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Let’s Talk Strategic Doing

Posted By Chuck Gillespie, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019
From the desk of Chuck Gillespie, NWI Interim Executive Director

Many organizations and communities spend countless hours and valuable resources developing strategic plans. When I first started as the head of HR for a global trucking and transportation company, the CEO pulled me in to discuss how he wanted to move forward with the new strategic plan. I asked when the last one was done, and he said two years ago. With that, I read through it. 


What did I discover? 

Not a single goal was met.  

Rather than engage in another planning session, I convinced the CEO to take one of the goals of the “current” strategic plan and focus only on that goal for three months, in addition to business as usual. At the end of that three-month period, the organization had accepted the change and we saw success. Within 18 months, we finally needed a new strategic plan, because the company had achieved its goals.  

A Japanese Proverb offers great insight: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”  

In my nearly two decades of working in the wellness field as a practitioner, consultant and wellness association leader, I have seen some of the best wellness strategic plans that have failed miserably, because they were plans with no action (I have also seen the nightmares of action without plans).  

That is why I love the concept of strategic doing. Strategic doing is not about fixing an old system, rather, it is about designing what’s next. Strategic doing is about aligning and activating a network of people and organizations to create a sense of purpose. It’s about taking a goal and putting it into action. If the goal is successful, move forward. If it is not successful, determine why (quickly – no analysis paralysis), note it, decide if it is worth trying again or move to the next goal.  

We are driving this concept at the NWI HQ right now with a revamped website and a laser beam approach to offering more of a member experience. We are also looking at ways to add amazing new trainings and education series, and finalizing plans for the National Wellness Conference, where we look to keep some of the great traditions of the past while offering new and (hopefully) exciting opportunities to learn, grow and connect.  

Not everything we do is going to be right, and we know it. Strategic doing is about being able to shift when our choices are not aligned properly. How can you help? Let us know three things:

  1. What made you join the NWI?
  2. Why do you maintain your membership?
  3. What can we do to enhance your member experience?  

We are also looking to bring the great collective knowledge of our members. Consider offering your expertise to our members by conducting a monthly webinar for us. Please note that your webinar needs to meet criteria for continuing education. So as much as I would watch an hour long webinar on how to juggle chainsaws while skydiving (and who wouldn’t), that might not meet our continuing education requirements.     

If we are going to create a world where the NWI’s Six Dimensions of Wellness is the driver for vitality and prosperity, then we must be ready to challenge the status quo. This means how we work together to make the needed changes and how we conduct our daily work. Status Quo is Latin for “the mess we are currently in” and that is not acceptable. 

We must work together to practice strategic doing. Are you ready?  

- Chuck 

Tags:  Chuck Gillespie  National Wellness Institute  NWI Executive Director 

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Make Yourself Marketable

Posted By Samantha Diedrich, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The way to make yourself more marketable is probably not what you think. Check out this short video from Emerging Wellness Professional Samantha Diedrich to find out, and sign up for our newsletter to receive EWP updates to your inbox!

Click here for information about getting becoming a Certified Wellness Practitioner.

Samantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, is a Certified Wellness Practitioner and Health Coach with Aspirus Business Health - Wellness. She is passionate about engaging business partners and clients to improve their lives through health and happiness. She is a member of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professional task force.

The goal of the task force is to motivate emerging wellness professionals to become active members of the organization and to support the EWP Awardee’s efforts to engage and empower the wellness leaders of tomorrow.

If you want to hear more on this topic Sam will be a breakout session presenter at the 2019 National Wellness Conference with the session titled, "Emerging Wellness Professionals: Growing your KSAs to be Marketable in a Competitive Profession" #EWP #2019NWC

Click here for more information about the Emerging Wellness Professionals task force and NWI's award for emerging wellness professionals.

Tags:  intellectual wellness  marketing  occupational wellness  professional development  success  thriving 

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O*NET Data Collection Program is seeking input from wellness experts

Posted By NWI, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

0*NET onlineThe O*NET Data Collection Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, is seeking the input of expert Fitness and Wellness Coordinators.  As the nation's most comprehensive source of occupational data, O*NET is a free resource for millions of job seekers, employers, veterans, educators, and students at www.onetonline.org.

You have the opportunity to participate in this important initiative and your participation will help ensure that the complexities of your profession are described accurately in the O*NET database for the American public. 

O*NET Description of Fitness and Wellness Coordinators: Manage or coordinate fitness and wellness programs and services. Manage and train staff of wellness specialists, health educators, or fitness instructors. 


You are considered an Occupation Expert if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have at least 5 years of experience with the occupation. This time can include supervising, teaching, or training, if you have at least one year working as a Fitness and Wellness Coordinator.
  • You are currently active in the occupation (practicing, supervising, teaching and/or training) and based in the U.S.

If you meet these criteria and are interested in participating, please contact us at nwi@nationalwellness.org and provide the following:

Name, Address with city and state, Daytime phone number, Email address 


Process and Participation Incentive

A random sample of experts responding to this request will be invited to complete a set of questionnaires (paper or online versions available). Experts who are selected and agree to participate will receive $40.00 in cash and a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

We encourage you to consider helping to keep information about your profession accurate and current for the benefit of our colleagues and the nation. Thank you for your support.

