How Employers Destroy Their Own Wellness Vision

Toni Sperlbaum                  VP of Sales and Marketing

As a wellness provider, we speak to companies about their wellness programs and making it the best and most effective it can be.  We talk about biometric health screenings for measurable data, health coaching for lifestyle change motivation, and programs like challenges and classes to educate and bring some fun and culture into their work environments.  Companies are desperate for their employees to make lifestyle changes, but they may be “shooting themselves in the foot”, for lack of a better metaphor.  Even with their desires for healthy employees and lower health care costs, I can’t tell you how many times we walk into a wellness meeting where pizza is being served, or you walk through the break room to find “Free Donut Friday”.

I want to preface this topic by saying that some of our readers are our clients, and you may feel like I’m referring to you – but we’ve likely already had the conversation before, and if we haven’t, then you’ve kept your tasty treats a good secret from your wellness provider!  My teasing is all in good fun, but there is some truth and seriousness to this topic where employers do need to re-evaluate their situations and realize Free Donut Friday is a direct mixed message to your employees and a huge step back from what you are trying to accomplish.

The most common “excuses” I hear from employers are:

  • It’s an additional benefit for employees that gets them excited – we want to do something special for them
  • Our staff would throw a fit if we got rid of Free Donut Friday – we’ve been doing it for 10 years!
  • There’s one HR employee who organizes this, or buys these on her own dime, and she would be so offended if we tried canceling it
  • Our employees don’t do well with change – there would be a revolution!

Some of these are a little silly, but they are real concerns and real reasons coming from employers.
What we typically try to preach to our employers is this:

Employees are all adults who can make their own choices, and we never encourage any organization to become wellness communists who take over the vending machines, replace all donut Fridays with apples only, or remove any of the “fun” of Free Donut Fridays altogether.  The main goal of employers should be to remove the barriers.  Provide the choice.  When only pizza is available, they are guaranteed to have the pizza (unless they have the willpower to forgo).  If you provide a variety of wraps, a side of fresh fruit or salad, AND pizza, at least they now have the option to make the healthier choice and you, as an employer, have removed the barrier.

Here are some other things you can do to change your culture:

  • Write a formal policy (or informal policy) that any organization-sponsored meeting must provide a healthy option, and you can even go as far as creating a “menu” or “list” of ideas for what constitutes as a healthy option (see if your wellness vendor will help you with that!)
  • Develop a wellness committee. Even if you meet only 4 times a year, this committee will be a grassroots group of employees who will be the first ones to say “you’re making us do this health screening, you’re asking us to do health coaching and participate in this 5K, but feeding us bagels and hot cocoa every Tuesday? Something is not adding up.” They also will be your eyes and ears “in the field” to see what the true feelings and reactions of your employees are and come with ideas on how to best address.
  • Talk about it! Discussing at employee meetings will at least address the elephant in the room, and while discussing it may drum up some push back, take the opportunity to provide your reasoning and remind them what the company’s goals are for a healthier workforce. Communication and transparency is always key in helping everyone understand the overall goal.
  • Get your middle management on board. Have a meeting or even a special workshop where management can be involved in developing the policy or coming up with a list of healthy choices. Their buy in is essential because if your managers are the ones griping about the changes, your employee reactions are inherently pre-determined.
  • Develop a “healthy catering partners” list and post on an intranet or break room. When employees or managers are catering in, or just ordering in, they have a place to go to see the local healthy resources, how to order, and what the healthiest options on the menu are.

It’s a simple change that will send a loud and clear message, one that is consistent with your organization’s other efforts.

 

April is National Autism Awareness Month

 

         Jamal Mack  Wellness Coordinator

Charles Darwin, Dan Aykroyd, Mozart, all these individuals are notable names in history due to their accomplishments in life. They all are famous, adored by their fans and peers, and all suffer from the same condition that affects 1 in 68 American children. They all have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that leads to difficulty with social interactions and communications. It is often characterized by a child’s non-interest or difficulty with social interactions, restricted interest, and repetitive behaviors. Unfortunately, we have found neither cause or cure for this disorder but we are narrowing down risk factors to things such as: having a sibling with ASD, having older parents, very low birth weight, and certain genetic predispositions (Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome).  These risk factors have given us insight on diagnosing ASD over the years and now we have a two stage diagnosing process which consist of a general developmental screening and a second more in depth screening should the child display any symptoms in stage one. The second screening process is conducted with at least 4 different child specialists such as a developmental pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, a neuropsychologist, and speech language pathologist. All these professionals collaborate with their results to paint the most accurate picture of diagnosis for the child so they may get the most effective treatments.

