BIG PICTURE EMPLOYEE WELLNESS
Sonia is a wellness strategist and consultant and a public speaker. She has lived and worked in 4 countries with all manor of cultures and demographics. The doctors, health practitioners, therapists, counsellors, varied businesses and clinic settings that she has worked with have given her a broad and in-depth perspective on wellness for the individual, the family, the community and how it all translates into the workplace.
Sonia can talk about nutrition, the stress response and HPA axis, mindfulness, diseases of adaptation, cholesterol, IBS, childhood trauma, anxiety and depression, those increasing prescription usage in your benefit plans, dysfunction in specific departments, personal boundaries at the office, women's health issues, psychology, psychotherapy, psychoneuroimmunology, and it goes on. She knows a lot about a few of those things and a quite a bit about the rest. When she doesn't know enough she has her team, you can read about them on our Team page. You can also get a glimpse of the rest of the team (who are currently busy as front line workers during the pandemic,) in her events "Mommy Matters" and "Got Teens"
Sonia and her team can analyze the health of your entire company if you want. She is a walking wellness program in her own right and she is heavily involved in community wellness, including her partnership with our Local Co-op.
Sonia will tell you straight up that your company doesn't need another 'wellness program' though, it needs a strategy - and quickly.
Some of her past and present clients include
Fillmore Riley LLP, Fresh Hemp, Decor Cabinets,
DL Seeds and Red River Co-op. Sonia's unique
partnership with her local Winkler-Morden Co-op
include many videos that she has done with
them, on our homepage, and some of their
'easy cookin' meals have her nutritional stamp
"Sonia’s passion for health and wellness is truly inspiring.
At Decor we’ve had the privilege of working with Sonia for a few different events.
She has led some smaller workshops with specific departments, giving us tools to help reduce stress in the work environment and helping us understand our interactions with coworkers. We were also fortunate to have her as a guest speaker at our Disrupt Conference with dealers and designers from across the US and Canada. The sessions focused on how stress and anxiety impact all areas of our health and how to deal with it in a productive way.
She is an accomplished speaker, confidently sharing her knowledge and expertise gained working around the world. We would highly recommend Sonia to any company looking for effective employee wellness strategies and targeted wellness events."
A series of 3 Lunch and Learns or a half-day PD workshop.
This is Sonia's signature series of Lunch and Learns. It is a 3-part series of interactive and experiential wellness seminars. The foundation of this series rests on the interconnectedness of our physical, mental and emotional health, and how that plays out in our day to day lives. Read about the series below
1. What on Earth has happened to my food?!
The story of what has happened to our food supply matters more in understanding our health today than anything else. This story, when told properly, contains a collective answer for how and why we have become so sick and tired.
Highlights of this foundational seminar:
With some help from Sonia the audience will reconstruct the “race up super food mountain” to prove to themselves that there is no such thing as “healthy food.” Something is either food, or it’s not – this makes navigating nutrition much easier.
Sonia will lift the veil of marketing and ‘nutrition’ studies.
The direct impact and consequences that the story of our food supply has had on our collective and personal health.
Some of the health issues discussed in this in context include fatigue, blood sugar & digestive issues and cholesterol.
2. What on earth has happened to my mood?!
A healthy mind cannot be fully realized without a healthy body, they are inextricably linked.
Two key components in this seminar are:
An easy to understand explanation of the basic physiology of stress and anxiety and mind-body-gut/brain axis connection.
Understanding of how all of the stress we encounter on a daily basis came to be (it wasn’t always this way) and why mood disorders have become so common.
Understanding how your immune system, your digestive system and the food you eat affects your thoughts and your mood.
The objective of this seminar is hope: hope created by knowing that this matter is not as complicated as you may believe and there are many angles and options that can help address these issues.
3. What on earth should I do?!
Tying it all together to bring some serenity back to your grocery shopping, dinner table, and the daily stress you encounter.
We delve into daily life in this seminar with:
Some practical navigation back to feeling better
Un-complicating dinner time, to make feeling healthy simpler and easier to understand.
Grocery shopping tips, food labels, resources, a recipe or two and some examples and samples.
Support for stress and mood management
Insight towards navigating natural therapies, ‘alternative’ medicine and all the supplements everyone seems to be selling - so that you can make safer and more cost-effective decisions
For HR, H&S, Managers
Accidents of Adaptation
It was Hans Selye, a well known MD and researcher that coined the term 'Stress.' He is the father of "General Adaptation Syndrome" or "Diseases of Adaptation" which all speaks to the physical impact of stress on the body, particularly our nervous system and immune system - which potently alter our brain and neurotransmitters.
