July 2011

I took a day off, just for me. I felt as though I deserved it. After all, I had been hard at work and feeling a little burned out with life and all its demands.  I packed up the car and headed off to my favorite beach.  After finding the best spot there, blanket perfectly placed on the warm sand, cooler within reach, sunscreen applied and a great book in hand, my attention was drawn to two children playing at the surf’s edge. I was close enough to observe them, finding myself drawn in by their interaction.  What captured my attention was their effortless ability to enjoy the moment and find excitement in the smallest details in their surrounding.

It was obvious their child-like approach to the day served them both extremely well! One child shrieked, “Look! Look what I found!” He then proceeded to hand over a small pink seashell to his playmate.  As he passed the shell over for observation, the second child said, “ Let’s start a pile for the best seashells on the beach!” The two searched and discovered one small miracle after the next. Before long I realized I had been delightfully watching them hard at work in search of nature’s beauty for more than an hour. They never tired of their adventure.

The simple ease of their actions made me wonder how different life could be if I practiced simple child-like living. I am not insinuating we should be irresponsible with the way we live our lives.  Conversely, what if we treated each new day as a beautiful journey filled with curiosity and spontaneity.  How wonderful would it be to just notice the little things in life and recognize them as small miracles?  If only we could slow down long enough to be mindful and present instead of plowing through every day in anticipation of it coming to an end. Treat each day as a gift. Life can be wonderful adventure.  Live well. Laugh often. Love each experience as your story unfolds.  If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed with all that life throws in your path, stop and observe a child and learn how to live in the moment. Cherish the gifts in your life.

By Melissa Naborowsky, RN

From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, concerts, casual barbecues with family and friends, and for most employees a day off from work.

At this holiday we celebrate not only liberty but also autonomy, self-determination, independence and choice.  Interestingly, these are also things employees’ want from a work site wellness program.  No one likes being told what to do especially when it comes to eating and physical activities, which are generally done on their own time.  Yet this is often exactly what work site wellness program tend to do.  Employees are told eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, do this, don’t do that.

While giving direction can’t be avoided, employees should be given as much freedom to reach the goal as possible.  How can they be dictated to and given freedom at the same time?  Here are a few suggestions.

Educate.  Use facts and data.  As I plan a fruit and vegetable campaign for a client I want to start by telling them less than 5% of their employees are eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. I am hoping that number will have an impact on them, at least more so than just saying eat more fruits and vegetables.   And education on the benefits of fruits and vegetables will also be an important part of the campaign.

Make it fun:  Yes for an exercise challenge it is important to log the exercise one is doing. But I think it gets more ingrained when employees are given the freedom to plan what the active work activity should be.  Some wonderful examples my own clients have come up with include; having a volleyball tournament against a rival company or an internal whiffle ball game that just wouldn’t stop even when that poor whiffle ball was more duct tape than plastic.

Make it easy:  While they may be doing this as part of their job, it is not their job.  Whatever you are asking them to do needs to be simple, simple, simple with realistic deadlines and assistance available if needed.

Perhaps George S. Patten said it best,

Never tell people how to do things.

Tell then what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

Valorie Bender CWPC