing the six colors into one. Words stretch across a red background. “Relationships include our friends, family, and other personal connections that provide support and buffer the negative effects of stress and loneliness.” This is what you find upon visiting the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing’s Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing website.
An arrow points forward, directing you to assess your wellness and set a goal. Each of the 6 main topics divides into numerous quizzes (our Student Communications Specialist can attest, these are fun!). Interested in assessing practices that keep you safe? Click on security and then safety. Care to cultivate new and current friendships? Click on relationships. Aside from their hypnotic nature, these quizzes allow you to create goals that are relevant to you. Writing out steps and affirmations helps you reach those goals.
“[The Center] reach[es] over 2.5 million people annually,” says Sue Nankivell, Director of Business Development & Community Relations at the Center. We strive to make our programming accessable, and offer many free or inexpensive resources. The Center’s focus on whole-person wellbeing is very relevant to occupational health and safety – especially in reducing stress and building resilience.”
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the existing economic, environmental, and financial stressors are magnified to farmers, families and farm workers. Reducing stress and developing relationships are more important than ever. The Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing website helps with this. Aside from the quizzes, it provides suggestions for ways to develop your relationships, such as being grateful and compassionate, forgiving and respecting others, and spending quality time and developing rituals with each other.
More broadly, the Center for Spirituality & Healing offers resources and opportunities on its general website. “Thousands of people per year participate in our lecture series, conferences, community courses, workshops and retreats,” says Nankivell. The Center even has its own podcast, Take 5 for Your Health and Wellbeing, and Wellscapes app for iPhone and iPad.