Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wellness Weekend

As volunteers we spend a lot of time (no matter our sector) talking about our host country's health. Malaria... malnutrition.. HIV.. parasites.. and so on and so forth.

Sometimes we need to all take a breather, sit back, and think about our health as volunteers.

Both physical and mental. --- So this weekend we (the southern PSN members) hosted a “Wellness Weekend” for new volunteers who wished to spend the weekend in Cotonou taking a break WHILE learning how to keep themselves mentally healthy at post. PSN usually hosts a wellness weekend every year – but this year we are hosting a whole series (one in each region) in honor of the Peer Support Networks 10th anniversary here in Benin!

Of course, Cotonou isn't the most relaxing place – it is a big city – and our workstation is more like a bunker than an house (other regions literally have houses) since it is located inside the Peace Corps Headquarters – but we still had some super advantages to play towards for making our weekend a huge success.

We have the beach. One of the southern PSN members is a yoga instructor. We have some amazing cooks on our southern team (and no I'm not even talking about myself!) – and when all else fails – we have the ambassadors swimming pool. So Beach Yoga and Picnic? – sounds like a stress free weekend to me.

One of the major reasons that PSN does wellness weekends, is that (world wide) Peace Corps volunteers tend to drink to combat stress, not to mention other habits that when you are in a village can tend to make the 
isolation worse (cause I know anything about isolation) – things such as sitting around doing nothing, hiding in the house, dwelling on homesickness, and not eating right.

With a wellness weekend (especially one with yoga and meditation) – we can talk about ways to exercise even if it is in the small spaces of your village house, food that you can easily make in village to provide yourself with a more well rounded meal, and of course things you can do other than drink to combat those really really bad days that come as part of the Peace Corps experience. These things are really crucial, in my opinion, to a successful and fulfilling Peace Corps Service.

We ate lots of good food – and I think that everyone had a wonderful time and headed back to post feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world (or maybe just bake some cookie bars) :)

This was our program, no we didn't notice the typo until after we printed it, yes we just let it be because it is funny – and what better for wellness than a good laugh?

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