Tags:  data collection  fitness coordinator  fitness instructor  health educator  wellness coordinator  wellness specialist 

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NWI Member Spotlight - March 2019

Posted By Marvin D. Burruss, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Marvin D. BurrussMarvin D. Burruss, CWP

I am an NWl Certified Wellness Practitioner. I hold a BS Degree in Psychology and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Health and Wellness Promotion. I pride myself on providing support, motivation, accountability, and education while helping individuals achieve balance of mind, body, and spirit and ultimately improving their personal well-being. 

I am primarily employed by Weight Watchers (WW) as a telephonic Personal Coach as well as a Workshop Wellness Coach. I have been doing telephonic coaching since WW introduced it in January of 2014. I try to provide a rare and an often-overlooked male perspective in a predominately female environment. Eighty percent of my coaching members are males and I supply coaching to this minority population in ways that men can relate to. I believe I have been extremely successful in my work with them.

As a Coach in the Employee Wellness Program at the College of Lake County, I serve a diverse, multicultural, multiethnic and multigenerational population at their urban campus in Lake County. My bi-monthly meetings are focused on assisting employees in reaching their personal wellness goals including nutrition education and living a healthier lifestyle.

For five years I’ve served as the President of the College of Lake County Wellness Club whose mission is to inspire personal and community wellness for students. I‘ve lead this student group in organizing activities such as Blood Drives, Health and Wellness Fairs and other presentations for the diverse student body. I also was a member of the Wellness Commission at the College which supports the college’s initiatives to infuse diversity, multiculturalism, and environmental sustainability into the curriculum and college activities.

Before being exposed to wellness I worked for approximately 25 years as a Construction Project Manager, however, once I started getting involved with wellness, especially having a background and degree in Psychology, I knew right away that this was my calling in life. The more I learned about the benefits of bringing well being and balance into my own life the more I realized how important it was to share this knowledge. One of the things that I find most rewarding about coaching is the positive impact I can have on someone else’s life. It helps to satisfy my need to serve others. Personal Coaching was a perfect fit for my personality and skill sets. 

Unlike many of my friends of the same age who are starting to retire, I’m excited about expanding my second career in coaching. I am working on getting National Board Certified and hope to get into Diabetes Prevention Coaching soon. This is especially personal for me because my Father, almost all of his siblings and many other family members on that side of my family suffer from and/or have succumbed to this insidious disease. Who knows, if I hadn’t changed to living a healthier lifestyle then I might be in that situation as well. I can truly say that wellness changed my life for the better. 

I live in Grayslake Illinois with my beautiful and loving wife, Andrea. Together, we have four daughters and four grandchildren. When I’m not working I enjoy watching football (Go Steelers!!), bicycling, dancing and traveling. In parting as I like to, “Be well, BE MARVELOUS!!!

Tags:  Health and Wellness Promotion  Marvin Burruss  NWI member  NWl Certified Wellness Practitioner  wellness  wellness coach 

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Who to Watch in Workplace Wellness in Ireland in 2019

Posted By Brian Crooke, Friday, March 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Brian Crooke - Workplace Wellness Ireland

There’s been some really positive progress in the health promotion landscape in Irish workplaces in recent years. Companies are slowly beginning to move away from box ticking wellness initiatives and two healthy workplace accreditations have been launched (with a third on the way) that promote a longer-term approach to workplace health promotion. There’s still a considerable way to go if we want to catch up with our international counterparts, particularly in the US, but there’s no doubt we are on the right path. 

I see 2019 as an important year for health promotion in Irish workplaces. I’d love to see Ireland lead the way and develop a world class ecosystem for workplace health promotion and I don’t see why we can’t. I’m doing my bit with the Workplace Wellness Ireland community which is going from strength to strength with a very exciting schedule of events planned this year.

I can’t do it on my own though! I’ve put together a list of individuals that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet through the course of my work that I believe will have a significant role to play in shaping the future of workplace wellness in Ireland over the coming years. I’ve also managed to gather some of their thoughts and expectations on what we can expect to see in the industry in 2019.

Let me know your thoughts on the list and your own predictions for the year ahead in the comment section below.


Dr. Sarah-Jane Cullinane
Assistant Professor in Trinity Business School and Director of 'The Place to Be'

mindfulnessSarah-Jane works in the Trinity Business School and has 10 years’ experience in teaching and researching the areas of HR, Organisational Behaviour, and Well-being at Work. She has a PhD in Organisational Behaviour focusing on well-being and job design, and a diploma in teaching Mindfulness-Based Interventions. In bringing her passions together, she established her own business, The Place to Be, in 2018 to complement her academic work by helping organisations build a culture which fosters and promotes well-being. 

Sarah-Jane believes that “leaders drive well-being in the organisation and act as role models for healthy behaviour, which is why most of my current work involves developing and researching mindfulness-based leadership development programmes which give leaders the opportunity to build resilience by developing self-insight and strategies for self-care. In 2019 I look forward to further embedding well-being in the undergraduate and postgraduate business studies curricula in Trinity and in leadership development programmes in organisations as I strongly believe that well-being is about establishing new habits and behaviours which require regular practice and supportive networks.”