Treatment for ASD usually begins as soon as possible after diagnosis with the primary form being behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy. If symptoms are severe enough, medications will be prescribed. Research has found that the best way to treat is a combination of medication and these therapies. The therapies focus on reducing challenging behaviors, increasing strengths, learning social, communication, language skills, and life-skills necessary for independent living.  Depending on severity of the condition with proper treatment people with ASD can still be functional adults and not just independent but thriving productive citizens, much like the examples I stated in the beginning.

Thought to be a child’s disorder, over the last 30 years we have begun to diagnose adults as well. Adults can be difficult to diagnose since symptoms sometimes overlap with other symptoms of mental health disorder such as anxiety or attention deficit disorder. As an adult receiving a correct diagnosis can be very helpful by giving closure to past difficulties, identify their strengths and obtain the RIGHT kind of help.

Communicating with a person with ASD may be difficult at times and may be frustrating but I encourage you seek more information about it by visiting the Autism society website at https://www.autism-society.org/ . On the website there are many different resources to give you more insight into the disorder and there is even a page that gives you information on Autism awareness events that are going on in your area so YOU can get involved and make a difference. Together, we can bring some order to world of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

https://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/donate/

 

April Alcohol Awareness Month!

What is alcohol? Where does it come from?

Alcohol is a pure, colorless, odorless and flammable liquid that comes from fruits and grains such as potatoes, wheat, and barley.

Alcohol is a legal substance that is considered a depressant, which means it slows body function down. One to two drinks may make you feel relaxed, but three or more may severally impair brain and motor function.

Short-term effects?

There are several factors that determine how quickly the consumption of alcohol will affect your body. Those include; how much is consumed over what period of time, your weight, sex and body fat percentage, and whether or not you have eaten.

Signs of intoxication can include:
Slurred speech, clumsiness, drowsiness, vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness and lapses in memory.

The stomach absorbs 20% of alcohol, the small intestine removes almost 70%, and the other 5% is removed through the lungs, kidneys and skin. The liver removes whatever is left, at a rate of about one drink per hour. It may take the body 2 to 3 hours to fully metabolize alcohol from one to two drinks, and up to 24 hours to process alcohol from eight to ten drinks.

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the amount of alcohol in the blood stream, in which you can legally operate a motor vehicle is .08%

The fatigue you may feel the day after a night of heavy drinking is called a “hangover”. These occur because alcohol is toxic to the body and your body is still working to remove all of the toxin. The symptoms of a hangover are caused by dehydration, but sugary drinks can make these symptoms worse. The symptoms can include; headache, diarrhea, racing heart, dry mouth and eyes, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and nausea/vomiting. A hangover can last up to 24 hours, and doctors advise not to drink again within 48 hours to allow to body to recover.
When the amount of alcohol in your blood streams exceeds a certain level it can lead to alcohol poisoning. Signs of alcohol poisoning can include confusion, seizures, slow breathing, and blue tint to the skin, low body temperature and loss of consciousness. It is important to be aware of these signs because if the BAC becomes higher than 0.4% there is a 50% chance of death.
Some people may experience an alcohol intolerance which means after just one drink they can become flushed, have diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. If you suddenly develop an intolerance to alcohol it can be a sign of Hodgkin lymphoma, in which you are advised to see a doctor.
Combining alcohol with any other depressants can be seriously dangerous, those can include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety and sleeping medications. This combination will have serious effects on your respiratory and central nervous system.

Long- term effects?

While drinking is a common social activity, drinking in access can have many negative long-term effects on the body.

