I’ve heard more and more people toss around the phrase “conspiracy theories” but aren’t they just different viewpoints? When did we learn that was unacceptable or bad for our society? Why is there so much anger towards people who disagree with our views?
We all have free will to explore what moves us. We are unique and come from different backgrounds with different life circumstances that mold us into who we are today. The only thing I hope for now, in this time of Great Awakening - our new world where everything’s turned upside down so we can expose what is no longer working for humanity- is not to contribute to the divisiveness and fight to try and change someone else's mind into believing what I believe. I am learning to find the patience, compassion and understanding to accept, not be afraid or demonize someone for thinking differently.
Different viewpoints, religious affiliations, cultural and political beliefs, these are what makes us unique as individuals. It fosters an open society. You don’t have to agree with people at all times, but to embrace this belief of individual diversity is to show compassion, respect and love for all of mankind.
When we rush to judgement and become highly reactive, whether in the boardroom at work, social media or at the family dinner table, our ego is taking over. The ego is that part inside of us that likes to keep us in fear and doubt, keep us small and unworthy and when things are going right, tries to creep in with stories of fear and failure. As a student and a teacher in the practice of Mindfulness and Being Present, I've explored the art of learning to slow down my reactivity, take a pause, witness what is rising within myself. The stronger the reaction, the bigger the wound.
Ask yourself, if in this moment you are trying to make others wrong in an effort to make yourself feel safe and right? Is this person or group threatening my belief systems? What is causing this reaction? Am I bringing a past story or trauma into this moment? It is at this point you can begin to become more conscious and aware of your own motivations and trigger points and make better decisions as to how to proceed. The first step is awareness and acceptance for what is.
People and circumstances challenge us. You don’t need to, nor will you always agree. It’s a part of life and the human experience. To try and avoid this or fight to change it, is futile and frustrating. The most complicated, frustrating, sad and disappointing experiences don’t happen to us, they happen for us. It’s the way we learn about ourselves and the world around us.
Share your opinions without aggression. Share your facts and see if that person is open to exploring. Try not to go to battle. Make the assumption that we are all doing the best we can and look at this time as an experiment in a deeper consciousness rising.
Share this post if you agree with What We Hold True.
Peace, love and pear!
Every minute of every day we tell ourselves a story. Those stories can be uplifting and affirming or they can be self-defeating and negative. Are you even aware of your stories? When you realize that your life is the outer reflection of those little stories, you will begin to choose your stories wisely. The first step is to become aware.
One morning I woke up and decided to give myself a 30-day meditation challenge. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would begin my meditation practice or how I would sit still for even five minutes every day but I was very determined to try. I was so sick and tired of feeling bad and not having a deep understanding of why. The same stories kept playing over and over again in my head. I felt stressed and anxious much of the time and wasn’t even sure why.
I started waking up a little earlier than usual and went and sat in my cozy chair and closed my eyes. I tried silent, deep breathing meditation one day. Another day, I tried a guided meditation. I fell in love with listening to high frequency music (528 Hz) on YouTube and felt myself drifting into a deeper place. For those of you who may not be familiar with this high frequency music, it is “healing” type of music that soothes and can bring about positive transformation.
Once I faced my fear, sat quietly on a regular basis and began listening to my intuition, that little voice inside me that was begging to be heard, I found the right path I needed to follow at this point in my life. It helped me discover a deeper part of myself that had been hiding in all the chaos of my life.
When I learned there is no right or wrong way to meditate, a whole new world opened up. The most important thing to do is get still. That’s it. Simply get still. Finding the way to quieting your mind comes with time. The notion of erasing all thoughts and clearing your mind is not really achievable for many of us – unless of course you are a Tibetan monk living in a monastery. As thoughts enter your mind while meditating, you will begin to see what is pressing on your mind and what might need attention in your life. Even the most painful ones hold so much important information for us. It helps to acknowledge, reflect and recognize the feelings and thoughts so we can make better, more informed decisions on what is best for healing ourselves. They are the road maps for our lives. Ignoring or denying them usually leads to suffering in the long term.
