By Jessica Mongeau
Published December 8, 2021
I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason. Does anyone remember SERESC Conference Center in Bedford? SERESC is still part of the educational community, but when its Executive Director Tony Paradis passed away in 2010, the organization began downsizing. At that time, I was a Banquet Manager and Tony had inspired me to complete my Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Marketing. I had been in the hospitality industry for 10 years and SERESC introduced me to the business world of educators and many other non-profit organizations we served. As that chapter closed, I wanted to find another non-profit organization where I could apply my education, continue to grow/learn and where the work I was doing would continue to benefit the members served. I started at SchoolCare as Health Promotion Representative and unbeknownst to me SERESC’s then-Board Chair, Mark Joyce, had helped to found SchoolCare through New Hampshire School Administrators Association (NHSAA). SchoolCare is an organization that values education and professional development and serves educators and other public sector employees. I quickly became passionate for the work I was doing. SchoolCare's Executive Director, Lisa Duquette, as well as all on our team, inspire me each day and helped drive me to my current role as Member Services Director. I am proud to say I celebrated 10 years at SchoolCare earlier this year!
That there are so many options! We have many choices in which provider to see, where to go for services, and what well-being goals to participate in. I have learned wellness means something different to everyone and each individual should choose their own goals and take the steps that will help them achieve those goals. What remains the same for all is the importance of our health. When it comes to your health it’s so important to be your own advocate.
I’m continuously trying to help enhance communications and provide education on SchoolCare’s robust offerings. Again, wellness means something different to everyone and we are all motivated in different ways, so we strive to highlight the value our programs bring both intrinsically (what the goals do for you personally), as well as extrinsically (incentives you can earn).
The latest initiative is an upcoming Well-Being Recharge in January 2022. Each Wednesday SchoolCare's goal is to help you find motivation by connecting all the tools and resources you have available, all while having some fun with raffles and incredible prizes along the way! We really hope you’ll participate each week.
I think for a long time the focus has been on physical health, diet, exercise, sleep, and preventive care. These most certainly are essential, but for our bodies to be physically well our minds need to be, too. I believe our mental/emotional health is of the most importance to our overall health and well-being. Relationships with family, friends and co-workers, work-life-balance, the ability to find fulfillment in what we do, and feeling secure financially all have significant impacts to our mental/emotional well-being. Homing in on our mental well-being can enable us to sleep better, eat healthier and exercise more. I’ve come to realize you need one to have the other.
I live in Auburn and am so fortunate to have so many activities I can do outdoors to help keep me physically active. My husband Theo and I really enjoy kayaking from little Massabesic to Lake Massabesic, walking the trails systems around the lake and Tower Hill Pond, and with winter on its way we have our snowshoes ready! I also love to cook and try to eat a very healthy diet; we even grew a garden this summer and are able to purchase the most amazing fresh produce from a local farm to supplement what I grow. I continuously try to implement healthy habits like drinking more water and doing things to lower stress like getting a massage or even just having my nails done. Lastly, I love trying new things and get a lot of my inspiration from my co-workers.
As I reflect on the last year and what has been shared earlier, I really want my focus to be on my mental well-being with the end goal of being able to reflect at this time next year and say it was a healthy and happy year. How will I accomplish this? Dedicating time to do the things I love like quality time spent with my husband and extended family, monthly get-togethers with friends, taking time for a massage, growing a garden again this year, finding an indoor workout routine that helps relieve stress. Basically, finding the time for myself to really focus on the things that make me happy as I know that will only help me be healthier and be able to give my all to my work and personal aspirations.