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Learning Center Experience
By Betty Harrison
Making wellness a priority in our lives can be quite a challenge. Considering that an average full-time employee spends at least 40 hours per week at work, a large part of this challenge exists within the scope of the workday.
"Today, many companies are offering jobs with health programs or benefits which include health and wellness options," said Betty Harrison, MA, CWWS, CWWPM, chair of the Health and Wellness and Nutrition Sciences Departments at Kaplan University. "Still, for those whose workplaces have not yet joined these ranks, we have some tips to help promote wellness in the workplace, while encouraging those around us to join in," she added..
1. Nutrition—The average full-time employee eats at least one meal per day away from home. In today's fast paced and competitive work environment, this often translates into meals eaten at the desk or on the road that may be high in fat and salt, and low in fruit and vegetables. "By following a few, relatively simple tips, individuals can improve the nutritional components of each meal eaten during the work hours," said Harrison. Harrison recommends:
2. Physical Activity—Many Americans work sedentary jobs where one might think the opportunity for movement is minimal. Here Harrison recommended to:
3. Stress Management—Actively manage daily stress in order to create a balanced, positive outlook on life. Harrison recommends incorporating mindfulness meditation into the workday. "Effective meditation can take just a few minutes while sitting at one's desk. Meditation provides a greater sense of calm and peacefulness enabling one to more easily manage the inevitable daily challenges we all face," explained Harrison. Check out an example of a guided 3-minute meditation.
4. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)—CAM incorporates a broad area of practices that can be used in conjunction with Western medicine to increase overall health and wellness. "One or two practices added to a wellness routine might be all it takes to make an impressive impact on personal wellness," said Harrison. Massages, yoga, meditation, and acupuncture as well as Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine are examples that should be explored.
Finally, Harrison reminds individuals that in order to make wellness a priority in the workplace, one must commit to creating real change. "To maintain a new health behavior, you need to change your environment. You will need to apply some self-regulation techniques, and you will need to have methods for assessing progress," said Harrison. "Behavior changes are complex, so remember: One step at a time."
Betty Harrison is the Chairperson for the Health & Wellness and Nutrition Science departments at Kaplan University, and is the Director of the University’s Center for Health and Wellness.
Balancing Act - Managing Work, School, Family and Everything in Between
Keeping it Balanced
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