There are so many expectations for us first-time meditators and it rarely goes the way we had planned or hoped for. Try not to be discouraged or frustrated but find the beauty and excitement in the thoughts, feelings, memories and fantasy’s that are jumping around your mind, wanting attention. All are a part of who you are and they hold great importance, no judgement here. To be present or mindful is to bear witness to your thoughts and emotions and not cover them up or ignore them with frenetic activity.
Do you know what motivates you now? What you crave and need to feel more settled in life? What makes you smile and feel like you’re creating something special for yourself and others? What’s your true purpose or that special gift you have? Where do you want to be a year from now or even five years from now? What’s the next step? Do you know? That’s what meditation offers you on a deep conscious level; insight into your soul, your life, your purpose, your hopes and dreams.
What if you just sat in a quiet space for a few minutes and began to take notice of your thoughts as they enter your mind? What if you became the silent observer and notice what arises with each deep breath you inhale? Acknowledge, review, accept and bless it. Releasing the ego side of ourselves that judges and criticizes. Release the urge to be the perfect meditator, to do it right. Calming the “monkey mind,” that incessant chatter we all hear and starting to focus on the breath and asking life’s big questions; Who am I? Why am I here? What is it I’m being called to do with my life? How may I give back? Asking these questions of myself helped me get a clearer picture of my life and how I viewed the world. It doesn’t always happen overnight and in the beginning, it can feel really uncomfortable to be alone with that deeper part of ourselves. Turn off your computer and smart phone. Just sit quietly. Don’t worry about the outcome. Let go of the attachment of how it will get done and just set your intention to try. And try again.
We all deserve to be heard and seen. It only can happen when we are ready to show up for our lives. How to do this? Stop and sit in the stillness. Ask the big questions. Listen for the answers and be witness to what comes up. The Wisdom of You, that power place that is deep inside is begging to be heard. Go and follow those big dreams that lie inside of you. I will be by your side cheering you on!
My 30-Day Awareness Meditation Challenge:
One of the most gentle and approachable forms for a beginner is mindfulness meditation. The object is to observe the wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intention is not to get too involved with the thoughts or judge them but simply be aware of them, let them pass and return to your breath. You can also practice a mantra you say each time your thoughts come up in an effort to refocus your mind. A mantra may be as simple as repeating; all is well or so it is.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
1. Sit comfortably in a chair, on the floor or a cushion. Try not to lay down, chances are you will fall asleep.
2. Close your eyes gently. Soften your mouth and make sure not to clench your teeth.
3. Make no effort to control your breath, just breathe naturally and fully, expanding your stomach with each inhale. Exhale fully through your nose.
4. Focus your attention on your breath, observe how your body feels. Breath into the tight areas and sink deeper into letting go of any areas that feel restricted.
5. If your mind wanders, observe your thoughts and release them by returning your focus back on your breath.
Repeat this meditation each morning before you start your day or in the evening before bed for a full 15 minutes. Increase your meditation time as you become more comfortable with your practice.
Peace, love and pear!
* These and many other "big life" questions come from my Soulful Connections card deck. All 120 questions are designed to help you explore and discover your power and purpose.
Back in 1984, I was in journalism school. I remember each professor made it a point to remind us during every class, that you never print a story without multiple sources being fact checked and verified. It was the tenet of every good journalist and their editors to follow this principle. We were taught only editorials should be opinion and all news stories should be objective and factual.
Fast forward to today and those sacred journalism rules are out the window. News programming is anything but objective and more importantly it’s called programming for a reason. Pundits sit around a table and convince you their analysis is fact. Pick any news station and you will find all day programming, bias towards one side or the other. Public relations groups are in high gear to create popular news “personalities” with a cult like status. Many of these personalities don’t even have a journalism degree but have the look and the character to help manipulate the masses and fit the agenda of the day.