According to the CDC, alcohol abuse contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions. Including, dependence and addiction, liver cirrhosis and failure, cancers, and unintentional injuries. Around 88,000 people die in the United States every year from alcohol related causes, which makes it the third leading cause of preventable death.
Because alcohol affects every body system it can cause systemic health problems. Those include; liver disease, damage to the heart, stomach ulcers, cancer, brain and nerve damage, depression and anxiety, and even vitamin deficiencies.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, up to 40% of the hospital beds in the United States are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition that affects many people, but in recent years a growing percentage of adolescents. Research suggests 20% of college aged students would be considered alcohol misusers. Binge drinking plays a large role in this statistic. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for a man and four or more drinks for a woman within two hours.

The most notable of long-term effects is addiction and withdrawal. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. After a period of time of consuming large amounts of alcohol and on a regular basis you can become dependent on the drug. Alcohol addiction is a strong craving for alcohol and continued use even after the negative affect on health, interpersonal relationships and ability to work.

Treatment for alcohol dependency and misuse can include group and individual counseling, medication, inpatient detoxification programs and most common Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12 step program that aims to help anyone and everyone with a drinking problem. Information for the local Grand Rapids chapter of AA can be found at: http://www.grandrapidsaa.org/

Treatment plans are not one size fits all, so if you suspect you or a family member may abuse alcohol suggest reaching out to a physician or calling the listed contacts for help.

Contacts for Help: Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 1-800-527-5344
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. 1-800-622-2255

Fiber! What is fiber? – Why is it so important?

Fiber is a type of carb that isn’t digested, and passes relatively intact through your body. Because it doesn’t react the way as other types of carbs (like starches and sugar), it’s okay to eat a lot of it! There are two different types of fiber:
Soluble Fiber – helps lower cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels, and aids in weight loss. Can be found in oatmeal, nuts, beans, and some fruits.
Insoluble Fiber – helps with digestive health and aids in weight loss. Can be found in whole grains and fruit skins.

How much fiber should I have?
The amount of fiber needed depends not only on your age but also your biological sex.

Age 50 or younger Age 51 or older
Men 38 grams 30 grams
Women 25 grams 21 grams

 

Less than 3% of Americans achieve the minimum daily allowance of fiber – squeezing fiber into your diet when you can is so important!

Where do I get fiber in my diet?
Fiber can come from many different sources – finding options that fit into your routine can help improve your health. The following foods are great sources of fiber:

Food Serving Fiber (grams)
Avocado 1 medium 11
Black Beans ½ cup 7.3
Broccoli 1 cup 6
Cauliflower 1 cup 5
Pear 1 medium 4.5
Almonds 1 ounce 4
Sweet Potato 1 medium 4

 

Weight Loss | We’re in this Together

Heather Picardat
Marketing Intern

Weight loss is a mixture of what you put into your body, how much and what you do with your body to stay active. Often, we hear from clients that our job is so easy because we are already fit. “That’s easy for you to say!” They tell us when we are coaching them through weight loss and healthy eating techniques. “You work out every day!” To that we say, “No way Jose.” We work through all the same struggles that you do. That’s what qualifies us to do our job right!

How Do We Do It?
A great example of this is one of our health coaches, Emily Zoeller. Over the span of eight months, Emily has lost over 35 pounds simply by eating healthy and working out regularly. “I just wanted to feel healthier,” she said. One of the most important parts of weight loss is having a goal in mind, and motivating yourself to stay on track. For Emily the goal was to be able to compete in triathlons and other races.

When Emily started losing weight, she was focusing primarily on cardiovascular training and portion control. Now she still pays attention to portioning, but her workout regime has shifted to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and strength exercises. Currently, Emily said, “I do strength training two or three times per week, and cardio is twice per week.” Regularly doing HIIT exercises (like the one below) can really help pump you up.  Eating Healthy is Just as Important.
They always say “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” So you should eat a healthy one. Finish your breakfast at least one hour before hitting the gym. Also pay attention to portion control. How much you’re eating is just as important as what you are eating. Be sure that you’re not overdoing it right before you exercise. Lastly, snack smart; its okay to snack in between meals, but watch your sugar and fat intake. According to Emily, smart snacking has a lot to do with figuring out if you’re actually hungry or if you are just craving something. “I was always a late-night snacker,” Emily said. “If it’s late and I think I’m hungry, I’ll try to drink a cup of tea first. Then if I still want food afterwards, I’ll pick something healthy. I really love brussel sprouts, baked cauliflower… occasionally if I really want junk food, I’ll have some Halo Top ice cream.” It’s all about portion control, anything in moderation.

