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Hand Washing: Expert Advice for People With Skin Conditions

Posted By Tim Newman, Medical News Today - via NWI, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Photo by Curology

To stem the tide of COVID-19, the advice from all major health bodies is to wash your hands properly and frequently.

However, regular hand washing can exacerbate skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis. In this feature, we ask the experts for advice.

Starting in Wuhan, China, the novel coronavirus — now named SARS-CoV-2 — has reached every continent on earth except Antarctica. Because the virus is new to science, researchers are still searching for ways to prevent, treat, or cure the disease.

Institutions, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have set out their recommendations. At the forefront of these is thorough hand washing with alcohol-based hand gels or soap and water.

Skin Conditions and Hand Washing

Hand washing is one of the most powerful ways to slow the spread of infectious diseases.

However, for individuals with particularly dry skin or skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, excessive hand washing can result in skin damage and sore hands.

Even for individuals with healthy skin, overuse of soaps and hand sanitizers can cause the skin to dry out and crack.

As Dr. Zainab Laftah, consultant dermatologist and a spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation explained to Medical News Today:

“Repetitive use of hand sanitizers and hand washing can strip the proteins in the epidermis (top skin layer), leading to a compromise of the skin barrier and, therefore, the risk of infection. Additionally, soaps can give rise to irritant hand dermatitis, which presents as dry, flaky, itchy red skin, particularly in the finger web spaces and on the knuckles.” To avoid this, Dr. Laftah recommends “the use of a regular moisturizer.”

Individuals with preexisting skin conditions are more at risk of skin damage. These people “may benefit from hand washing with a moisturizer that contains an antibacterial ingredient, for example, chlorhexidine or benzalkonium chloride,” explains Dr. Laftah.

However, she notes that a recent study reported that “hand sanitizers containing these biocidal ingredients were less effective than alcohol-based hand gels at eradicating the coronavirus.”

Besides moisturizing, it is also important to dry hands thoroughly.

This is important for two reasons: firstly, germs are transferred more easily between wet hands.

Secondly, as Dr. Laftah explains, “water itself has a drying effect on the skin by reducing the skin’s natural oils when it evaporates, thus impairing the skin barrier.”

Overall, Dr. Laftah recommends either of the following two options:

  • Wash with soap or with moisturizer and water, then moisturize.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand gel and then moisturize afterward. Moisturizing at the same time might compromise the anti-microbial properties of the hand gel. 

She adds that a “moisturizer that lathers can act as a soap substitute and will be less drying on the hands; therefore, those with cracked skin may find this more soothing.”

Following on from this, Dr. Adil Sheraz, also a consultant dermatologist and a spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, explained to MNT, “If patients feel the need to use alcohol or sanitizing gel, (this may exacerbate the eczema or skin condition), then apply emollient immediately afterward to minimize skin irritation.”

Minimizing the Impact of Hand Washing

We contacted the British Association of Dermatologists, who were keen to stress that they “don’t want to deter people from following government guidance on reducing the risk of coronavirus infection, hand washing being a key part of this.”

However, they do offer the following advice to help minimize the impact that increased hand washing might have on already damaged skin:

  • Moisturizers, or emollients, are vital for treating hand dermatitis. They help repair damaged outer skin and lock moisture inside. People should apply them repeatedly throughout the day, and whenever the skin feels dry.
  • Applying an emollient after washing the hands can help. They advise that some individuals might benefit from applying emollient to their hands overnight while wearing cotton gloves.
  • When washing the dishes, using cleaning products, or shampooing a child’s hair, a person can protect their hands by wearing latex or rubber gloves.


Some skin conditions have an immune component. For this reason, doctors sometimes prescribe immunosuppressants, including methotrexate and ciclosporin.

Some individuals have shown concern and are asking whether they should stop taking their medication.

According to Dr. Sheraz, “There is no good evidence that being on immune-suppression necessarily increases the risk of getting COVID-19 or that the disease has a more severe course in such people. However, there is still a lot to learn about the virus, and following government advice is vital."

The British Association of Dermatologists reiterate this stance. They make it clear that “creams used for skin conditions, in the correct quantities recommended by dermatologists or [doctors], are not likely to increase the risks of getting COVID-19 or having a more severe form of the illness.”

