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Work Place Wellness
By Gail Ostrishko B.A.,M.S.
For most organizations, health care expenses are second only to payroll and consume up to half of corporate profits - and unhealthy lifestyles are the root cause.
According to Partnership for Prevention, employers spend $226 billion a year - an average of $1,685 per employee - on absenteeism, low productivity and other indirect costs of individual and family health problems.
Since people spend the majority of waking hours at work, the worksite is the ideal place to promote health and wellness.
Workplace wellness goes beyond physical health. Wellness is a multidimensional phenomenon of engaging the mind, body and spirit in a healthy, productive and satisfying manner. At least six components contribute to overall wellness:
The body is the primary tool we have for accomplishing life's tasks.
It is a powerful machine designed to alert us to the consequences of our choices. The mind and body are two sides of the same coin, though many people do not make this connection when they experience an illness. Disease can result from any combination of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and psychological challenges. The elements are interdependent.
The foundation of physical wellness is a combination of regular physical activity along with wise nutritional choices, consistent sleep and abstinence from unhealthy substances.
Realizing that we are all connected, governed and guided by a higher power is a significant aspect of spiritual wellness. Exploring the meaning of life, and defining our purpose connects us to the cosmic community. Spirit is different for everyone, and whether we call it God, spirit, source or universe it is what tethers us to the world.
Faith beyond our own personal power is a significant aspect of long term health and wellness.
The spiritual dimension recognizes our search for meaning and purpose in human existence. It includes the development of a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces that exist in the universe.
Our minds are like our muscles, and like our bodies, they require consistent exercise and nutrition. Creative and intellectual pursuits provide fuel for the mind to learn and grow so that it becomes adept at problem solving, embracing challenges and making significant contributions to society.
Intellectual wellness requires creative, stimulating mental activities along with sharing our unique gifts with others. As you develop intellectual curiosity, you will actively strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavors.
Having a social support network is instrumental to health and well being.
No man is an island, and we tend to adopt the perspective of those we consistently come in contact with, especially those whose opinions we value. Having a social outlet, and spending fun time together away from work allows individuals and organizations to connect on a deeper level and support one another through personal as well as professional crises.
Experiencing, evaluating, accepting and expressing our emotions - these are all significant aspects of overall wellness. Emotions are literally energy in motion, and serve as our body's signaling system. We must be able to understand, express and manage our emotions appropriately in order to engage in effective relationships.
The well person maintains satisfying relationships with others. Being aware of and accepting a wide range of feelings in yourself and others is essential to wellness.
Adults tend to define themselves through their professions. Early in life, they need to establish credibility and climbing the proverbial corporate ladder is often the career focus. As we age and gain life experience, finding meaning and value through our work often takes precedence over the more tangible monetary rewards. Purpose is the foundation and passion is the fuel for engaging occupational wellness.
Achieving personal satisfaction and enrichment through work comes as a result of contributing our unique gifts, skills and talents in meaningful and rewarding ways.
The multifaceted nature of wellness requires a unique multidimensional approach.
Organizations facilitate wellness by creating a collaborative environment that addresses each of these areas. Offering employees opportunities to engage in healthy activity, while supporting and rewarding their efforts offers an immediate return on your investment.
Low and no-cost strategies for facilitating and rewarding wellness include on site fitness opportunities, nutritious food services, flexible work schedules, telecommuting and days off with pay. Organizations don't build business -- people do, and your business is only as healthy as your people are. Invest in your most valuable resource and experience the miracle of compounding!