Fear is the big seller here and the scarier the better. Fear and violence keep TVs turned on and sponsors paying a large premium for ad space, knowing they have a captive audience. Is it an industry out of control? I would say yes. Just look around. Flip the channels, read the online papers and scroll social media sites. If you begin to look objectively, can you see how the same programming keeps running? The real tragedy is that most people have become so numbed to this form of journalism, they have very little expectations or desire to seek out the truth. They take it at face value, often assuming what they read, see or hear in the papers, television and social media is accurate.
Investigative journalism seems to have died years ago. Today, we have a bad reality TV show playing out all over the airwaves. And we just accept it, keeping the channel turned on. It’s addictive. It gets our adrenaline pumping and releases other chemicals that keep us addicted to watching more and more.
Imagine what would happen if people started exploring and researching alternative non-mainstream platforms with “boots on the ground” journalists offering objective, just-the-facts reporting? What if we became interested and educated in other viewpoints. What would happen if we all slowed down, practiced being more present in the moment, and asked ourselves; does something feel off? Am I being fed the same narrative over and over again? Am I being programmed to live in fear and despair? Have I lost my connection to myself and others, getting caught up in the anxiety, stress and frenetic energy swirling around me? Are stories that don’t fit the mainstream narrative being censored?
Maybe, just maybe, more people will begin to awaken, take a mindful pause and be open to the idea that maybe not everything is as it seems.
What if we see this time as a great awakening. A time of great slowing down like we may never have before and an opportunity for us to look at areas of our lives where we might be stuck. What if we breathe deeply into the space where most of our resistance resides, try and release that tension with a deep exhale and become the silent “observer” of our own lives.
What if you begin to ask yourself; What is it I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t been able to find the time for? Could the time be now? What is it that I am unhappy with? What has become unfulfilling; where you live, your job, your career or your relationship? What areas of your life are unbalanced and need more attention?
What if you let go of self-judgement and gave yourself some much-needed permission to begin exploring new hobbies, new books, a spiritual class or a new way of living? Could you go deeper in a practice that you know would bring you joy, peace and comfort? Have you developed an appreciation for the quiet and the simplicity that this time has brought? Have you gained more clarity and found your inner strength? Are you more aware of your core values and developed a curiosity about spirituality? Do you notice you may have some resistance to making any changes, trying new things or exploring new ideas? Do you know where this resistance is coming from? Maybe now is the time to take that leap of faith and discover a deeper sense of who you are, what you believe and what you're longing for in life.
"Awareness is the greatest agent for change." - Eckhart Tolle
Think of this moment as a time windfall. So many of us have had limited time in the past for ourselves, our family, partner and friends. We’ve become so accustomed to being over scheduled and rushing through our days with too many demands and deadlines that we hardly notice what we are doing, thinking or feeling.
On one hand, it can feel uncomfortable with so much time on our hands that we struggle to fill the hours and days on our calendar. On the other, it can be a blessing in disguise if we sit with the discomfort and ask ourselves; what is it I truly need or want to feel secure, happy and fulfilled? You may not have a full understanding at first, but the more time you spend in quiet reflection and meditation, the closer you become to that consciousness.
Embrace all the change that is occurring right now as much as you can. We are so used to our routines and we can find comfort in the familiarity, especially in times of crisis or pain. But there is also a time to let go of the controls and just allow life to unfold and be present in the moment. As Eckhart Tolle explains in The Power of Now, there is a time for doing and a time for being. When we stop the resistance, the expectations and the fighting against what is, in this present moment, we can find more peace and happiness within ourselves. To become more present, is to sit, reflect and enjoy the moment that is happening right here and now. It is also about bearing witness to what needs to change, what you hold of value and what you can do to work towards creating more of it. Try not to judge but become the observer of your life. Witness the struggles, the joy, the happiness and the pain, remembering that individual moments don’t define you, they make you human.