They write that, “At present, most people are choosing to continue treatment until there is evidence on which to base advice. […] Any decision made about stopping treatment should include the consideration that your skin condition may deteriorate. It may also be more difficult to access healthcare services over the upcoming months.”

“Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer for these patients,” Dr. Sheraz told MNT, “a decision will need to be made on a case to case basis. Stopping immune-suppressing medication may well result in a flare-up of the underlying condition. This will need to be taken into account.”

The overarching themes are that hand washing is essential and that individuals who have particularly dry hands or skin conditions should use emollients to minimize damage and consider buying emollient soap substitutes.

For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.

For information on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) page provides advice.

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Redesigning Wellness Podcast: Creating Change Through Context with Norman Wolfe

Posted By NWI, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Redesigning Wellness with Jen ArnoldThe Redesigning Wellness podcast explores the world of corporate health to help employers build strategic wellness programs that engage employees.

In this podcast, Jen Arnold interviews experts in various specialties to demystify the common worksite wellness program. She’ll also spend time sharing barriers to help get your wellness program moving forward.

You’ll discover common sense approaches to wellness, tips for engaging employees and how to implement a program that your employees actually like.

182: Creating Change Through Context with Norman Wolfe, Founder of Quantum Leaders

Organizations are much more like living bodies than the well-oiled machines that we so often imagine them to be. Helping leaders understand and utilize this difference is the life goal of today’s guest, Norman Wolfe, founder and CEO of Quantum Leaders.

In his book The Living Organization, Norman draws on his 30-plus years of consulting and mentoring leaders to explain the core principles of how the world works and how it can be applied in businesses to create extraordinary impact and unleash the power of the human spirit.

In this episode, Norman explains how his living organization model was born and gives us a walk-through of its principles, including the three fields of energy (activity, relationship, and context) and how the interaction of these three fields make up Wolfe’s Law. 

He takes a deeper dive through his thoughts on context and leverage, and how shifting the context is the key to making wellness an inextricable part of the organization rather than a non-essential add-on. Lastly, he leaves wellness professionals with a tangible tip to start utilizing his model.

Tags:  Jen Arnold  Podcast  Redesigning Wellness 

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The Wellness Community Mourns Dr. Dicky Els

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The wellness community mourns the untimely death of Dr. Dicky Els, who was a tremendous ambassador in South Africa for the National Wellness Institute. 

A registered Industrial Psychologist who specialized in employee wellness and disease management, Dr. Els predominantly focused on employee wellness strategy development, program design, and the effective implementation and evaluation of outcome-based health promotion programs. 

Dr. Els served the wellness community in his country, and around the world, as a thought leader, ambassador, change driver, teacher, and friend.  

Tags:  Dr Dicky Els  Industrial Psychology  South Africa 

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Redesigning Wellness Podast: Interview with Colleen Reilly

Posted By NWI, Friday, March 6, 2020

The Redesigning Wellness podcast explores the world of corporate health to help employers build strategic wellness programs that engage employees.

In this podcast, Jen Arnold interviews experts in various specialties to     demystify the common worksite wellness program. She’ll also spend     time sharing barriers to help get your wellness program moving         forward.

You’ll discover common sense approaches to wellness, tips for engaging employees and how to implement a program that your employees actually like.


 181: Building an Inclusion Revolution with Colleen Reilly, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Immersive Worlds



Incorporating technology into culture doesn’t have to take away from the humanistic aspect. In fact, Colleen Reilly, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Immersive Worlds, would say it’s just the opposite. Technology opens up new worlds of possibility for creating a human centered and connected culture.

Colleen has had a robust career in the wellness industry for over 20 years. She not only founded Total Well-being, one of the nation's leading providers of corporate well-being consulting, but has worked with corporate giants like Coors Brewing Company, Mayo Clinic, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Boeing, and Keurig Green Mountain to name a few.

In today’s episode, Colleen shares an overview of her extensive and varied career in the wellness industry, including her start with Coors Brewing and the professional twists and turns she experienced after leaving. She discusses her thoughts on the industry’s current climate and recent shifts, including employees now looking for wellness as a cultural norm in their workplaces.

Colleen explains how she sees technology integrating with culture and her opinion that advanced tech can increase the humanistic element of wellness rather than take away from it. She gives a few concrete examples of how virtual reality initiatives are accomplishing this task. Finally, she briefly touches on the fourth industrial revolution and its implications on wellness before highlighting a few of her most important tips and action steps.

