HEALTH CARE: Northern Wellness gets to the heart of the matter

TRAVERSE CITY – We spend a good portion of our lives at work, but how many of us wake up in the morning actually eager to tackle our jobs? The state of our health plays a significant role in how we answer that question and on our performance at work.

To Camille Haberkorn and Carole Dipzinski, owners of Northern Wellness Inc., a healthy lifestyle encompasses all aspects of an individual: body, mind and spirit. At their weekend wellness retreats and day-long seminars, the two teach participants how to take charge of all three aspects.

“Ninety percent of stress comes from people being unhappy doing what they’re doing,” Haberkorn says. “When you’re doing what you love, you’re more productive.”

She should know.

After attending a conference last year about “discovering your purpose,” she quit Dayton-Hudson, where she had worked for 17 years, to open her own business, Haberkorn Training and Development Inc.

“I finally got to the point where I said, ‘this is what I want to do,'” she said. “I’m much less stressed because I’m doing what I want to do.”

But getting to that point meant she was willing to take risks. Early in her career at Dayton-Hudson she was offered a position as a trainer. At the time, her biggest fear was public speaking, but she conquered it and found her niche.

Returning to school to become a nurse at age 31, Dipzinski found her calling, as well.

“It was the gift of a lifetime,” she said, enthusiastically.

She also owns her own business called Senior Pathways, a service that helps seniors with in-home care.

“This is what I want,” she said. “You have to take a risk to get what you want and you can’t be afraid to take the first step.”

Finding the courage to do so is what Dipzinski and Haberkorn hope to help participants with in their program. But that means they have to learn to take care of and be responsible for themselves, Dipzinski pointed out.

“It goes hand in hand with preventive health care,” Haberkorn added.

It was at the Benzie Area Zonta Club’s annual Health Day last fall that the two active club members discovered they both shared an interest in helping others improve their lives.

“We both have the same vision: to help people find out who they are and find out more about ourselves in the process,” Dipzinski said.

They use several different methods to accomplish this: humor, meditation, journal writing, visualization, goal-setting and information on nutrition and exercise.

People tend to label these techniques as “new age,” but that’s simply not the case, they say.

“‘New age’ is simply a new way of thinking,” Haberkorn said. “We offer people tools, and these tools are becoming more mainstream.”

She and Dipzinski have recently added other instructors to the retreats to offer participants a wider variety of workshops and activities. These include vegetarian cooking, tai chi, yoga, managing change, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, art classes, creative writing, energy work and others. The two hope these added options will make the retreats more appealing to men.

Participants will also be able to customize their weekend by choosing the areas of most interest to them: the spiritual or physical activities or the educational workshops.

“We want to give the best we can give as owners,” Dipzinski said. “Bringing in more people enhances what we can offer.”

Currently, the retreats are held at Crystal Mountain Resort. But after attending another company’s retreat on the water, Haberkorn discovered its presence “makes a huge difference.” She and Dipzinski plan to offer retreats at other locations on the water so participants can get more in touch with nature.

“We’re trying to design the retreats so people come back year after year to rest, relax and renew,” she said.

The retreats begin on a Thursday evening and end around 2 p.m. on Sunday. The $389 fee includes three nights lodging, meals, comfortable clothing, a notebook, journal, tote bag and water bottle.

“We want it to be like camp–fun, enjoyable, relaxed and stress-free,” said Haberkorn. “The whole weekend is very healing.”

Dipzinski said their goal is to have their own retreat center in five years, catering to all age groups, from senior citizens to young adults.

They are especially interested in teaching young people how to set goals for themselves and be responsible for their own lives.

“When you’re talking about preventative care and living well, it’s never too early or too late,” Haberkorn concluded.