Caroline McGuigan
CEO and founder of Suicide or Survive

Caroline is a psychotherapist, mental health advocate, group facilitator, activist and founder of the charity Suicide or Survive. SOS works with individuals and businesses to educate, inform and inspire people to cultivate good mental health and reduce stigma. Caroline’s vision is to approach mental health differently, a vision that puts the power and responsibility back in the hands of the individual.

I was fortunate enough to meet and see Caroline speak on a number of occasions in 2018 (she was also a guest speaker at the inaugural Workplace Wellness Ireland meet up). I am always left feeling inspired and motivated having heard Caroline’s passion and commitment to promoting the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace.

“The team in SOS are really excited going into 2019 having delivered workplace programmes to thousands of people in organisations throughout the country. We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. Our intention is to be part of a country of life-long learning, curiosity searching and not certainty, a more compassionate country and a society where we lift each other up.” 


Enda Campbell
Workplace Health Promotion Office at the Irish Heart Foundation

Irish Heart FoundationEnda co-ordinates the workplace health promotion programmes at the Irish Heart Foundation. His qualifications include a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Limerick and an MA in health promotion from NUI Galway. 

Enda sees a move towards more evidence-based interventions and initiatives this year. “There has been fantastic growth and increased awareness of the value of workplace wellness initiatives but as the case has been in the USA in recent years, I would predict that there will be a move towards reducing risk factors of ill-health, rather than some interventions that have low engagement and impact. We will get better at recognising impactful interventions and begin to measure the impact of what we do.“


Fania Stoney
Healthy Place to Work

Fania is an executive with the recently launched Healthy Place to Work, brought to us by the people behind Great Place to Work. Fania works closely with organisations to guide them through the Healthy Place process and helps them understand their current investment, so they can move away from a tick-box style offering (woohoo!) towards implementing a wide-ranging and evidence-based health strategy. I’ve seen Fania present at a number of events and she always brings great energy and insight on how to create meaningful work, craft a resilient workforce and energise employees. 

For 2019 Fania expects that “with the labour market hitting saturation point, the health and wellbeing offering that organisations have will differentiate their employer brand, both in terms of talent retention and attraction. Understanding that offering, its relative strengths, opportunity areas and embedding a health strategy will be what sets organisations apart in the coming year.”


Stephen Costello
CEO of Spectrum Wellness

Stephen began working with the Spectrum group as a marketing executive and quickly secured promotions through to Commercial Director before becoming Managing Director of Spectrum Wellness by the age of 27. The company has grown at a phenomenal rate, including the announcement of 100 new positions last July which is great news for the workplace wellness industry in Ireland.

Stephen is currently leading the Spectrum Wellness team on a new project that he claims will revolutionise workplace wellbeing in the UK and Ireland, making it easier for human resource employees to champion health and wellness at work. 

“2019 is not just going to be an exciting year for the company, but for workplace wellbeing in general. As a $43bn industry worldwide, there are many opportunities for innovation in workplace wellness, especially in the digital realm. A combination of digital and in-person, genuinely expert-led wellbeing experiences for employees in the future will make health and wellness more accessible and engaging than ever before for companies of all sizes. This will help to make workplace wellbeing much more common place.” 


Donal Scanlon
Mental Health First Aid Ireland Manager

Mental Health First AidDonal has been working and studying as a professional in the area of mental health and well-being for nearly 20 years. He’s an occasional contributor to digital, television and print media, often speaking publicly on mental health in Ireland at conferences, schools, colleges and the corporate world and has guest lectured at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and University College Dublin. Most recently he was a guest speaker at the Oireachtas Forum on Mental Health hosted by the Ceann Comhairle. As the manager of Mental Health First Aid Ireland, Donal oversees the rollout and delivery of MHFA training in Ireland.

“My overwhelming feeling for 2019 is ‘hope’, I’m truly excited to build on the work done so far; and harness the energy and appetite for workplace focused wellness heading into 2019 and to partner with organisations to drive real change by creating supportive, healthier and engaging workplaces that in turn can bring improved productivity and contentment to employees”


Sohini De
Founder & CEO of Wind of Change Total Wellbeing Solutions Ltd

Sohini worked in the corporate world as an equity investor for many years and is also a practicing nutritional therapist and health coach. Wind of Change services businesses, schools and charities in India and Ireland and was founded on Sohini’s ‘farm to fork’ insights of the food and agriculture sector plus several years of study and market research into what helps employees and companies so that individuals reach their best physical and mental potential while corporates can save resources and be more productive.

“In terms of our expectations for workplace wellness in Ireland in 2019, we would share some of our key takeaways from our Irish and international market research. We expect to see a more data driven approach by corporates for targeted programme delivery and drive towards continuous improvement rather than one off programmes. This will not only ensure higher employee engagement but also improve transparency and clarity for all stakeholders.”


Jim Kirwan
Author, speaker, consultant and Director Forever Young Club

Jim is a best-selling author, speaker and wellbeing coach and consultant. After 25 years in HR roles in financial services, he moved to America in 2003 and became a spokesperson on the importance of physical activity and employee wellbeing. He returned to Dublin in 2017 and he has hosted and chaired a number of wellbeing conferences. He was the very first speaker at the inaugural Workplace Wellness Ireland meet up in 2018.

