Sparwood hosts anxiety and wellness workshops

Almost two-dozen residents were seated at the Sparwood Fire Hall on Saturday, Feb. 21 to learn tips on how to deal with anxiety and stress.

Almost two-dozen residents were seated at the Sparwood Fire Hall on Saturday, Feb. 21 to learn tips on how to deal with anxiety and stress.

The Elk Valley Critical Incident Response Team, a team designed mostly to deal with people experiencing unexpected trauma, hosted the session.

Sparwood Director of Fire Services Jim Jones said, “[These sessions] are for the population in general … It’s an open concept and isn’t just for emergency service workers, but for people in the community who are looking to find ways to deal with stress and wellness.”

Though many of the attendees were first responders and those involved with the Critical Incident Response team, individuals who work with youth and residents in the community wanting to know more about anxiety were also present.

“In general, anxiety is becoming increasingly concerning,” said Vicki Enns, trainer and consultant with the Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute who was leading the informative session. “We’re seeing a big rise in children and young people but at the other end of the spectrum with our elderly.”

Enns noted that one in four people will deal with anxiety to a debilitating level in their lifetime and a major takeaway of the session was to highlight simple ways to deal with that.

“There are a lot of simple, concrete things we can do to start to interrupt that anxiety pattern and intervene earlier,” said Enns. “The main areas we want to work on are understanding how anxiety is generated in our nervous system and the practical skills you can use to help people move out of the anxious response.”

Jones said that a big part of the Critical Incident Response team was helping its members to return to normalcy after dealing with high-stress situations as part of their participation with the team.

“We suggest simple things,” said Jones, echoing Enns statement. “Whatever it is that you like to do in order to de-stress. Walking your dog, going to your favourite coffee shop, whatever it is so that you can continue functioning after being in that kind of environment.”

The session was split into two parts on Saturday and Sunday at the fire hall.