Eyes roll as stressed Liberal staff deliver free yoga class led by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau – fr

Eyes roll as stressed Liberal staff deliver free yoga class led by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau – fr

“Yeah, it’s going to be a tough patch for me,” said a Liberal staff member.

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OTTAWA – After a “very long and intense year”, the Liberals offer their staff a unique event to help them “deal with the stress of the pandemic”: a one-hour virtual group yoga session with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau .

“We’ve all heard this before, but this past year has been intense!” begins an optimistic email sent by the Liberal Research Bureau (LRB) to all Liberal employees, including the Parliament Hill office and constituency assistants, ministerial staff and employees of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) earlier this week.

“One thing that has helped many of us cope with the stress of the pandemic is getting some fresh air and doing YOGA! So, in this spirit, Ms. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (alias Sophie) would like to invite you to participate in a virtual yoga class, ”continues the invitation sent to hundreds of employees.

Liberal staff members who fear they may be too inexperienced to attend the course or fear judgment need not worry either.

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“All levels of experience are welcome and there is no judgment!” Adds the email, adding that the class will be led “entirely by Sophie”, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“As you may know, the week of May 3 is also Canadian Mental Health Week. Taking care of yourself is important every day, so don’t forget to do it! the message ends.

While they appreciate the intention behind the event, many Liberal employees contacted by the National Post rolled their eyes at the invitation. They were all granted anonymity so that they could speak freely.

“It’s so silly,” said a staff member of the event.

“Yeah, it’s going to be a tough pass for me,” said another.

“I saw the subject of the email and immediately deleted it,” replied another.

Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (alias Sophie) would like to invite you to participate

In the email, the LRB points out how the last year has been “very long and intense” for everyone and that the event is supposed to “decompress” while “moving your body”.

According to LRB Director of Communications Allie Lee, this is actually the third free yoga class that the Prime Minister’s wife will host for Liberal government MPs and staff “to thank them.”

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She also said this was just one of the many ways the party aims to support its staff and maintain a dialogue on mental health this week and throughout the “difficult and unusual times” that have accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, staff will have access to “mindfulness sessions” starting next week, the party is sending out “regular reminders” through various emails about mental health and counseling resources available as part of the program. employee assistance program, and staff call every two weeks. give staff a space to raise issues and concerns they may be facing.

“Although a yoga session can be a great moment of lightness when shared virtually with friends and a good reason to move our body during a working day, it is not intended to replace other practices and tools. mental health program that we will always encourage all staff to use, ”said Lee.

Despite the fact that many staff may have rolled their eyes at this particular invitation to an event, the increased stress and anxiety that accompanied their work during the pandemic is certainly real.

Last year, Carleton University Associate Professor Paul Wilson interviewed 175 staff from all political parties during the pandemic and found that a majority of them said – like many Canadians – worked longer hours, struggled for work-life balance and feared more for their health. security.

“However, staff members have also come under significant pressure to help meet the urgent needs of their constituents and have been the subject of much frustration and anger. Even in normal times, the culture of parliamentary staff can be toxic to the mental health of staff members, ”Wilson wrote in his article published in November.

As a solution, Wilson stresses the importance for all parties to provide ongoing mental health counseling and support to their employees.

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