One action item you can do right now is to spend time in meditation and notice what arises. Take a few minutes and write down what it feels like to focus your attention on these important things. What is working and what isn’t working for you right now? What is keeping you stuck? What would life feel like if you started to move in the direction of your hopes and dreams?
Becoming more still and allowing your conscious awareness to unfold, opens the doors to peace and unlimited possibilities.
Peace, love and pear!
* These and many other "big life" questions can be found in my Soulful Connections card deck. All 120 questions are designed to help you explore and discover your passion, power and purpose.
Have you ever wondered, how some people get sick very often and are more prone to catching colds and flus while others are rarely sick? It’s all about the body’s immune system. The immune system is the first line of defense against an alien microorganism entering the body.
A healthy immune system reduces your chance of developing viral infections, the flu or colds and helps fight seasonal allergies. The benefits of boosting your immune system go beyond just warding off illness, it will increase your energy, productivity and enhance your mood and build resiliency in times of physical or emotional stress.
In my Immune Boosting workshop, I share several ways to improve your immune system, increase energy and help with productivity and weight loss. I’d like to share one of those ways. One of the best foods to eat that is packed with nutrition, vitamins and minerals, is bone broth soup. Bone broth is simple to make, it’s timeless, and it’s where we can go when we want to get back to the basics. Bone broth soup is loaded with amino acids like arginine, glutamine, and cysteine, have been shown to boost immunity in humans and animals (the soup is very healing for your dog or cat but please omit the onion which is toxic for animals). It helps fight inflammation, improve joint mobility and even help with weight loss. Bone broth soup improves the gut bacteria and that impacts all facets of your health. Why is this so? Because up to 80% of our immune system is located in our intestinal tract.
Here is a simple and easy recipe you can make and enjoy as a warm and hearty soup or use as a healthy culinary stock for your other recipes. The key to this recipe is the length of cooking time. Use a slow cooker/crock pot, set on low and allow this soup to cook for 24 hours.
_____________________________________ RECIPE _____________________________________
1 organic-free range chicken.
Choose organic / free range when you can. The quality of organic is important as the animal has been raised with no added hormones or antibiotics and is raised in better quality living conditions, its more humane and provides more nutrition as nature intended.
1 large onion, sliced in quarters
2-3 celery stalks, chopped in 2 parts
2-3 carrots, peel on and chopped in 2 parts
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 TBSP Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TBSP Italian Seasoning Blend or other preferred spices and seasoning
1 TBSP Salt and Pepper each or to taste
12 cups water
Cook a roasting chicken in oven for 2-3 hours at 350 degrees, depending on size.
Cut away the breast and thigh meat and set aside, covered in fridge overnight.
Place the roasted chicken, carcass and all in the slow cooker/crock pot with all the ingredients. Cover with water and set on low. Cook for 24 hours.
Strain the broth using a colander to collect all the vegetables, spices and bones. Store the broth in glass bowls or mason jars. Enjoy the soup as a warmed broth or make a hearty chicken vegetable soup with the following preparation:
Place the broth in a large pot and place on low heat on stovetop. Add the roasted chicken meat you have reserved in fridge (roughly chopped into small chunks) and add any veggies or noodles you enjoy in your soup and cook until tender.
Makes 4 servings
*Please note: you can follow this recipe using beef bones as well. For larger quantities, double up on the recipe. Enjoy!
Peace, love and pear!
Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us like things to be orderly, familiar and to “make sense.” We get used to our routines, they can provide comfort and give a sense of control. What happens when a crisis occurs, and life doesn’t make sense, and everyone around us, including the media, begins speculating on grim outcomes? What if there are no immediate answers and we are faced with many unknowns, trying to cope with a new normal, even if for only a short period of time?
One of the most effective ways for overcoming overwhelm and frightening feelings of insecurity and loss of control is to settle into the space of unknowing with a gentle acceptance. Get to know it, honor it, accept it. Settle in to a mindfulness practice that keeps you grounded in the present moment, not worrying about what might happen in the future, because none of us truly knows the future. When we awaken to a greater force, one that forgoes our external experiences and relies on the resiliency and strength of who we truly are at our core, we can find compassion, faith, love and hopefulness.
