Community Services get healthy challenge


Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) is focusing on wellness with a 30-day challenge based on the work of Saundra Jain, MA, PsyD, LPC, an adjunct clinical affiliate at the University of Texas School of Nursing. The wellness program, called WILD 5 Wellness (Wellness Interventions for Life’s Demands) focuses on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, social connectedness and sleep, giving guidelines for each modality of the 30-day period.

“MVCS staff takes care of this community, and we need to make sure we take care of them,” said Julie Fay, Executive Director of MVCS. Ninety staff members across all six programs along with twenty Board members are participating in the challenge beginning May 1 and going through May 30. “The overall goal of the program is to improve mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Once our staff and board have gone through the program, it will be shared with the clients that we serve day in and day out.”

Elements of the program are:

Exercise: Participants are asked to exercise 30 minutes each day with at least moderate intensity.

Sleep: Participants are advised to avoid caffeine after noon, to stay on a consistent schedule, to avoid exercise right before bedtime, and to turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime.

Mindfulness: Participates are given a website with a free downloadable app for a 10-minute guided meditation and are asked to do meditation every day.

Nutrition: A second app assists patients with keeping a log of all their meals, snacks, and alcohol consumption.

Social connectedness: Patients are asked to call or text a family member or friend every day on something not related to work.

“We know from scientific data that each of the five wellness interventions practiced individually lead to overall improvements in wellness,” said Janet Constantino, Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Specialist at MVCS. “But what if all five were combined in a single wellness program over a month long period? Would results be even more significant in improving one’s overall wellness?” This is what the Wellness Challenge hopes to uncover. Jain and her colleagues proved that when all five wellness elements are combined, overall mental and physical wellness improved.

A number of local businesses have donated prizes and opportunities for staff, including Treat Yourself Spa, Sanctuary, and Yoga instructor Lucia Hamen, who will be offering yoga twice a week for staff on the MVCS campus during the month of May. Any island businesses who are interested in contributing can contact Mary Korba at 508-693-7900 x222.

Staff have already been notified and signed up (nearly 100% participation), so I was hoping this would be more of an informative piece to let the community know it’s something we’re doing and maybe spark interest for other organizations to do the same.