Jim recently joined forces with Pat Falvey, the adventurer and explorer and they will shortly launch the Forever Young Club, an over 50 community which is designed to help members develop an active, healthy, sustainable lifestyle. 

Jim says that “all managers and HR executives create the environment for employee wellbeing to thrive. This message is increasingly getting through here in Ireland, so 2019 promises to be the year where managers really walk the wellbeing talk and take a longer term, strategic perspective.”


Mark O Reilly
CEO FitVision Training Ltd and FitVision Technology Ltd

Mark is one of Ireland’s most sought after health and wellbeing coaches and speakers. He’s a qualified executive coach, personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach and physical therapist. He comes from a health and fitness background himself having played soccer at a professional level (he’s a fellow Bohs man!) and qualifying for the world championships in the Ironman triathlon.

FitVision provides wellness programmes tailored for unique corporate environments, cultures and goals and recently developed a purpose built app that allows Mark and his team to create an experience for the individual employee, who can set specific targets to improve mental and physical wellbeing and feel supported on that journey. 

“I feel in 2019 this technology will be the key thing for FitVision that allows us to continue to scale the business and offer quality service to each company we have the opportunity to work with.”


David Casey
Wellness and Health Promotion Manager at DeCare Dental

A culture of wellbeing fosters the needs of one another.David has almost ten years clinical experience in healthcare having worked for the last six years designing and implementing wellness and education programmes for over 500 organisations across Ireland and the UK. He is currently completing his Masters in Health Promotion with specialist interest in mental health and workplace health promotion at the school of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at NUI Galway. 

For 2019, David says “Talent is everything and embedding a top down culture of wellbeing into an organisation can enhance its capabilities in recruiting and retaining the best talent. Making wellbeing an important part of your company’s working environment can make employees feel valued and satisfied. These are the individuals who make the best addition to any team. They play an instrumental role in keeping the workplace culture alive and thriving through regular interactions with co-workers and management.”


Richard Murphy
CEO and founder of Zevo Health

Richard founded Zevo with the purpose of getting employees from A to B in their overall wellbeing. He recognised that employee needs differ and no two people are the same, therefore Zevo customise each company’s wellness programme to fit their needs. The aim is to improve the bottom line for businesses but most importantly to support employees in improving their overall health and wellbeing within the company.

Richard’s expectation for 2019 is that mental health and diversity training in the workplace will be a major factor in company wellness programmes. For 2019, Richard and the Zevo team plan to continue helping companies in having a healthy and happy workforce. 

Brian CrookeBrian Crooke is a wellness consultant, speaker and trainer specialising in the auditing, development and delivery of workplace wellness programmes (such as Corporation Transformation) for Irish companies through his Office Worker Health business. He is also the founder of the Workplace Wellness Ireland community. In his spare time he is bringing free resistance training to every county and community in Ireland through his parkHIIT project.

Tags:  Brian Crooke  international wellness  ireland  thriving  workplace wellness 

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A Guide To Hand Hygiene

Posted By Jo Greene, Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Although it’s been drummed into us since we were children, research suggests that we’re still not as good at hand hygiene as we should be. In fact, it is thought that 1 in 5 of us do not wash our hands after using the bathroom, which can lead to the spread of harmful bacteria. 

Throughout our history, hygiene has had varying levels of priority within our lives. However, having reached a point where cleanliness was “next to godliness”, more and more of us are  shirking our handwashing responsibilities. With the rise of campaigns such as Global Handwashing Day, it’s clear that hand hygiene needs to have a greater level of priority in our lives - and that in order to prevent the spread of germs, we need to spread awareness first. 


Why do we need to wash our hands?

Viruses and bacteria can be transferred from one person to another with just a single touch. And when we come into contact with so many dirty things on a daily basis, handwashing is one of the most important tools at our disposal to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria.

Even before we fully understood the role bacteria played in infections, the benefits of handwashing had become clear. In the 1840s, an Austrian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis began using chlorine hand wash in his obstetrical clinic, reducing mortality rates to less than 1%. A decade later, the hygienic changes introduced by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War (amongst which was regular handwashing) lowered death rates by two-thirds

Handwashing alone can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%, and can reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%. Preventing these illnesses and improving our health not only benefits our personal lives, but also helps to reduce sickness and absenteeism in the workplace, as well as keeping children in school, rather than at home with a cold or flu. 

However, despite the fact that we have come a long way in our hygiene since then, there is still vast room for improvement. It is thought that diarrhea, which can be contracted through drinking dirty water or eating food contaminated by dirty hands, kills 525,000 children under five around the world every year. Handwashing could therefore even be considered a moral imperative in the attempts to prevent the spread of life threatening diseases. 


When should we wash our hands?

As a rule, the NHS recommends that we wash our hands under the following circumstances:

  • After using the toilet
  • After handling raw foods like chicken, meat and vegetables
  • Before eating or handling ready to eat food
  • After having contact with animals, including pets

Some experts argue that handwashing does not necessarily need to be limited to mealtimes and bathroom breaks. The consensus seems to be that it’s advisable to wash your hands whenever they “feel” dirty. Though this may be pretty subjective, there are countless times a day when we may be touching things that are probably carrying large amounts of bacteria. 