So how does Emily eat during the week to curb bad food cravings? “I meal prep,” she said. “I’m big on making my food in advance at the beginning of the week. It reduces how often I eat out.” Making your own food is better for you in a plethora of ways. You tend to consume less sugar and processed foods, leading to higher energy levels and better mental health overall. Here are some of Emily’s favorite healthy meals.

“Take Small Steps!”

Like everything else, losing weight is trial and error. You have to try different things and get uncomfortable before you can really get into a routine and figure out what works best for you. It can be very frustrating to not see results right away, but remember that you are building muscle while you burn fat. If it looks like you’re not losing weight, it’s only because muscles weigh more than fat. “Take small steps.” Emily said, “When you’re making small changes each week, you are more likely to continue with those habits to improve a healthy lifestyle.” It helps to remind yourself that every small step you take is a huge leap towards wellness.

 

 

Weight Loss | Recognizing Ryan Hall

 
Heather Picardat
Marketing Intern

So you want to lose weight?

It takes a lot of gumption to decide to begin losing weight. You have to want to do it, but you also have to have enough determination to actually stick to it. We want to celebrate one success story from right here in our very own office. Ryan Hall, an HPA Wellness Coordinator is an excellent example of how motivation and perseverance really can help you not only lose the extra weight, but keep it off.

Within the span of 1 year, Ryan was able to drop nearly 80 pounds by eating right and exercising regularly. His weight loss journey started because he felt he had really let himself go and he wasn’t going to be unhappy in his skin any longer. Ryan said that when he started, he didn’t have a weight loss goal; rather he had a goal to reach a positive self-image and a healthier disposition. “I was disgusted by what I let myself become and I knew that I had to change or I was not going to be happy… The longer I waited, the harder it would be to change it,” Ryan said. So, in 2004 when he began losing weight, he had to make some major changes to his diet and exercise routines.

What and how much should you eat?

One of the greatest challenges of losing weight is maintaining not only what you eat, but how much you eat. “Eating healthy will always be a struggle for me,” Ryan said. “I grew up in a household that ate a lot and most of it was not healthy.” Ryan said he has a ridiculous sweet tooth, but focusing on what too many sweets can do to you has been a great motivator in his sugar intake. Like anything else, the key to curbing these cravings, at least for Ryan is learning not to overindulge: everything in moderation. “I go back to the eating more healthy meals than unhealthy meals,” He said. “If I have a day where I have eaten pretty clean, then I don’t have a problem indulging a little bit.”

Food has proven to be a huge challenge for Ryan. “Many of my coworkers have heard me talk about dairy and its effects on weight loss,” He said. “Research shows that dairy is one of the best products on the market to promote weight gain. If this is the case, why is it marketed as a weight loss aid. Protein shakes, protein bars, cheese sticks, and calcium rich milk are all promoted as helping with weight loss, but they are all dairy derivatives which stimulate fat storage. To be clear, I’m not saying to never eat these things again, but if your goal is weight loss, you might want to consider alternative sources of calories.” As Ryan has struggled with eating the right things in the past, he really stresses the importance of choosing healthy, balanced meals. “I consistently preach to coaching clients and almost anyone that asks me, to eat as natural as possible.” He said. “Focus on eating fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats.” Now, Ryan’s got a pretty good handle on selecting nutrient rich foods and following a routine meal plan.

Here’s what a typical week day looks like:

Breakfast Lunch Afternoon Snack
2 Egg omelet with fresh veggies Grilled chicken breast
Steamed peas and olive oil
Baby carrots with Hummus
2 Apples
The importance of exercise.

It’s not all about the food though. Exercising can be just as important in weight loss especially because routine plays such an integral role in weight loss , and  there are thousands of different exercises that you can do. For Ryan, one of the challenges he faced was finding an exercise routine that both yielded results and that he enjoyed doing. “I have tried all different forms of exercise routines.”