Where to begin?
I hope you will share this article with those you love and care about who may be struggling. To find more articles on meditation, mindfulness, self-empowerment and building resiliency in difficult times, visit www.PeaceandPear.com . May each of us work towards spreading more peace, love and calm. Stay well.
Peace, love and pear!
Cultivating a practice of calm amidst the chaos of life. An everyday “accessible and portable” mindfulness practice to support you when difficult moments arise in your day.
Have you ever arrived at your destination only to realize you don’t remember the drive? Or what about having that pit in your stomach when you realize you just polished off a whole pizza in a matter of minutes and you weren’t even hungry but very frustrated. Maybe it’s being distracted and anxious with your to-do list spinning through your mind and not being able to focus on a conversation with your partner. What about that meeting where you became so frustrated, you were unable to control your responses.
We’ve all been there, and it can be startling when you catch yourself. These are classic examples of being distracted, frustrated, fearful and unaware of what is going on around you and within you in that moment. Our minds take flight, we lose touch with our body and soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened, labelling it as bad or good. We worry about what happened in the past or what might take place in the future. We're caught in a cycle of trying to control a situation.
Many of my programs and workshops center around body/mind awareness and creating space so we become less reactive and more active in making conscious choices. This allows us to lead ourselves and others with more insight, compassion and strategy. Practicing mindfulness or as I like to call it, “being present”, is an effective practice once it becomes familiar and routine for you to check in with yourself.
The STOP practice is just one of the mindfulness tools I teach that has helped my clients reduce stress, build resiliency in their ever day lives and manage teams more effectively. This is a great technique to practice whenever you’re feeling in distress or anger arising. It creates the space we need to observe and tame our feelings. It also allows the space to access the deeper resource within you, developing the emotional intelligence and psychological resilience and flexibility to help master more challenging moments.
S: The “S” literally means to just stop what you’re doing, allow yourself a moment to come to rest, pause and collect yourself.
T: The ‘T” stands for taking a conscious breath. Now that you’ve paused, take a few deep breaths, feeling the expansion of your belly as you breathe deeply. Bring your focus to your breath, even counting as you inhale and exhale can calm the brain and nervous system, allowing you to become more aware of how you are feeling and slow the cortisol flowing in your body. Bring your attention to your feet and feel the support of the ground as you breathe.
O: the “O” stands for observe the thoughts, feelings and physical responses happening in your body. Is your neck tense and your teeth clenched? Bring your awareness to those areas, breathing deeply and see if you can be in the situation without being ruled by it. Offer yourself and others in the room self-compassion. As you begin to feel more calm, open yourself up to the choices you have in terms of how to best move forward from here.
P: The “P” reminds you to proceed being more aware and intentionally setting the next step with strength, wisdom and the art of being present in the moment. Remind yourself you don’t always have to react in the moment and there often is more power in being mindful of all the opportunities to explore new ideas, thoughts and behaviors.
To be engaged in difficult conversations and life situations is a part of being human. Releasing the attachment to the outcome, knowing you have a strength to acknowledge and release your reactions, that is the practice of mindfulness in and of itself.
Know someone who could benefit from learning this powerful technique? Pass this article on. Interested in exploring meditation, mindfulness and healthy living programs for your or your staff? Contact me at Christine@PeaceandPear.com or visit www.PeaceandPear.com to learn more.
Humans are born with a strong love of sweet tastes. This is one of the reasons so many processed foods from chips to salad dressings, bread and pizza have sugar added to them. It reinforces our cravings, making us want even more! Sugar is highly addictive, activating our brain pathways similar to other addictive substances like drugs and many of us don’t realize how much we’re eating. We crave more and more because sugar triggers the reward system in our brain. Refined sugar is even more highly addictive and causes many health issues and weight gain.