For example, recent studies revealed that our smartphones, something that few of us are able to live without these days, are three times dirtier than a toilet seat. This, of course, doesn’t even take into account the amount of times that we may be handling door knobs, money, keys and other items that could be covered in bacteria.

Though washing your hands every five minutes is not exactly practical (nor is it particularly healthy), it is good to be aware of what you’re coming into contact with on a daily basis, and making sure that handwashing becomes a regular daily habit. 

But what exactly is the best way to ensure we are washing our hands correctly?


Step 1: Actually remember to wash your hands!

This may seem a little obvious, but it is amazing how many of us still do not wash our hands on a regular basis, even after using the bathroom. Further to the study referenced earlier, 91% of participants stated that they wash their hands after using the toilet, despite tests showing that only 1 in 5 actually did. 

There are many reasons why some people are lax about their handwashing habits. These can vary from an unhygienic looking environment, to a queue at the sink, to a general lack of understanding of the way that germs can spread in a bathroom. 

Whether it’s setting a reminder on your phone or going old school and hanging a sign above your bathroom sink, it is important to understand and remember the benefits of handwashing- and that this applies not just to bathroom visits, but also other activities where bacteria or germs could be spread. 


Step 2: Wash your hands correctly

There is almost little point in wash your hands regularly if you are not doing it correctly, as you could be missing entire areas of your hands where bacteria like to grow and transfer. 

The popular notion that hot water will kill more germs has recently been debunked by scientists. This is bad news for the 70% of people that have tried to cut corners with hand hygiene by simply rinsing their hands rather than using soap, as this will still transfer harmful bacteria.

Though handwashing seems like it should be a very simple process, according to the NHS, there is a correct procedure that ensures the maximum amount of bacteria are killed:

  1. Wet your hands with water.
  2. Apply enough soap to ensure it covers both hands entirely.
  3. Rub your hands palm to palm.
  4. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Then repeat with the other hand.
  5. Rub your palms together with your fingers interlaced.
  6. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked.
  7. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in a circular motion. Repeat this with your left hand and right thumb.
  8. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in rotation, going backwards and forwards. Repeat this with the other hand.
  9. Rinse your hands with water.

Though this may seem like an exhaustive list, according to experts, the entire process should only last the amount of time it would take to sing Happy Birthday twice through. For those hoping to practice their singing skills, handwashing could actually kill two birds with one stone!


Step 3: Don’t forget to dry off! 

Almost as important as the handwashing itself is the process of drying your hands. Failing to do this can risk bacteria remaining on your hands and transferring to door handles, or other objects or people. In fact, because your hands are a damp and warm environment, not drying them could mean you leave the bathroom with more germs than when you entered.

In an age where we are used to the electric or “smart” method being more beneficial, the hand dryer is an outlier. Hand dryers, especially jet dryers, can spread water particles (and thus germs) in different directions at speeds of up to 370 mph. If you want to ensure your thorough hand washing process has not gone to waste, reaching for the paper towels is the far more hygienic method, even though it may seem a little old fashioned by modern standards. 

Regardless of whether you’ve returned from a dog walk, finished preparing a delicious meal or spent a penny in a public bathroom, hand hygiene never goes out of fashion, and should be a daily priority for all of us. 

Not only does good hand hygiene help to save lives in places such as hospitals, it can also prevent us from catching less serious diseases that cause us personal inconvenience, and can take us away from our jobs or hobbies.

By understanding the importance of handwashing and recognizing the benefits, we can aim to make hand hygiene a bigger priority in our daily routines. With enough practice, we’ll help it become a habit that - hopefully unlike unwanted bacteria - will stick around for good. 

Jo GreeneJo Greene is a writer as well as a part of VR Sani-Co, a family business providing washroom and sanitary services for businesses all over Kent and Sussex. She writes about women's health, both in private and in the workplace.

Tags:  germs  hand washing  physical wellness  sanitation 

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A Mindful Approach to Change

Posted By Sabrina Walasek, Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Mindful Approach to Change

Some people are steady-as-they-go types. I’m prone to trying new things. And the power of making my own choices somehow made it all feel less risky—until the day it didn’t.

Twice, my husband and I left our jobs and home to spend a year traversing the globe. In 2010, we moved to Colombia and ended up spending four amazing years there. And when we returned to the States, I jumped right back into the flow, working on a creative project with awesome people. Life was good!

Then, that company suddenly closed shop. 

I decided to pursue a personal passion instead. I tried several strategies to gain entry into my desired industry, but I was met with obstacles each time. My previously sure-footed faith failed me. Life didn’t flow; it wobbled. I became tentative, questioning every decision I made. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic experiencing big changes or too many within a brief time period can create a perception that we are not in control of important events. This perception contributes to low self-esteem and even the development of anxiety or depression.

When a single change throws us off kilter, it often doesn’t take us long to regain “control.” But when we’re knocked off our foundation, it takes patience and self-compassion to truly right ourselves. 

Balance can be restored. Here are the steps I took.


Changing Thoughts Changes Reality

First, I paid attention to my thoughts and words. Yep, I was brooding on my “failed” career pivot and being really hard on myself. There is a saying, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” I was succumbing to negativity and dismissing the greatness in my life. 

