Sometimes we all need to take a moment to breathe, take a break from the daily grind, and spend some energy investing in ourselves. Allowing yourself to create a strong work-life balance can be challenging, but it’s a necessary skill that can pay big dividends when you have a chance to really understand and focus on your own self-care.
This fall, Verbal Beginnings launched the first-of-its-kind Exhale Retreat to give employees a chance to ‘Exhale’ for a weekend and really spend some time focused on just what the tagline says: Gather. Relax. Grow. Over 60 members of VB’s leadership team descended on Grammercy Mansion in Stevenson, MD for a weekend filled with team bonding, relaxation, and most importantly, practical information on embracing a healthy work-life balance.
“We started to notice across VB, and across the ABA industry in general, that employees needed resources to help them find work-life balance and wellness retreats came to the forefront of the conversation. We knew we wanted to invest in our employee’s overall wellness and Exhale was one of the things we decided to invest in.”
– Jenny Rodriguez Vice President of People and Process
The weekend kicked off with sessions on different strategies to improve balance, such as establishing work hours, rest, routines, and more. Next, we transitioned into a guided meditation and learned breathing strategies with Becca Larson, one of VB’s Program Coordinators (make sure you read her previous work on burnout here on our blog!)
“My favorite part of the Exhale retreat was the mindfulness talk from Becca. What I took away from it was being in the moment and using that here at Verbal Beginnings to support staff and making sure my values are met while working in the classroom.”
– Alex Furman, Clinical Supervisor.
Another session was also led by one of our own, Social Beginnings Director Emily Griffin… aka the work/life balance aficionado (yes, we’re calling her that). Emily shared that during her time at Verbal Beginnings she has been able to not only lead and grow the Social Beginnings program but also make the time to obtain her master’s degree and plan an entire wedding. All at the same time! The takeaway? No one is alone when it comes to having a hectic life, we get it! Everyone has their own struggles, challenges, obstacles, and needs, and hearing others share their own vulnerabilities and how they’ve navigated through them was awesome.
“What I took away was tools and effective strategies to mitigate some of the stressors that come with working with people. Knowing that my coworkers also go through some of the same struggles really put all of that into perspective that I am not going through this alone.”
– Dylan Rutter, Clinical Supervisor.
Just because we spent a good amount of time talking balance, stress-management, and self-care didn’t mean we couldn’t have some fun at the same time! The Exhale Retreat featured various team bonding activities including a Halloween decorating contest, a blindfolded buddy zombie walk, a flip flop toss, and more. We have the pictures to prove it, so make sure you check out the slideshow and video below!
The Exhale Retreat feedback was resoundingly positive- so much so that we decided it shouldn’t be just a yearly retreat. Instead, plans are already underway to start integrating the Exhale concept into our overall company culture. From year-round workshops to other staff initiatives, we want all employees to have a chance to “Exhale” and work on their own growth, confidence, and self-care skills. Just what will we plan for our Exhale initiatives in 2022? Guess you’ll just need to stick around and see!
“The Exhale retreat was a wonderful experience! This is something I wish I would have had access to earlier in my career so that I could have prevented burnout from occurring when I started out in the field of ABA. This retreat provided me with specific tools that I can begin to implement daily to help prevent burnout and practice self-care”
– Grace Gomez, Center Director.
Want to see a video recap of our epic Exhale Retreat? Check it out below!
If you are interested in working for a company that’s creating a caring culture and having tons of fun in the process, look no further! Verbal Beginnings is the place for you. We have flexible openings in all our regions and are always looking for dedicated, passionate, and caring employees. If you are interested, email email@example.com or click here to see what positions are available.