 View full show notes here.

Tags:  Jen Arnold  Podcast  Redesigning Wellness 

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Smarter Living: 6 Ways to Build Healthy Habits

Posted By Tara Parker-Pope: The New York Times via NWI Staff, Thursday, March 5, 2020

(Photo credit: Amrita Marino)

We’re all creatures of habit. We tend to wake up at the same time each day, brush our teeth, have morning coffee and commute to work, following the same patterns every day.

So why is it so hard to form new healthy habits?

Behavioral scientists who study habit formation say that many of us try to create healthy habits the wrong way. We make bold resolutions to start exercising or to lose weight, for example, without taking the steps needed to set ourselves up for success.

Here are some tips, backed by research, for forming new healthy habits.

Stack Your Habits

The best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit, experts say. Look for patterns in your day and think about how you can use existing habits to create new, positive ones.

For many of us, our morning routine is our strongest routine, so that’s a great place to stack on a new habit. A morning cup of coffee, for example, can create a great opportunity to start a new one-minute meditation practice. Or, while you are brushing your teeth, you might choose to do squats or stand on one foot to practice balance.

Many of us fall into end-of-the-day patterns as well. Do you tend to flop on the couch after work and turn on the TV? That might be a good time to do a single daily yoga pose.

Start Small

B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University researcher and author of the book “Tiny Habits,” notes that big behavior changes require a high level of motivation that often can’t be sustained. He suggests starting with tiny habits to make the new habit as easy as possible in the beginning. Taking a daily short walk, for example, could be the beginning of an exercise habit. Or, putting an apple in your bag every day could lead to better eating habits.

In his own life, Dr. Fogg wanted to start a daily habit of doing push-ups. He started doing just two push-ups a day and, to make the habit stick, he tied his push-ups to a daily habit: going to the bathroom. So, at first, after a bathroom trip, he would drop and do two push-ups. Now he does 40 to 80 push-ups a day.

Do It Every Day

British researchers studied how people form habits in the real world, asking participants to choose a simple habit they wanted to form, like drinking water at lunch or taking a walk before dinner. The study, published in The European Journal of Social Psychology, showed that the amount of time it took for the task to become automatic — a habit — ranged from 18 to 254 days. The median time was 66 days!

The lesson is that habits take a long time to create, but they form faster when we do them more often, so start with something reasonable that is easy to do. You are more likely to stick with an exercise habit if you do some small exercise — jumping jacks, a yoga pose, a brisk walk — every day, rather than trying to get to the gym three days a week. Once the daily exercise becomes a habit, you can explore new, more intense forms of exercise.

Make It Easy

Habit researchers know we are more likely to form new habits when we clear away the obstacles that stand in our way. Packing your gym bag and leaving it by the door is one example of this. Wendy Wood, a research psychologist at the University of Southern California, says she began sleeping in her running clothes to make it easier to roll out of bed in the morning, slip on her running shoes and run. Choosing an exercise that doesn’t require you to leave the house — like sit-ups or jumping jacks — is another way to form an easy exercise habit.

Dr. Wood, author of the book “Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick,” calls the forces that get in the way of good habits “friction.” In one study, researchers changed the timing of elevator doors so that workers had to wait nearly half a minute for the doors to close. (Normally the doors closed after 10 seconds.) It was just enough of a delay that it convinced many people that taking the stairs was easier than waiting for the elevator. “It shows how sensitive we are to small friction in our environment,” Dr. Wood said. “Just slowing down the elevator got people to take the stairs, and they stuck with it even after the elevator went back to normal timing.”

Dr. Wood notes that marketers are already experts in reducing friction, inducing us to spend more, for example, or to order more food. That’s why Amazon has a “one-click” button and fast-food companies make it easy to supersize. “We’re just very influenced by how things are organized around us in ways that marketers understand and are exploiting, but people don’t exploit and understand in their own lives,” she said.

Reward Yourself

Rewards are an important part of habit formation. When we brush our teeth, the reward is immediate: a minty fresh mouth. But some rewards — like weight loss or the physical changes from exercise — take longer to materialize. That’s why it helps to build in some immediate rewards to help you form the habit. Listening to audio books while running, for example, or watching a favorite cooking show on the treadmill can help reinforce an exercise habit. Or plan an exercise date so that the reward is time with a friend.