Ryan said. “HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, group classes, power lifting techniques… so on. But what I enjoy the most and see the best results with is the classic body building style.” Currently, he is committed to 4 or 5 days of cardio, typically in the morning followed by strength training at lunch Monday through Friday. Usually once during the weekend, he will also do strength training. He follows a routine and sticks to it. “Cardio is typically a moderate intensity, steady state that I do for 30 – 45 minutes.” Ryan said. And his strength training? “I follow more of a body building routine that focuses on each major muscle group: chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, and core.” It keeps him focused and active so that he can reap the benefits of higher energy levels throughout the day.

“Weight loss is 30% what you do and 70% what you eat…”

Ryan’s advice to those who are just starting their weight loss journey is: find a niche that best suits them.  There is no one size fits all program and making a consistent routine can be tricky, but simply following it will help you yield results. “Weight loss is 30% what you do (exercise) and 70% what you eat (diet).” Ryan said. “Learning how to plan and prep meals, navigate a grocery store effectively, and cook food properly is essential to any form of weight loss.”

Want To Fight Cold and Flu? Take A Stand, Wash Your Hands


Jamal Mack
Wellness Coordinator

Nowadays technology is king. Not to give ourselves too much praise, but we’ve advanced a great deal from that good ole industrial revolution where powering items with steam and coal was considered advanced tech. As far as we’ve come we have yet to discover a technology advanced enough to slow down an age old enemy of ours: the common cold. The cold, flu, and other infections have plagued mankind with seemingly cunning and adaptive personality. Each time we think we have a hint of a breakthrough these viruses adapt thus resetting our progress for a cure almost back to square one. However, there is hope yet! Although these age old viruses have out maneuvered our efforts there is ONE method, as simplistic as it is, that research has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be more than effective.

WASH. YOUR. HANDSImage result for HENRY THE HAND

Why wash your hands?

Preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Hand washing can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20% of respiratory infections. Reducing the number of these infections by washing hands frequently helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics—the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Hand washing can also prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and that can be difficult to treat.

How does simply washing your hands with soap reduce the spread of infections and illness?

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
  • Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

How to wash your hands properly?

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need help with the time try humming the “Happy Birthday” or “ABC’s” song from beginning to end.
  4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Cant wash your hands at the moment? Use Hand sanitizer with alcohol base. 
When using hand sanitizer keep these key points in mind so that you may determine the most effective method of success:

  • Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers may not work equally well for all classes of germs
  •  Non- alcoholic sanitizer merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright or be more likely to irritate skin than alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • When hands are heavily soiled or greasy, hand sanitizers may not work well and handwashing should be used.
  • Hand sanitizers cannot remove or inactivate many types of harmful chemicals.

December is National Handwishing Awareness Month so now is a GREAT time to start practicing these methods if you are not already. Bottom line is, if you don’t want to be SICK, wash those hands every chance you GET. For more information on handwashing and prevention of spreading illness and infection please visit:

National Handwashing Awareness Week

and/or

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html

Have You Been Eating Your Vegetables?


Christina Falahee
Wellness Coordinator

November is national Spinach and Squash Month! Squash and spinach are some of the most versatile and delicious vegetables available throughout the world. They are not only tasty but they are good for you too. These vegetables may not at the top of your everyday meal list but after seeing some of their benefits below you might want to change that.

Nutritional benefits of Squash:

  • Boosts Immunity: Squash contains many nutrients, including vitamin A and C, magnesium, and many other antioxidant compounds which together helps the body boost its immune response and defend against foreign substances that can lead to a variety of illnesses.
  • Manage Diabetes: Certain types of squash contain dietary fiber such as pectin, which is an essential element in blood sugar regulation throughout the body. It helps reduce the plunges and peaks that can make a diabetics’ life difficult.
  • Treats Asthma: Squash’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been linked to a reduction in asthmatic conditions.

Nutritional Benefits of Spinach:

  • Improves Eyesight: Spinach contains beta-carotene, lutein, and xanthene, all of which can reduce the puffiness or irritation in the eyes.
  • Maintains Blood Pressure: Spinach contains very high content of potassium which helps lower blood pressure.
  • Strengthens Muscle: The antioxidants in spinach play an important role in strengthening muscles, including the heart muscles.