In my Healthy Eating workshops I share 5 healthy alternatives to table sugar and corn syrup you can use to satisfy your sweet tooth. Use these all-natural sugars in moderation and you will reap the health benefits.
1. Raw Honey.
Raw honey has a flavor that satisfies your craving for sweets. Honey is made when bees chew on nectar and break it down into simple sugars. They deposit it into honeycombs and water evaporates out of it. It's loaded with natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Honey is also a natural antiseptic and can be applied to cuts and scrapes. It’s important to note that not all honey is equal and you should avoid labeling tricks. Most honey being sold in the market today is overly processed, heated and filtered, taking all the best health benefits away. Processed honey is clear while raw honey is thicker, often cloudy and has a honey comb or crust on top. Avoid cheap honey especially the ones that come in the little plastic bear jars. Make sure the label says raw honey. A little more expensive, but well worth the cost.
2. 100% real Maple Syrup.
Maple syrup is a healthy, natural product that comes straight from trees. It's made from the boiled sap of maple trees and has lots of healthy nutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index (this tells your body how fast or slow to raise your blood sugar after eating it) than sugar. It also contains up to 54 different antioxidants.
3. Dates. Some people enjoy using date sugar, which is made from powdered dried/dehydrated dates. Date sugar has all of the dates’ nutritional value, including fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s not always easy to find date sugar so to make it even easier, just add chopped or mashed Medjool dates to any food you want to sweeten.
4. Coconut Sugar.
Coconut sugar is made by boiling and dehydrating sap from a coconut palm tree. It tastes a lot like brown sugar, but it has fiber, iron, zinc and antioxidants.
Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that is made from a South American plant. It is much sweeter than regular sugar so you need to use it sparingly. The best type is Green Leaf Stevia because it is hardly processed and very pure with no added chemicals. It’s important to mention that Stevia is not metabolized by the body like sugar and has no impact on blood sugar. For this reason, it is a great alternative for diabetics.
So now you know what alternatives there are to satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t derail your health or your weight loss efforts! Please help me spread the word about healthy sweeteners by sharing this article with your family, friends and coworkers. Want to learn more about healthy eating or my stress reduction and mindfulness programs to help you and your family create a healthier, less stressed-out life in 2020, visit PeaceandPear.com
Educate and Motivate.
Given the wealth of information available online now, employees often find themselves confused on what is really the right approach to their health. One size does not fit all and educating your team members to make better decisions, explore healthy options and listen to their bodies is key. That’s why education is at the root of any successful program. I’ve found a variety of different ways to educate that are effective, from lunch and learns to webinars to my unique Coach-on-Call program and wellness challenges; all providing small tidbits of daily education. The key with these programs is that the presenter is a lively, motivating speaker so attendees feel inspired to take action.
Enable and Empower Everyone.
Wellness doesn’t have to be complicated and I will ensure a seamless approach to your company’s wellness goals. Once we’ve begun to educate your teams on the mind/body connection, it’s important to make it easy for them to follow through on what they learned. For example, I’ve worked closely with cafeteria managers and HR staff to create a ‘Peace and Pear approved’ Green Bowl Program. Employees know that whatever meal was in the Green Bowl that day was a healthy and delicious lunch option. Even if your office doesn’t have a full cafeteria, we can incorporate healthy snack options in the vending machines. Something as simple as giving employees large water bottles and provide filtered water and lemons in the office to make morning lemon water, which energizes, detoxes and hydrates employees is a great start. This simple act alone can help employees stay hydrated, avoid the sugary waters and sodas in the vending machines and improve energy levels by up to 50 percent. Another option is to offer fruit for morning and afternoon snacks. Apples, pears and berries are low-glycemic and packed with antioxidants and fiber to fill everyone up.
Incentivize Your Team.
A little friendly competition goes a long way. Team-based wellness challenges with prizes help employees take what they’ve learned and motivate them to create healthy habits. Online wellness challenges can include multiple office locations or departments and build camaraderie company wide. Giving mindful prizes for participation is also effective to increase participation, especially for those individuals who are hesitant to participate.