I noticed one word in particular was warping my reality: “should.” The negative power of that word was subversively affecting my sense of self:

  • I should be making more money (I’m a loser). 
  • I should have a larger network (I’m unimportant). 
  • I should be more dedicated (I’m lazy).
  • I should be more skilled (I’m irrelevant).
  • I should stick to what I know (I’m foolish).

According to Psychology Today, the word “should” undermines our ability to do what we want to do and causes a host of negative feelings: blame, guilt, anxiety, stress. 

  • Using “should” with ourselves is disempowering. 
  • Using “should” toward others provokes anger and resentment. 

Once I realized all this, I vowed to stop using the word “should” — which was harder than I thought. It’s surprising how often “should” is used in conversation. 

To break this “bad” habit, I started replacing “should” with “could” or “want to.” For example, “I should network more” feels obligatory. If I don’t, I fail. (Plus, it goads me into rebellion.) Changing to, “I could network more” means it’s my choice. This small adjustment helped me realize I was in control of much of my daily experience. 

Notice how often you use “should.” What reaction does it conjure? Would it feel different if you tried “could” or “want to” instead?


Get Curious

Another strategy was to stop taking things personally and instead get curious. Instead of jumping to conclusions, I took the time to sit with my life’s roadblocks to gain perspective. I got quiet, took deep breaths, and asked myself: “What if this struggle is critical to my journey and my personal growth?” 

To be less judgmental and more curious, I contemplate these questions:

  • What would my compassionate self say to my critical self? 
  • Could any positives develop from this experience?
  • How does the struggle make me a better person?

Struggles are essential. They provide us with new perspective. Often, that “wrong turn” steers us to new and positive possibilities. Obstacles remind us to let go of the urge to control everything.

The next time you find yourself in a tug-o-war with life, stop and consider the underlying gift. Be kind to yourself and see if you can identify the value the experience may bring, even if it’s simply how to avoid something similar in the future.


Six Dimensions of Wellness

Six Dimensions of WellnessLastly, instead of obsessing on my profession pathos, my course reset involved taking on a well-rounded approach to assessing my life. I selected The Six Dimensions of Wellness, developed by Dr. Bill Hettler of the National Wellness Institute. The six dimensions of life examined in this tool are:

  • Occupational
  • Physical
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional

In my assessment, I acknowledged the positives I experience in each area. Turns out, I am flourishing in many dimensions of life. Who knew?

Discovering this has helped me build energy and motivation to take on the areas of my life that score lower. It helped me see how I can weave my passion into the different dimensions of wellness. I realized I could enjoy life until the universe is ready to open the right door for me, which it did about a week after I “let go.” Out of the blue, a paid opportunity came to me with more ease than I could have imagined.

When we dwell on negativity, everything in and around us is impacted. By looking for the positives, we embody more balance and strength. We are able to see how rich and multi-dimensional our lives are. Seeing these bountiful parts helps to offset the struggling parts. 

Review the six dimensions and list all the positives that make up your reality. Embrace the abundance. If you feel there is an area that could use a boost to keep life more balanced, explore steps you “could” take to fill in gaps. 


Find Your Flow

Through awareness, mindful speech (to ourselves and others), contemplation, and self-compassion, we can steady ourselves when the unexpected hits. The “bad” stuff will always still happen — but when we get clear, curious, and positive, we keep on flowing. 

Sabrina WalesekSabrina Walasek is a long-time educator and lover of exploration and learning. She has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing humanity and nurturing her sense of curiosity. She facilitates a monthly mindful women's circle and is a contributor to Whole Life Challenge's blog. Her website is www.mindfulspaces.org

Tags:  emotional wellness  intellectual wellness  mindfulness  resilience  success 

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Wellbeing in the Hospitality Sector

Posted By Pam Loch, Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK

Following the Brexit vote, it is reported that some 330 000 of non-British workers are considering leaving the UK, with many having already made the move back home. While the impact of these staff shortages on the NHS has been well documented, the changing recruitment landscape is set to negatively affect a number of businesses in Britain, particularly within the hospitality industry. HR managers are having to adapt to these changing demographics, and are starting to place greater emphasis on wellbeing initiatives in order to prevent staff turnover over the coming years. 


The recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality sector

The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in the UK, employing approximately 4.5 million people. However, maintaining this status may not be easy, especially in the next year. In 2017 just over half of the industry’s workers (53%) were British. With the staff shortages anticipated due to Brexit, this statistic is concerning when you consider that the hospitality sector is anticipated to need to recruit 1.3 million workers by 2024. 

Both staff retention and recruitment are just some of the challenges facing the hospitality sector over the coming years, and for an industry that has historically relied upon non-British workers for its success, it is not surprising that 1 in 5 managers have reported a higher level of difficulty in recruiting staff in the last 12 months. In fact, 16% of businesses do not believe that they will fulfill staffing requirements with British workers by next year.

While the statistics paint a relatively bleak picture, there are proactive steps that HR managers and employers can take in order to retain and attract talent. HR policies and strategies that take into account a variety of wellbeing initiatives have been shown to not only have a positive impact on the health and happiness of employees, but also a correlation on the quality of service that hotels and restaurants provide to their customers.


