From executive leaders to operational do-ers, my goal is for you to walk away from this write up with inspiration to help spread the wellness word. To be an advocate for wellness in the workplace, and see how the evolving collision of work and life doesn’t have to hinder our sanity, suck our time or limit our physical goals. Instead, with wellness tools offered in the workplace we can learn to navigate life’s changing demands and attain balance of the mind, body and soul in and outside of the office.
To set the stage of my life experiences, I grew up in the midwest with two brothers, raised by a single mom. We didn’t have a lot of money, so SpaghettiOs and Hamburger Helper were a meal time staple. The Happy Meal was a balanced dinner, with ketchup being a nutrient rich vegetable. Approximately 43% of US households are low income and their nutritional knowledge may be intact. The perceived price of high quality healthy foods cause low-income families to choose the lower nutrient, cost-efficient foods. 1
As the chubby girl in school, I was excessively picked on. Obscenities were regularly written on my locker, I was pushed in the hallway, and the mean girls throwing gum in my hair was a popular sport. Bullying is a whole other talk, but imagine this teenager, nearly 170 pounds who had no concept of a healthy diet and meaningful exercise. I didn’t know where to look or what to look for to improve my physical and emotional situation.
Thankfully, some schools these days offer healthier food options, and by the time this generation is in the workforce, my dream is that all companies will have evolved, and on-site wellness will no longer be a perk, but instead a requirement to recruit and retain the cream-of-the-crop talent. In fact, an article from Business Wire says, 42% of workers say they “have purposely changed jobs due to a stressful work environment” that affects both their life inside and outside of the office.” 2
Back to the story, and skipping ahead to my twenties. I moved to San Francisco and was shocked to find people buying fresh, organic veggies at local farmers markets and everyone running the steep hills, not because they’re being chased by mean girls, but for fun and exercise – I was curious!
In 2009, I got lucky with a personal trainer who peaked my interest fitness and nutrition even more. He talked to me about natural vitamin sources, balanced dietary supplements, and what processed food really does to the body. He showed me how to exercise with good form, to be effective and push my limits while not hurting myself. The fitness and nutrition flame was officially ignited within me. But, like 92% of society,3 I worked in the rat race, The Corporate World where I’d eat lunch over my keyboard, then after a long work day I had very little motivation to go to the gym.