Be Consistent in all Phases.
Finally, simply doing a one-off wellness event to check the boxes isn’t enough. Just like any new habit or change to routine, consistency is key. Planning out a full year of wellness in advance of the year keeps the program top of mind in the office. It also allows you the opportunity to provide different offerings, as not everything will appeal to everyone. Examples include offering a combination of lunch and learns, monthly newsletters, fitness classes, wellness challenges and even superfood smoothie and juicing classes. Running a good wellness program, with high engagement and sustained results can quickly become a full-time job. Outsourcing to a wellness focused company will not only save you time but also dollars.
To learn more about Christine's work and Peace and Pear’s corporate wellness programs, check out https://www.peaceandpear.com/corporate-coaching.html
1. Use existing staff to create and run a wellness program.
Asking a current employee who already has a full-time job to take on the extra burden and challenge of running an effective wellness program is a recipe for disaster. It may start off well, but eventually the lack of time and expertise to manage and administer a comprehensive wellness program becomes apparent. Onsite staff are expected to be behavior change experts and this only comes from real coach training and certifications. Wellness programs run by internal company staff typically have low participation rates and struggle to keep the program going long-term. Consider hiring a wellness professional who has the tools, resources, knowledge and experience to help your company create a comprehensive, well-planned, engaging program your employees will love participating in and watch your health care costs decrease significantly.
2. Expecting a static wellness portal to be a wellness program.
You can’t replace human interaction with a dashboard app and expect consistent, sustainable results. There’s no replacing a “live” class with demonstrations, instruction, engagement and accountability with an onsite wellness coach. A wellness coach is a professional accountability partner who mentors, educates, engages and helps to find healthy living solutions based on each employee’s needs.
3. Overly Complicated Programming. Simpler is Always Better.
To avoid failure, your wellness program should be easy to understand and follow. You need to remove all of the barriers to participation. The easier it is for your employees to engage, the more likely they will be to produce positive outcomes. Most of your employees probably spend more than 10 hours per day staring at a blue screen or their mobile devices. This leads to fatigue, stress and anxiety, lack of mobility and human interaction. Participating in activities that take them out of their normal routine creates a feeling of well-being and an opportunity to take a break and focus on feel-good healthy living techniques.
4. Failure to create a health promoting culture and environment with engagement and support of leadership team.
Many worksites initiate a corporate health and wellness program with limited leadership support. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a limitation on the effectiveness that the program will have. Companies with strong leadership support of the wellness program have leaders who participate in the program in very visible ways. They participate in campaigns, they participate in team challenges, they talk about the wellness program, they are involved in the evaluation and reports of the program and they personally believe in the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle. This can make all the difference in how an employee perceives the program and is encouraged to attend workshops, classes and challenges. Adopting healthy behaviors is actually fairly easy. The challenge is to maintain these healthy behaviors for the rest of your life. Worksites that can create health-promoting environments and a culture that supports healthy living will experience a variety of positive wellness outcomes including an increase in productivity and creativity and a decrease in sick days and employee burnout. The most effective programs use multiple streams of communication from the leadership team in the form of email, newsletters, website portal, tabletop tents, meeting announcements, staff meetings, text messaging, Facebook, new employee orientation and calendars. The more you talk about your wellness program, the more you change your culture and the outcomes for success!
5. Incentivizing the wrong things.
Gift cards, raffles, an extra vacation day or lunch on the company are incentives that employees love and are often motivated by. However, it’s important to offer these at appropriate times and not just for filling out surveys, logging on to a website to read a healthy living article or showing up for a biometric screening. These incentives offer real change when given after a behavioral or health challenge or series of workshops have been completed. It’s important to reward the consistent effort towards making real life, healthy changes. Consider also including the employees spouse or significant other in participating in the programs. Studies show participation increases as do the success rates of new healthy living techniques when the employee has support at home.
For more on Christine’s work, visit www.PeaceandPear.com