Mark Pearson Shares His Reasons for Joining our Employee Fitness Challenge — Strive to Thrive

Thank you Mark for being so candid with us and sharing your wellness struggles. I’m sure your story resonates with so many of us and your tips and techniques for dealing with them are very informative and helpful. Human Resources is always here to work with our employees to get them the support and guidance they need to live healthier, happier lives. Please contact our Health & Disability Coordinator,, with any questions you have or information you need.

Submitted by Guest Blogger Mark Pearson

Many years ago, a Supervisor once said “10 pots, 9 lids” as some feedback given to me when I was feeling overextended on various tasks and projects at the time.  The “Chinese saying” (as she called it, being Chinese and a self-professed perfectionist) was meant to describe those times when we have so much going on that we can’t do it all, well.  That saying has always ‘stuck’ with me.

Since late 2018, I have been dealing with a chronic health condition that has affected my nutrition, sleep, mood, digestion, concentration, memory, pain management etc. etc.  It greets me every morning and tucks me in at night.  So, when presented with the idea to participate in the UFV employee fitness challenge – STRIVE TO THRIVE (!) – I thought, why not!  Although the last two years has forced me to track and monitor more details about my health and illness than ever before, it was during the late summer of 2019 that I made a ‘breakthrough’ realization with respect to my own wellness, physically, emotionally and psychologically.

You see, since “getting sick”, I had been scared to exercise for fear that I would feel worse.  (After all, who exercises when they feel pain or nauseated?)  However, my various ‘coaches’ (doctors etc.) taught me that just because a part of me didn’t feel well, I still have the opportunity ‘exercise’ other facets of me.  For example, although feeling physically unwell, I have learned to exercise my brain with, for example, new techniques and therapies with relaxation, cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness-based grounding techniques etc.  Another idea is to do some light stretching, yoga or deep breathing, etc. or a short walk outside in the fresh air.

These tools that I now have in my toolkit — research shows — can actually change the wiring of my brain and nervous system!  That is, I can learn to manage symptoms to some extent by retraining my brain, sending it new positive messages, not painful ones.  Isn’t that incredible? This is powerful stuff!  Sure, I still get frustrated, and down … and yet, I have good moments too, that deserve to be celebrated.

I don’t know your reasons for signing up for the employee fitness challenge. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, or track your steps, or drink more water? Whatever the reason, know that each of us does so because we believe in health, and in the power of together.  I wish you well on your journey of health, whatever that looks like for you.  If you are struggling with your health, know that there are people who care, and that there are resources and services available to support you.  If you want someone to talk to about your journey, feel free to reach out.  My toolkit is for sharing.