This seminar focuses on understanding how the stress response, in the context of a taxed nervous system, (which is most of us by now,) poorly regulated blood sugar (sugar and coffee anyone?) fluctuating blood pressure (adrenaline and cortisol from being in 'fight or flight') and a digestive system that is upset by these things (thereby sending unhelpful information to the brain via the gut/brain axis), can set a person up for poor decisions and accidents.
See where we are going here?
All it takes is something not going great in their personal lives to be the straw that breaks it all apart. In a day and age when your employees are going to be working for you longer than you ever meant for them to, and with more health conditions than we have ever seen before... well, at this point, prevention becomes an intervention.
Educating employees on how this acts out in their daily lives can do more saving than a hardhat ever could. Empowering people with the knowledge of cause and effect that is not skewed by an agenda is crucial, and, to be frank, Sonia and her team are a bit beside themselves that this is not a hot topic in the Health and Safety World yet...
IBS and your Bottom Line
With Sonia and her colleague, Dr. Andrew Bryk,ND
Along the same lines of 'Accidents of Adaptation' This is another topic not properly understood by HR and H&S. It is estimated that 25% of Canadians are affected by IBS. What most employers do not understand is how severely this condition affects the quality of their employees life, that this condition is why they are often late or have to leave early, or that it's why they don't engage in the company culture as much. 50% of the time there is a correlation to Anxiety. When IBS medication costs go up, you can bet your bottom line that the anxiety meds are gonna skyrocket too.
In this seminar Sonia and Andrew discuss
The prevalence of this issue and true costs
The basic physiology behind it (the gut/brain axis)
The connection to anxiety and lifestyle and choices your employee makes that cost you money.
AND. Then they they will talk with you about how to figure out a way to do something about it for real.
If you're interested in understanding what a wellness strategy could do for your company, then bringing Sonia in for this session is usually the best way to start.
This is a half day session where Sonia will create and explain all the timelines operating within your company. It looks a bit like this:
*Sonia will first ask a few questions about stress leave, absenteeism, etc, via a questionnaire to be completed by your managers ahead of time.
*At the meeting, considering the previously collected information, she will do an analysis of your benefit usage and, based on the average ages of males and females in each department, she will be able to tell you what is going on where and why.
*She will then give you the helpful bad news, which is where all those timelines will be in 5-10 years.
*After that, she will be able to demonstrate for you how timelines can be slowed, stopped or even reversed - with the right strategy.
This session calls on absolutely every single thing Sonia has ever learned here in Manitoba, in Toronto, in Ottawa, in New York, in London and in the Middle East. Even being a songwriter and touring recording artist is part of what made her good at this.
To the best of our knowledge there are no other wellness professionals in Canada that can provide this kind of insight, into a company's people and its numbers, in such a short period of time.
It is strongly recommended that a company only brings Sonia in for this half day session if some of the company decision makers will be in attendance. What happens in these 2.5 hours is not something that is easy to relate as second hand information. This kind of analysis and strategy speaks most strongly to those responsible for the company's bottom line - in the short and in the long term.
The health crisis we are in, the overburdened healthcare system that can only push the cost down the road, is not something we can ignore - what most people don't know, is that a company can actually do something about this in a way that can make a difference in 2 years or less - and an even bigger difference in 5 and 10 years... AND it doesn't have to cost as much as they are being told it costs... ;)
We are all surrounded by triggers, instigators and compounders of stress, anxiety and depression in our daily lives. They are everywhere. They are in the news, on our dinner plates, in our morning mugs, in our homes, at school, on the road, at work, in our email. Some of the most powerful ones shine out to us from our phones and are hidden within our own digestive tract and immune system. They lurk behind hormonal imbalances in our bodies. They hide between dysfunctional relationships. The can be camouflaged by “positive thinking” that is based in avoidance – but they can also be magnified by “negative thinking” that is not constructive.
Due to our personal histories, our genes and our environment, some of us are more susceptible to the heavy load that all of these factors place on our minds and our bodies carry every day. The factors Sonia sheds light on in this keynote are stress, food, our microbiome, social media & phones and relationships. In true Sonia style, she does it in a way that leaves you with the most incredible relief: That"it's not your fault" And that you can actually do something about it.
Keynote Morden Mental Health Week 2019
Photo courtesy of L. Stelmach
The Winkler-Morden Voice