Healthy Living in the North

Wellness Teams at Work


Participants in the Wellness Team’s curling “funspiel.”

Social connections matter to our health and wellness. In lots of work sites, social wellness committees develop to support those “fun” things we do while at work. These recreational activities break up the monotony of the everyday at work.

In this, Northern Health is similar to other organizations. These groups typically rest on the corners of desks and are the initiatives of a dedicated person or small group of people. In Prince George, Northern Health is fortunate to have Kimberly Chysyk. Kimberly’s primary role is the Administration Assistant for UHNBC. She also serves as administration support for the Director of Patient Care and the Director for Diagnostic Services. In her “spare” time at work, she is the Chair of the Northern Health Wellness team in Prince George.

I connected with Kimberly to learn more about the Prince George Northern Health Wellness Team and their work.

What does the Wellness Team do? What types of events do you offer?

The Wellness Team offers fun events for staff employed by Northern Health. Some of these include nature walks where families and their four-legged friends can come out and enjoy an afternoon, learn about plant life, etc.

We offer discounted yoga and zumba lessons and we offer some of the materials so people can participate, like mats, blocks and straps. In the past, we have also offered swing dance lessons. This was a huge success; however, finding long-term space for this event is a challenge and one that we are continuing to seek.

Our most popular event is the Annual Best Ball Golf Tournament. As this event grows, so do the prizes. We also brought back curling and had a “funspiel.” This was a lot of fun and was very well received. We will definitely be doing more of these in the years to come.

We also try to offer smaller, fun things for staff to partake in, such as yearly crib tournaments, Easter basket raffles, pumpkin carving contests and Christmas basket raffles and decorating contests. This year we also raffle baskets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and that will now occur yearly.

We also support two community events each year: a team in the annual Cancer Relay and a team in the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Big Bike. You do not need to be on the Wellness Team to participate with us. You and your family/friends can join our team, Cure Determination North, or enter a team of your own. If you’ve never rode the big bike before, you have to sign up with us and come out and try it!

You are a very active group! How do you find the resources to host all of these events?

We do a lot of fundraising. In the past, we’ve done 50/50 draws and raffles. The basket raffles are a huge success! The golf tournament requires a lot of money to host (e.g., prizes). We are also always looking for new team members and new ideas. Becoming a team member does not mean that you have to participate in “every” event, but help out with events that interest you and/or take on an event that might bring staff interest that you have knowledge of or about.

What do you think the Wellness Team provides to staff?

I hope it encourages staff to get involved in healthy activities after and during work that they may not be able to access otherwise. For example, we work around work hours so that people don’t have to go home and then come back to do the activities. We bring awareness to locally operated businesses. We also hope that we help to keep staff in good humour. Our events allow staff to do something outside of the norm and they get to work together.

Chelan Zirul

About Chelan Zirul

Chelan Zirul is the Regional Manager for Health Promotions and Community Engagement for Northern Health. As a graduate from UNBC, she did her Master's of Arts in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. She explored regional development decision-making and is an advocate for policy that is appropriate for the needs of northerners. This, combined with her personal interest in health and wellness, drew her to work in health communications. Born in northern B.C., she takes advantage of the access to outdoor living. She enjoys hunting and exploring the backcountry with her dog and husband and enjoys finding ways to use local foods.