Uniting Veterans with Heroic Self Care and Mind-Body Skills: A Transformative Retreat by the Institute for Spirituality and Health

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Uniting Veterans with Heroic Self Care and Mind-Body Skills:
A Transformative Retreat by the Institute for Spirituality and Health

In a groundbreaking event uniting veterans, veteran caregivers, and veteran service officers (VSOs), the Institute for Spirituality and Health (the Institute) and Impact a Hero joined forces to host an inspiring new program, “Heroic Self Care: Impact Your Life with Mind-Body Skills.” Held at the Institute on June 24, this transformative day-long retreat invited the 36 attendees to focus on self-care, relaxation, and the profound growth that arises from building a supportive community. This program is offered through the Institute’s Center for Body, Spirit, and Mind and in collaboration with the Greater Houston Healing Collaborative, VA Whole Health, and Easter Seals Greater Houston. The Institute crafted an experience that left a profound impression on all those involved. As one veteran participant aptly expressed, “We came as strangers, and we left as one.” Expert facilitators included Leah Adams-Pruitt, vice president of engagement at the Institute; Gwen Brehm, chair of the Greater Houston Healing Collaborative; and Erica Toskovich, MS, LMFT with the Easter Seals Greater Houston.

Expressing a shared sense of isolation after leaving the military, the veteran and veteran caregiver community were eager to rediscover the sense of camaraderie that had been an integral part of their service. Recognizing this deep need for community, the Institute designed small group sessions that would encourage a shared sense of oneness and forge lasting bonds among these brave men and women. At the core of the retreat’s curriculum were mind-body practices tailored to focus on being present with pain. The facilitators expertly guided participants through techniques such as soft belly breathing and positive movement, empowering them to regain control over their nervous systems and alleviate stress and trauma. By training their bodies and minds to embrace relaxation rather than instinctive fight-or-flight responses, participants unlocked a newfound sense of calm and resilience.

“It is the Institute’s great honor to provide a space for veterans and veteran caregivers to reconnect with themselves and presence with each other, fostering a sense of community that is so vital to well-being. Witnessing the bonds formed and the healing that took place within the small groups was truly remarkable and reaffirms our commitment to continuing this important work. We are excited to expand our efforts and offer even more opportunities for veterans to thrive, heal, and find the support they need,” commented Adams-Pruitt.

As the retreat progressed, the deep need for connection and compassion among veterans became increasingly apparent, emphasizing the importance of offering this program on a larger scale. By fostering connections and providing veterans with the tools and strategies necessary for personal growth and fulfillment, the Institute strives to create a ripple effect that will resonate throughout the veteran community.
To learn more about the Institute for Spirituality and Health, please visit https://www.spiritualityandhealth.org/. To schedule an interview, please contact MaKlay Simon at 325-262-1862 or maklay@penninoandpartners.com or Laura Pennino at 713-419-1776 or lp@penninoandpartners.com

About The Institute
The Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center (ISH) was established in 1955 as the Institute of Religion and was a founding member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. For 68 years, the Institute has made a meaningful difference by cultivating heart and humanity in healthcare. From its very inception, the Institute has been dedicated to the concept that spirituality plays a vital role in health, healing, and the promotion of a sense of well-being. The mission of The Institute for Spirituality and Health is to enhance well-being by exploring the relationship between spirituality and health. The Institute advances this mission by engaging in education, research, and direct service programs, both public and private, guided by its Four Centers of Excellence. For more information about the Institute, visit https://www.spiritualityandhealth.org/

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