Take the Healthy-Habits Well Challenge

Now that you know what it takes to start building healthy habits, try the new Well Challenge, which gives you a small tip every day to help you move more, connect with those you love, refresh your mind and nourish your body. Just sign up, and you'll be sent a daily email about your next challenge. You can also get these tips and more delivered each day to your smart speaker with My Well Minute, our new Flash Briefing skill on Alexa. Find out how to get started here.

Tara Parker-Pope is the founding editor of Well, The Times's award-winning consumer health site. She is the author of three books, including “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage” (Dutton, May 2010), “The Hormone Decision,” (Rodale, 2007), and “Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke,” (New Press, 2002).

In 2013, Ms. Parker-Pope received an Emmy award for the Well video series “Life, Interrupted,” which chronicled the challenges of a young cancer patient in her 20s.

Before joining The Times in 2007, Ms. Parker-Pope was a health columnist for The Wall Street Journal. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and resides in Bucks County, Pa.

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Three Ways Retreat Travel Promotes Lasting Wellness

Posted By Jen Corley, Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Wellness tourism is now a $639 billion industry growing at a rate of 6.5% annually, and retreat travel, in particular, has exploded in popularity, in recent years. 

When most people imagine going on a retreat, they think of escaping their everyday lives in order to fully immerse themselves in “healthy” practices. These practices often address physical well-being (modifications to diet, exercise regimen) as well as emotional balance (journaling, group discussions), or spiritual growth (meditation, ritual). But what evidence is there that a few days away from a busy and stressful life can successfully promote lasting change? 

Taking aside the physical, emotional, and spiritual practices around which most retreats are structured, retreats also promote the social, professional, and environmental dimensions of well-being. By fostering community, digital detox, and appreciation of nature, they effectively combat some of today’s most pressing issues: social isolation, burnout, and disconnect with the spaces and rhythms of the natural world.

Relief from Social Isolation

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the average household size in the United States has declined over the past 10 years, resulting in a 10% increase in the members of the population who live alone. More than a quarter of the population now lives in single-member households. Two out of five Americans report that they “sometimes or always” feel their social relationships are not meaningful, and one out of five say they feel “lonely or socially isolated.” Further, poor social relationships are associated with significant increases in risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Retreat programs often build self-directed, introspective time, but this is just as often well-balanced by opening and/or closing circles, daily discussion sessions, free time for optional group activities, communal meals or accommodation, and/or shared transportation to and from retreat venues. 

Aside from programming that actively builds community, the act of travel itself can alchemize social connection. Retreat goers participate in a shared experience of new surroundings and routine, and perhaps confront new social and cultural norms together. Whether or not these bonds endure beyond the duration of the retreat, the shared experience creates a sense of connection and camaraderie even among those who might identify as introverts.

Alleviation of Burnout

A recent Forbes article  noted that Herbert Freudenberger first coined the term “burnout” in 1974, but for decades it was a workplace buzzword without much recognition as a legitimate disorder or disease. In 2019, the World Health Organization opted to include the condition in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a handbook that guides medical practitioners in making diagnoses. The ICD describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” A 2018 Gallup study of 7,500 full time labor force participants found that 23% reported experiencing symptoms of burnout “very often” or “always.” An additional 44% felt these symptoms some of the time.

None of this is surprising given that we live in an “always online” culture; whether that’s in pursuit of workplace productivity, personal entertainment, social media engagement, or otherwise. The lines between “work” and “play” have been permanently blurred; clear boundaries between the times and spaces we designate for productivity and leisure no longer exist. 

Mindful “digital detox” can be instrumental reclaiming these boundaries. Retreat travel is an ideal setting for unplugging, recognizing habits that do not serve us, and beginning a new way forward. Once we separate from the need to constantly be online or in touch, we afford ourselves the time to connect with ourselves. This gives us a chance to gain perspective: to remember what truly matters to us, and to re-prioritize our busy lives accordingly. Daily, we can be more mindful about what we chose to commit to, both on a personal and a professional level. 

