Have you ever made a resolution to lose 10 lbs, started a diet…only to fall off the wagon a few weeks later? Or decided that you want to start exercising…and never seemed to have the motivation to keep a consistent schedule?
Introducing WHAM!, a whole health action management class, offered at recovery learning centers, designed to keep people motivated and engaged around various health goals. WHAM goes beyond action planning to forming a small community of peers that support each other weekly around a meaningful goal of his or her choice.
How is this class helpful compared to other methods? Because through meeting weekly, people have a sense of accountability, and can also brainstorm with each other strategies for overcoming barriers in a helpful and nonjudgmental way.
We all know that the research shows that people with a psychiatric condition die 25 years younger than the average population. And we all know that physical and mental health are integrated and important for everyone. But imagine how hard it can be a for a peer to get motivated around health when he or she may be struggling to find housing, job, and relationships.
WHAM also focuses on teaching people how to create goals that are positively stated as a means of gaining something meaningful to them, rather than loss or deprivation. So a person is not focused on “losing weight;” rather he or she is focused on “eating more nutritiously” or “being more active” in order to build self-esteem around his or her appearance.
Through WHAM!, peers have an opportunity to form positive relationships that are key in motivating themselves and motivating others to achieve and maintain wellness goals. Relationships are a key element in helping peers know that others care about them, a reason to strive for healthy living, a way of creating hope.
Vinfen’s Cambridge Somerville Recovery Learning Center, a partner of Metroboston Recovery Learning Community, started WHAM class for peers on Sept 26th, and another WHAM class is currently going on at Boston Resource Center. WHAM will be offered to peers at various recovery learning centers over the course of the next several months, with the plan of eventually expanding to other places and to also include employees in this healthy journey!