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In April I traveled for the first time to Victoria on Vancouver Island, to document a workshop specifically targeted towards self care for workers within the education system.

I worked with facilitator Lisa Baylis and asked her a few questions about Awaken Wellbeing, why she was inspired to start offering these workshops, and why self-care is so important for educators.

A workshop facilitator and yoga instructor smile at attendees during an introduction at a self care for educators workshop at Roundhouse Farm, Victoria BC by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

My name is Lisa Baylis. I am a wellbeing and resiliency mentor as well as a positive educator. I currently work full time as a counsellor in the Greater Victoria School District. I support my district with SEL and mindfulness initiatives in order to create a positive and resilient culture. My current passion in the educator wellbeing retreats I facilitate call through my consulting business AWE (Awaken Wellbeing for Educators).

These day and weekend long retreats give permission to educators to have a purposeful day of heart-centered nourishment and stillness.

A yoga instructor sits in the middle of a room demonstrating a heart opening pose while leading a yoga session at a self care for educators workshop at Roundhouse Farm, Victoria BC by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell

My most important job however is being a Mom to my kiddos Benji and Gracie who are mostly wonderful and very human and remind me daily the practice of being present, leading with love and acting with kindness.

In 2014 educators were mandated back to work after a long and stressful strike in our province. I walked back into school feeling undervalued, unsupported and unwell and I noticed my colleagues were the same way.

Their unhappiness spread amongst the staff, students and community and I saw less learning happening and more struggles. My son was going to start Kindergarten in 2015 and I needed a culture shift to happen so that he was surrounded by happy, loving and valued educators.

I worked hard to create a grassroots movement around educators that put their wellbeing as a priority when we talk about improving the health of our students.

Three women sit on the floor having an animated discussion during a exercise at a self care for educators workshop at Roundhouse Farm, Victoria BC by Vancouver workshop and retreat photographer Angela McConnell
When teachers are happy, students will learn better. I want to work with educators who believe in heart-centred educators. Ones who want to take the time to be self-aware, present and happy. These educators will create the ripple effect of wellness throughout our schools.

What inspires Lisa to keep building AWE

I am inspired daily to continue to advocate for educator wellbeing.
Educators work tirelessly to support students in our classrooms, often forgetting or neglecting to take care of ourselves in the process.
We suffer from burnout and easily become overwhelmed beneath the weight of our responsibilities. I give educators permission to rebuild our resiliency, awaken our wellbeing and take back control of our lives and our classrooms.

A few tidbits about Lisa

  • I struggle every Sunday with anxiety of the upcoming week and too often "should" on myself of all things I want to accomplish, however I overcome this with a regular meditation and yoga practice to be present through this day
  • My favourite moments of my day are usually the morning snuggles in bed with my kids or when they finally go to sleep at night 🙂
  • I have a paper fetish - stickers, journals, books, pretty stationary, etc... I have way too much but they make me happy

This year was the first year of AWE and we hope to grow it provincially and nationally over the next 5 years.
Anyone interested in having someone from the AWE team facilitate a retreat in their area should contact the email address below or on Lisa’s Website

Shot on Sony A7II
Location – Roundhouse Farm, Victoria, Vancouver Island

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