Reconnection with Nature

A recent study measuring the instance of nature-related words in works of fiction, music, and film suggests that human connection to the natural world has fallen dramatically in the decades since the 1950’s. While urbanization may be one factor, researchers believe technological change is the major culprit. The 1950’s saw the rise of television, the 1970’s, the emergence of video games, the 1990’s the widespread use of the Internet, and the 2010’s the popularization of the smartphone. While we once both worked and played outdoors, the exploration of the great indoors now accounts for nearly all of our time.

Being inside all of the time is problematic, in that it doesn’t afford us direct experience of the natural world. However, it also disrupts the synchronization of our biological processes with natural cycles. This can show up in a myriad of ways, including but not limited to disrupted sleep, disordered eating, hormonal issues, and seasonal depression. 

In the tradition of Ayurveda (India’s ancient science of healing, often translated as “science of life”), many retreat programs are designed with the underlying assumption that time spent in nature is an essential component to replenishing our ojas, or “vigor.” Western medicine has also come to recognize the power of time outdoors in healing certain conditions, preventing others, and generally helping our bodies function optimally. For this reason, it’s not surprising that relatively remote seaside, mountain, dessert, and forest locations are among the most popular choices for retreat venues worldwide. Retreat-goers may gain a renewed appreciation of nature’s beauty along with practical experience attuning their sleep-wake cycles, mealtimes, and seasonal routines to natural forces.

While retreat travel is certainly not a panacea relative to our social isolation, burnout, and disconnect from nature, it has the potential to effect lasting change. Retreats have long focused on the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of well-being. However, given current realities around social, professional, and environmental stressors, it may well be that the reset retreats provide relative to these factors are just as meaningful.

Jen heads the Wellness Travel segment of WeTravel, a payment and registration platform for the travel industry. She is responsible for strategic development, including oversight of sales, marketing, branding, PR, and communications. She leads a team that creates and distributes educational content, manages strategic partnerships and community relationships, and organizes online and live events.

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The BRATLAB ‘Habit Prescription Dose Value’ Series: Build Positive Relationships to Boost Productivity

Posted By Hanlie van Wyk, Monday, March 2, 2020

In a previous post, we divided happiness into three easy to remember concepts: Pleasure, People, and Prosperity

  • "Pleasure" refers to maximizing pleasurable moments (such as comfort, entertainment, and enjoyment) that lead to the satisfaction of a person’s wants and needs. This might contribute to a level of life satisfaction.
  • "People" is about having positive relationships with others. As social animals, we crave social acceptance, strive for social contribution and seek integration with a community.
  • "Prosperity" is more than what money can buy. It’s about flourishing and living authentically; actualizing one’s inherent potentials as the way to well-being.

Where should you focus your time and energy? Which happiness habit would have the greatest impact on an individual’s and organization’s productivity?

Researchers believe that about 40% of your happiness is within your control. Essentially, this means that happiness can be “generated”, and we could practice “happiness habits” for maximum beneficial impact in life and at work. The Behavioral Research and Applied Technology Laboratory researched nine happiness habits that could improve productivity and divided them into three categories: Foster, Focus and Savor. In this series, we will look at each of the nine happiness habits and explore the value that each one can bring.

Let’s start with Foster, and in particular, the importance of building positive relationships at work.

Building Positive Relationships

Happiness at work doesn’t come from raises, bonuses or perks. It comes from two things: results and relationships, i.e. doing great work together with great people. It comes from the things that you and I do, here and now. When we have healthy connections with the people we work with, we are more likely to show up fully engaged and productive at work. According to Gallup, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. And it doesn't have to be a best friend: just having a good friend in the workplace makes it more likely to be satisfying. This shows how important it is to build healthy relationships at work, and the value of feeling a sense of connection and relatedness. 

Making the Change:  Habits for Fostering Positive Relationships

1. Be civil

Rudeness in the workplace isn’t just harmful, it’s also contagious. "You might go your whole career and not experience abuse or aggression in the workplace, but rudeness also has a negative effect on performance," says Trevor Foulk from the University of Florida. Trevor and his research team noticed that common negative behaviors could spread easily, just like the flu, and have significant consequences for people in organizations.

2. Smile and say “hello”

Saying hello is quick and free! Researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts tell about the power of a smile, and have shown it's the little things that make a big difference in social interaction. Combine saying “hello” with a smile and it humanizes the workplace. Employees who smile more have customers who report higher satisfaction. Kathy Savitt, Managing Director at Perch Partners, a consulting firm, warns, “I think it’s easy for people at many companies to become cynical, which then leads to politics, which can create a cancer that can topple even the greatest companies.”