For more information on the nutritional benefits of spinach and squash visit
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-spinach.html

Spinach and Squash Fun Facts:

  • Did you know that spinach can survive through the winter and be just as healthy during the Spring?
  • Squash is one of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, archaeological data traces their origins back to 10,000 years ago in Mesoamerica.

Try Out Some Spinach and Squash recipes:

Built Environment & Wellness


Toni Sperlbaum, CWWPM, CHWC
Vice President of Sales & Marketing

What if you had to hopscotch into a conference room as you entered because there’s a tape hopscotch board on the floor.

What if when you entered that conference room, you had the option of standing at a taller bistro table around the perimeter of the room, or to sit comfortably in a chair?

What if you had a basketball hoop in your parking lot or behind your building?  Would employees play at lunch, or perhaps after work before heading home?  I don’t know for sure – but the likelihood is certainly much higher!

There are so many opportunities being missed in the worksite wellness arena when it comes to the built environment to activate employees and really show support for the types of behaviors you are aiming to change in your workforce.  Two aspects of built environment can be considered:

1. The “Built In” environment that usually requires some construction or major foresight when renovating office spaces.  This could include making the stair well open, well lit, and in a prominent place in the center of a room versus having the elevator front and center.  This certainly is important, but not always as easy to just change on a whim or implement over a short time period.

2. The “Surface Level” built environment, typically more affordable for companies and easier to implement, which includes my above what if examples as well as additional ideas such as:

  • An option for stand up desks (they sell relatively cheap desk top ones that can adjust your computer vs. having to purchase a full desk with an electrical height adjustment.  Although, those are pretty cool too)
  • Turning an old office into a makeshift gym with a treadmill, some hand weights, a ball, some bands, and maybe a TV and DVDs where employees can work out with DVDs on their lunch break
  • Paint/artwork in the stair wells done by employees
  • An indoor walking path marked with arrows and a map indicating how many laps around x department = 1/2 mile, for example (you can make an outdoor path, too!)
  • “Wellness Recognition Wall” where you can feature employees who have lost weight, completed a 5K or similar event, quit smoking, etc.
  • Installing bike racks, removing a barrier for employees to ride to work
  • Offering utensils in your break rooms will encourage employees to pack a lunch instead of going out.  Ample fridge and microwave space will help with this too!
  • Placing the healthier vending machine options at eye level and the unhealthier options down below.The possibilities and creative ideas are endless!  Take a look at your built environment, or tap into the creative juices of your wellness committee and see how you can mold your environment to support wellness efforts.

Find Your Balance – It’s National Work & Family Month


Dan Mata, Fall 2017 Intern

This national observance is one that many people look past, or yet, don’t even know it exists. National Work and Family month is all about our work-life balance, which some may have down better than others. Statistically, work-life balance is becoming much more difficult to “balance.” Many employers have been attempting to make true work-life balance a reality for employees; however, it isn’t becoming as attainable as we want it to be. It is said that at least  1 in 4 Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” Many of us are trying to manage heavy workloads, relationships with families, along with our outside interests. Life can be very overwhelming, and with that, our stress level rises. It’s true that we all will experience some level of stress, (we need some amount of stress challenge us and help us grow), but it is important that we learn how to manage it. Keep in mind that as our stress levels spike, it makes it harder for us to maintain good health. Weight loss becomes harder, overall mood is decreased, sleep can become worse, and etc. There are countless ways stress negatively affects you but there is good news. For every one bad way stress can affect you there are ways to combat and even prevent high stress levels.

Here are some practical steps that you can implement to kick the stress and bring that work-life balance back!

At Work

  • Set manageable goals each day
  • Be efficient with your time at work
  • Ask for flexibility
  • Take a five-minute break
  • Tune in to your favorite listening pleasure
  • Communicate effectively
  • Make sure you take your lunch break, away from your desk, and all other breaks allotted to you

At Home

  • Unplug from technology
  • Make sure home responsibilities are evenly distributed and clearly outlined
  • Don’t over commit – say ‘no’ to over scheduled activities
  • Get support from friends and family
  • Take advantage of your company’s Employee Assistance Program
  • Stay Active – regular exercise reduces stress, depression and anxiety
  • Treat your body right – being healthy increases your tolerance to stress
  • Get help if you need it

Source: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/work-life-balance