Mental health in the hospitality sector

It is reported that 70% of British hospitality workers feel overworked, and 45% will take time off due to stress at some point in their career. With a persistent narrative surrounding stress and stress-related illnesses that it’s all “part of the job," it can become difficult to change the stigma surrounding mental health struggles brought on by working conditions - particularly when workers simply learn to live with issues such as:

Fatigue: There are a number of causes for fatigue, particularly in businesses where night work is often mandatory, such as hotels. It is widely known that when circadian rhythms are interrupted, sleep during the day becomes extremely difficult. 

Furthermore, even in circumstances where night work is not required, long days and physical labour are a feature of many hospitality sectors, which only increases fatigue when adequate rest isn’t given.  

Anxiety: In an industry in which pay is often hourly, the fear of financial repercussions from injuries and sick leave can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. 

Additionally, the daily expectation of potentially dealing with customers who may conduct themselves with rudeness or arrogance can also be a contributing factor to stress for a number of employees.

Depression: A recent study by the Centre for Psychological Research at the University of Derby, suggests that depression amongst hospitality workers can be influenced by a lack of motivation in the workplace, or what they refer to as ‘external motivation.' 

In other words, the motivation to work comes not from personal or ‘internal’ interest in the task, but external influences such as “I need to earn money”. This disconnect can not only impact the mental wellbeing of staff, but can also contribute to decreased productivity, absenteeism and high employee turnover. 


Effective communication is often the first step

Tackling the complexities of mental health undoubtedly requires effective communication between both employer and employee. However a recent study revealed that 44% of UK hospitality workers would not come to a colleague if they felt they had a mental health problem, and in the case of absenteeism, 38% of workers were afraid to tell their boss that stress and/or mental health was their reason for time taken off work. 

Perhaps more surprising is that 90% of hospitality workers believe that being prone to stress and anxiety would affect or hinder their career progression, and 40% believed it was their personal responsibility to deal with any work-related stress or mental health problems. In the most extreme cases, staff members who came forward with serious mental health complaints have, at times, been met with the insinuation that they should resign for the good of the company. 

While society, the media and organizations have done much to tackle the stigma of mental health, there are still concerns that by being open about the challenges we all face from time to time, there is still the possibility that it can seriously impact our career and long term financial security.

Creating an environment in which communication between management and staff is actively encouraged is therefore vital for a healthy workplace. Motivating staff to come forward in a secure environment where they feel comfortable to express their views, requests and grievances creates an environment in which workers feel valued, and are better equipped to perform their roles. 


The link between physical and mental health

Hospitality is often linked with physical work, including walking long distances, running and carrying in all sorts of conditions. Although the nature of this sort of work cannot be changed, it is important to ensure your staff are physically healthy. For example:

  • Frequent wellness checks not only provide employees with an insight into their own health,  but allows employers to take proactive steps in order to minimize the risk of absences from work through ill-health.
  • Try to ensure that staff take adequate breaks at the appropriate times, and finding cover for the remaining staff, even during peak times.
  • If you provide free meals to employees (particularly pertinent in the restaurant sector) try to provide healthy options in order to maintain high levels of performance, productivity and wellbeing.
  • Provide adequate equipment and uniform for your staff members for all weather conditions so that they are as comfortable and as safe as possible.
  • Providing out of work activities can encourage staff members to lead a healthy lifestyle, while also fostering a sense of unity and team spirit. This might include access to a gym (if available on site), team sports, regular group meditation and/or yoga sessions. 


Support and Respect

The psychological effects (https://click.booking.com/features/2018/06/12/prioritising-staff-welfare-hospitality/) of dealing with rude or even discriminatory customers are just some of the challenges faced by employees within the hospitality industry. We’ve all heard the axiom “the customer is always right” and in such a competitive market, it is understandable that companies are highly motivated by customer opinion, and the effect this can have on profits and brand reputation.

As a result there can be a disproportionately high value placed on customers, as opposed to the opinions of staff that are responsible for serving them. However what’s more difficult to quantify is the impact that unhappy employees can have on the overall success of a business, particularly when they feel unsupported. 

Unfortunately, 52.2% of hospitality workers have actually considered leaving their place of work due to a lack of support. The constant pressure from managers on their staff to maintain the outward appearance of happiness in the face of all kinds of customer attitudes, increases the feeling of discontent and the lack of a support structure. 

However, there are a variety of policies and procedures that if correctly implemented, can ensure that both employers and employees can benefit from an environment that fosters mutual support and respect.

One of the easiest ways to encourage support is through the standardization of procedures concerning customer complaints. By ensuring every member of staff adheres to uniformed company protocols, this can reduce any ambiguity on how a particular situation should be dealt with. This in turn can minimize staff members from feeling undermined by managers in situations that could be deemed subjective. 

Creating staff incentives and rewards can also be a great way to engage staff members, increase productivity, and ease any interpersonal tensions at work. By encouraging cooperation where employees work towards a common goal, tensions can gradually be eased through collaboration and teamwork. 


Wellbeing isn’t just a legal duty

Employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means that they should take steps in order to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. However tackling mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress, should not be simply considered as a legal duty; it can be a key factor in building trust between staff and management, reinforcing an organization’s commitment to its employees.

