Programs & Services

Awakening the Anchor weekend designed for military spouses living with a loved one with an OSI

The Southwestern Ontario Military Family Resource Centre (SWOMFRC) will be offering a newly designed mindfulness workshop for spouses and partners this fall entitled Awakening the Anchor: Helping Women “stay the course.”

The SWOMFRC, which services families from Hamilton to Windsor, is offering this workshop after becoming a recipient of the Bell True Patriot Love Fund.

“I am delighted True Patriot Love saw the value in this workshop and are supporting it. I really believe that mindfulness practice will really assist the women to better manage the stressful day-to-day situations they’re living with,” said Melikie Joseph, family liaison officer, SWOMFRC.

The workshop was designed as a result of Joseph’s work with families of the ill and injured. When a military member or veteran is diagnosed with an Operational Stress Injury (OSI), it impacts the entire family, something spouses and partners can attest to.

“A number of the women had talked about the need to really replenish some of their own internal resources. Basically, they were recognizing that the stress that’s associated with living with a member who has an OSI or PTSD has been challenging.

“They’re so committed, and they’re saying they want to do the best they can to support them [member] that at times they feel very exhausted and recognize themselves they’re not always able to regulate their own emotions when they’re encountering some of the impact of the injuries,” explained Joseph.

In essence, Joseph says many of them are faced with compassion fatigue, which is a “profound emotional and physical erosion that takes place when helpers are unable to refuel and regenerate.”

She also says that when women are given support and tools to improve their emotional, mental, and physical well-being, this has a tendency to create room for transformation within their families.

“It really helps the women gain clarity and balance. Their coping skills are often enhanced when dealing with the situation in the here and now instead of focusing in the past or going too far ahead into the future,” noted Joseph.

The program will be held at Windermere Manor in London, On.

The workshop will be held over the weekend of Sept. 20 and will take 20 partners to the Windermere Manor in London, ON to truly immerse participants in the mindfulness workshop experience.

The workshop will include mindfulness practice, yoga and some cognitive behavioural components that can “serve to provide renewal, resilience, and hope for the future,” says Joseph.

The workshop will be conducted by Diane Yeo, a skilled mindfulness practitioner from the London area.

The goal is that Awakening the Anchor will teach practical and effective mindfulness techniques that spouses can use for daily self-care and stress reduction. It should also help to build resiliency in the entire family by giving caregivers the tools to manage conflict with their partners.

Participants will also walk away with access to instructional videos, guided meditations, and other resources to practice mindfulness on a daily basis.

A one-day refresher course is also being offered to these 20 spouses and partners either in November or sometime in the new year. This will provide these women an opportunity to reconnect, share, and receive inspiration and coaching.

If you are a spouse or partner of a CAF member diagnosed with an OSI and you wish to take part in the SWOMFRC’s Awakening the Anchor mindfulness workshop contact Melikie Joseph at MELIKIE.JOSEPH@forces.gc.ca.

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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