3. Don’t pair

Pairing occurs when two or more people engage in a “side conversation” about issues and concerns, without bringing those issues to the table to be discussed openly. Exclusionary behavior like this is likely to aggravate an already difficult situation. Failure to address the issue openly could lead to dissension, resentment, reduced productivity, and ultimately, the loss of high performers that become alienated by the toxic culture. If anger and rejection is allowed to brood, there is an increased risk of office aggression and violence. According to Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, while it is part of human nature to associate with peers that have similar traits and personalities, pairing and cliques can be harmful and counterproductive.

4. Arrange voluntary small group meetings

Change Craft’s research on the impact of fostering positive relationships on productivity found that holding small, voluntary group meetings once a week increased informal sharing of ideas and suggestions. This in turn lead to improved production efficiency (9%) and overall productivity (17%).


Higher connectivity among team members is linked to a team’s performance. By increasing connectedness, psychological well-being is enhanced. Any organization looking to evaluate the impact of investing in these changes or wanting to understand more about how to create happy, healthy, and change-ready cultures should contact Change Craft at hello@changecraft.consulting.

Further Reading

Foulk, T., Woolum, A., & Erez, A. (2016). Catching rudeness is like catching a cold: The contagion effects of low-intensity negative behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(1), 50–67. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000037

Sommers, S. (2011). Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. Riverhead Books (Penguin).


About the Author:

Hanlie is a behavioral change expert, systems strategist, author, and PhD candidate for Hate Crime Studies. Her fascination with human behavior started while growing up in South Africa. From working to prevent hate crime to humanizing the workplace, her career spans three decades and four continents researching and applying behavioral change strategies to some of the most challenging behavioral problems. As Director of Change for Change Craft (powered by Behavioral Research and Applied Technology Laboratory) she studies, develops, and applies agnostic systems and practices that make change sticky, and results in high performing individuals and cultures.

Tags:  Emotional  Emotional wellness  occupational wellness  Social  Social Wellness  Worksite wellness 

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Redesigning Wellness Podcast: Joe Kenner and Sara Marcus

Posted By NWI, Thursday, February 27, 2020

Redesigning Wellness with Jen ArnoldThe Redesigning Wellness podcast explores the world of corporate health to help employers build strategic wellness programs that engage employees.

In this podcast, Jen Arnold interviews experts in various specialties to demystify the common worksite wellness program. She’ll also spend time sharing barriers to help get your wellness program moving forward.

You’ll discover common sense approaches to wellness, tips for engaging employees and how to implement a program that your employees actually like.


180: Open Hiring at Greyston Bakery with Joe Kenner and Sara Marcus 

When people aren’t working, the community is suffering, according to Joe Kenner, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships at Greyston Bakery, an organization founded on an open hiring philosophy. From Greyston’s earliest beginnings, they’ve been hiring populations that many would deem unemployable, using a first come first serve approach.

As VP of Programs and Partnerships, Joe Kenner is responsible for directing Greyston’s workforce development and community wellness strategies and activities. He’s joined in today’s conversation by Sara Marcus, Partnerships Manager at Greyston’s Center for Open Hiring. She oversees partnerships with employers, non-profit partners, and funders with the ultimate goal of fostering a wider adoption of open hiring among businesses.

In this episode, Joe explains Greyston’s humble beginnings, as well as origin of the company’s open hiring policy - a strategy implemented by Greyston’s founder, Bernie Glassman, as a way to help the Yonkers community thrive. They share some of the benefits of open hiring, including a lower rate of turnover and a reallocation of funds into keeping employees rather than hiring them. Finally, Sara discusses the process of helping other companies move toward an open hiring model, including the Greyston Learning Lab where companies are invited to Greyston to get a first hand look at facility and how fewer barriers in the hiring process might work for them.

View full show notes here.

Tags:  Jen Arnold  Podcast  Redesigning Wellness 

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SelfHelpWorks: Activity Log and Walking Summary

Posted By SelfHelpWorks Product Team, Wednesday, February 26, 2020

LivingFit is a 12-week walking program that includes a cognitive behavioral training component designed to help participants ease into exercise and enjoy daily physical activity so that it becomes a regular part of life. The program is divided into three distinct four-week segments, each designed to serve a specific purpose that takes the participant to a new level of activity. LivingFit focuses on changing the way participants think about being active rather than providing a workout regimen, and the result is genuine, lasting behavior change and a higher quality of life.

