In this edition of "Meet The Westwind Staff", we are asking four questions of Rhea Lewandoski. One of our newest team members, she is a dietitian located at the Kelowna, BC location.
What led you to Westwind?
My personal experience as a support person for a loved one with an eating disorder sparked my passion to study mental health. I completed my undergrad in psychology and then went on to study nutrition to become a registered dietitian. I am passionate about food, science, and mental health and for me it was just the right combination. I have worked in the field of eating disorders for 3 years and am continuing my learning and experience by completing my master’s in nutrition as well as working towards my CEDRD certification through iaedp (International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals). I am so excited my journey has brought me to Westwind, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the Westwind team!
What has inspired you about working in mental health?
Being a part of the recovery journey. I feel so lucky and grateful to be trusted with individuals’ stories. There is nothing more powerful than seeing clients embrace the process and develop trust with themselves. I continue to be inspired every time a client tackles a challenge food, sees food as a means of self-care, describes food in a loving way, or learns a new skill, just to name a few. I am in awe of the bravery I witness everyday and the relationships I have built in my career thus far.
If you could say one thing to someone seeking treatment, what would it be?
I would remind them they are not alone. Eating disorders thrive in isolation. Although no one can ever truly understand exactly what you are going through there are people out there who “get it”. There are people who want to support you in finding your authentic self and within that food freedom. Recovery is possible.
What is one thing you practice to maintain positive mental health?
Just one?! I truly value my nighttime routine and getting a sufficient sleep, getting outside everyday with my dog, Tundra, and going to therapy regularly. I continuously challenge the stigma of attending therapy and do my part to “normalize” mental health care. Working on my mental health is a priority for me. It helps me show up with my cup full to support others.