Mindfulness and Understanding of Self-Care for Leaders of Extension: Promoting Well-Being for Health Educators and Their Clients

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Background: Mindfulness and self-care, practiced through a variety of methods like meditation and exercise, can improve overall sense of holistic well-being (i.e., flourishing). Increasing mindfulness and self-care may lead to increased flourishing and job satisfaction among the nation-wide Cooperative Extension system delivery personnel (agents) through a theory-based online program and an extended experiential program.

Methods: Cooperative Extension agents from two states were invited to participate in MUSCLE via statewide listservs. Participants were invited to attend sessions and complete competency checks and between-session assignments each week. The study was conducted using Zoom. Pre- and post- program surveys included validated scales for flourishing and physical activity status. Due to high demand for mindfulness programing during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, experiential “Mindful Meet-up” 30-minute sessions were held on Zoom. Dissemination and implementation of the two differing interventions (i.e., MUSCLE and Mindful Meet-ups) were examined.

Results: MUSCLE (more intensive program with assignments and competency checks) had lower reach, and did not show statistically increased flourishing or physical activity. Mindful Meet-ups had higher attendance and proportional reach during the beginning of the pandemic, but no practical measure of flourishing or physical activity behaviors. Unsolicited qualitative feedback was encouraging because the interventions were well-received and participants felt as though they were more mindful.

Conclusions: While agents anecdotally reported personal improvements, capturing data on outcomes was challenging. Complementing outcome data with implementation and dissemination outcomes allowed for a richer picture to inform intervention decision-making (i.e., offering the same or new programming depending on participant needs).



dissemination, implementation, RE-AIM evaluation framework, mindfulness, online intervention, employee wellness


Dysart A and Harden SM (2022) Mindfulness and Understanding of Self-Care for Leaders of Extension: Promoting Well-Being for Health Educators and Their Clients. Front. Public Health 10:862366. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.862366