The LivingFit course contains two closely related elements that raise user accountability, promote mindfulness through interaction, and provide visual motivation to increase activity levels.  

The LivingFit course is specifically targeted to users who are mostly inactive or even completely sedentary, but it can benefit anyone who wants to increase their daily activity or reframe their attitudinal outlook on exercise.

The course contains a metrical centerpiece—comprised of two parts—that functions as a prime motivational tool for users.

The Activity Log

Each session of the LivingFit course (which progresses on a week-by-week basis) issues the user two different types of challenges:

  1. The weekly walking goal: This is a combination of the number of days to walk, the walking pace, AND the total amount of time the user is challenged to walk.
  2. The daily goal: This is an assignment that engages the brain's habit-creation system, often encourages introspection, and plays a pivotal role in re-framing the user's attitude about exercise.  

Both goal-types become incrementally more challenging as the course unfolds. Users are prompted to enter their minutes walking and their completion of the daily goal in the activity log every day (although they can retroactively fill in days they've missed back to the previous week). Here is an example of the activity log, as it appears in week 3:

The Walking Summary

The Walking Summary is kept in the Tools section of the course library; it compiles all the data entered into the Activity Log and displays it so the user can see a weekly breakdown of their days walked, minutes walked, and completion of daily goals. At the top of the summary are the totals for all categories logged:

  1. Minutes walked since starting the course
  2. Hours walked since starting the course 
  3. Average minutes walked per week
  4. Ongoing percentage of daily goals met
  5. Daily breakdown of walking minutes organized by week, with totals on the right to reveal trends later in the course
  6. Days the daily goal was met, and number of days walking minutes were logged (in relation to how many goal-days there were)

In Summary

The Activity Log gives the user a sense of accountability and interactivity within the LivingFit course. There are regular reminders to fill in the activity log that are woven into each session; also, users have the option to schedule reminders sent via email and/or text.

The Walking Summary is designed to give users both a snapshot and a detailed report on their activity levels and adherence to the daily goal challenge. As the user continues through the course, the Walking Summary provides a journal of progress and achievement. 

SelfHelpWorks partners with employers, wellness vendors, health plans and healthcare providers to help people achieve lasting behavior change that lowers chronic disease risk, improves health, and enhances outcomes. Their program LivingFit is a 12-week walking program that includes a cognitive behavioral training component designed to help participants ease into exercise and enjoy daily physical activity so that it becomes a regular part of life, keeping in line with the Physical Dimension of Wellness from NWI's Six Dimensions of Wellness Model.

Tags:  Exercise  physical  Physical Activity  physical wellness  walking 

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Redesigning Wellness Podcast: Interview with Dr. Timothy Clark

Posted By NWI, Friday, February 21, 2020

Redesigning Wellness with Jen ArnoldThe Redesigning Wellness podcast explores the world of corporate health to help employers build strategic wellness programs that engage employees.

In this podcast, Jen Arnold interviews experts in various specialties to demystify the common worksite wellness program. She’ll also spend time sharing barriers to help get your wellness program moving forward.

You’ll discover common sense approaches to wellness, tips for engaging employees and how to implement a program that your employees actually like.


179: Creating a Culture of Psychological Safety with Dr. Timothy Clark, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor 

Psychological safety is an absolute necessity in order to have innovative, high achieving teams. According to podcast guest, Dr. Timothy Clark, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a team’s leader is the cornerstone in creating and fostering this multifaceted safety within its culture.

Tim is a global expert in the fields of senior executive development, strategy acceleration, and organizational change. He is a decorated author, with five published books and more than 150 articles pertaining to these subjects. He has served as CEO of multiple companies, making him a highly sought after coach, advisor, and facilitator to senior leadership teams.

In this episode, Tim walks us through his four steps of psychological safety: inclusion safety, learner safety, contributor safety, and challenger safety, explaining how each level promotes innovation and achievement more than the last. He also delves into the difficulties leaders may have in building this culture, and what they can do to advocate change.

View full show notes here.

Tags:  Jen Arnold  podcast  Redesigning Wellness 

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