Lifestyle Wellness

Take the 31-Day Wellness Challenge in May

Marga Fripp, at right, with workshop participants

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, The Pollinators Foundation, of Waynesville, along with community partners, will present the 31-Day Wellness Challenge, a way to explore the many avenues to compassionate self-care. “During May, each day, do something for your wellness and mental wellbeing,” says Marga Fripp, co-founder with her daughter Geanina Fripp Emerson of The Pollinators Foundation. “Ten to 20 minutes a day of creativity, movement or nature time practiced over 31 days can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, shift your emotions and improve your mood, energy, confidence and overall health. Essentially, you’re rewiring the neuropathways in the brain that regulate emotions, thoughts and reactions, and building your muscle of hope, joy and belonging.”

Community partners will join Marga in presenting events or leading demonstrations in Qigong, yoga, painting, labyrinth walking and much more. Many of the practices may be done individually, but Marga recommends joining others if possible.

Jake Gilmore, wellness coach and owner of Axis Yoga, will offer classes during the Challenge, including an open-heart chanting circle. “To sing or chant is to breathe from the diaphragm, to sing with each other with the same intention,” Gilmore says. “Much like in our churches, we use the power of our community’s voice to lift each other with the intentional meaning of a song.”

Settings for activities might be outdoors enjoying the beauty of Lake Junaluska, or indoors experiencing a tea-time discussion with JulieAnn Nugent-Head, a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine at The Alternative Clinic. During her presentation, participants will taste and experience locally grown herbal teas, exploring the benefits to body and mind.

Creativity will be another area of exploration during the Challenge. Kayla Nielsen, of Gratitude Pottery, will host online and in-person workshops in SoulCollage® and pottery. “We will encourage growth and create community through clay and art,” she says. “Attendees will tap into and rekindle creativity, build confidence, release perfectionism and foster connections—all through the therapeutic power of clay.”

Landscape artist Richard Baker will demonstrate oil painting as one of the daily practices. “Painting,” he says, “is failure from the start. You take tiny steps to correct your mistakes and eventually you have a painting. Hopefully, I can provide an understanding of what you can see in art, the joy of it, why it moves us.”

The Pollinators Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit promoting mental wellness and social healing. Its Healing Hive, Marga says, is best described as a “safe community space…that nourishes joy, fosters compassionate connection and cultivates health, resilience and wellbeing.”

The Folkmoot Building is located at 112 Virginia Avenue, Waynesville. To see the schedule of events and participate, register at The Challenge is also available on Facebook and Instagram. Participants may share online with photos or videos.

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