It’s not always easy however, and often requires advice, guidance or training from individuals qualified to deal with complex and often serious issues. In circumstances where you may not have the resources or experience to deal with mental health conditions, it may be advisable to seek external help to ensure your staff have the appropriate level of support they need.

For many, particularly young people about to enter the workplace for the first time, the fast-paced and emotionally-charged environments produced by some hospitality sectors can create a negative stigma surrounding these types of industries. As a result, a growing number of people have decided against a career in hospitality. As society becomes increasingly concerned with the effects of mental health, it seems that a greater understanding of what wellbeing in the workplace truly means may be the key to meeting the growing need for hospitality staff.

Pam LochPam Loch is a writer interested in both physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. Her interests have led her to become the Managing Director of Loch Associates Group, who are experts in Employment Law, HR Management and Health & Safety. She works with both employers and staff to ensure wellbeing in the workplace.

Tags:  emotional wellness  hospitality  occupational wellness  resilience  stress 

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Improved Mental Health Is 2019's Top Resolution for Active Exercisers, Life Time Survey Says

Posted By Anthony Dominic, Friday, February 8, 2019
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2019

The survey reported that regular exercise makes people feel healthiest.

More than half of active exercisers wish to improve their overall well-being and mental health as their New Year's resolution, according to a recent survey issued by Life Time, Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Approximately 57 percent of survey respondents said their New Year’s resolution is to improve their overall well-being and mental health. This compares to 46 percent who said they want to lose weight and eat healthier. The survey polled 1,300 Life Time club members of all ages across 35 cities as part of the company's Jan. 1 Commitment Day initiative, encouraging exercisers to stick to their heath-related goals throughout 2019.

The majority of respondents said family time makes them most happy (63 percent), followed by exercise, particularly yoga (57 percent). Comparatively, intimacy (23 percent) and eating (22 percent) ranked lower in terms of their influence on one's happiness.

The survey reported that regular exercise makes people feel healthiest (76 percent), as well as eating healthy (48 percent) and having balanced professional-personal lives (26 percent).

Almost all respondents said people should exercise at least three times per week to be healthy (94 percent) with a significant number of respondents suggesting people should ideally exercise four or more times per week (56 percent). The survey noted that less than 23 percent of Americans actually meet recommended exercise standards, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On the topic of stress, half of respondents said that work is their biggest stressor (50 percent), followed by family (35 percent), finances (30 percent) and politics (22 percent). Respondents also said that cardio exercise (46 percent), group fitness (36 percent) and yoga (34 percent) are reliable stress-relievers.

Life Time has hosted Commitment Day since 2013, according to the media release. On Jan. 1, 2019, all 141 North American Life Time locations offered free exercise classes in addition to a five-kilometer run at select locations.

Anthony Dominic is the Content Producer for Club Industry. Anthony joined Club Industry in September 2016 and covers fitness industry news, in addition to administering the brand’s e-newsletters, social media and sponsored content. Anthony previously worked as an assistant editor at Dispatch Magazines in Columbus, Ohio, where he earned an Excellence in Journalism Award from The Press Club of Cleveland for feature writing. He also won numerous grants and accolades during his tenure as editor-in-chief of The Burr, Kent State University’s student magazine, including a William Randolph Hearst Award. In 2015, Anthony was published in “Car Bombs to Cookie Tables,” Belt Publishing's fifth narrative nonfiction anthology about the storied Rust Belt city of Youngstown, Ohio—located just north of where Anthony grew up. Anthony is an avid follower of boxing and basketball, and spends much of his time reading, writing, climbing and mountaineering. To contact : anthony.dominic@clubindustry.com


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I Skipped My Step Aerobics Class Today

Posted By Lisa Medley, Friday, February 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Instead of going to class, I went back to bed.

I didn't feel like it.

I wasn't beating up on myself for not going.
I wasn't judging myself for being "lazy."
I wasn't shoulding on myself. 

I usually go to a step aerobics class (yes, it still exists!) on Tuesday mornings. I love it! I get to sweat from every pore of my body, my brain gets to work out too as it is keeping up with the choreography of steps, and I don't have to create anything; I just show up and do what the teacher tells me to do.

This morning however, I checked in with my body and my energy and wasn't feeling it. This kind of class takes at least 75% energy in the tank and I didn't have it. I had worked on a deadline driven project over the weekend — not my norm, and it happens sometimes — with a headache that comes on from time to time (ladies, you know what I mean), and was needing to slap on a quasi-sunny "good morning!" to my son as I shuffle around getting him off to the bus stop in 17 degree weather.

Instead of going to class, I went back to bed. I asked my body what it FELT like doing and that was the reply. I have been practicing being kind to my body long enough that I can trust that when I listen to its needs and respond, I feel better. I don't have to "figure it out" or think my way though feeling better; I FEEL my way to feeling better. 

My body tells me the truth of my internal experience. Without should’s, shame, or pressure to meet impossible expectations from the outside world.

Your body does too. Imagine the freedom of tuning into your internal state and having your inner voice be enough. Embodying the truth that YOU ARE ENOUGH.

How are you FEELING in this very moment? What does your body need to feel good, even better? Even an incremental step, an eye dropper amount of action, a micro movement

Without the need to please anybody except yourself.
Without the guilt of so-called "selfish."
Without the external have to's.

With full on permission.
For your body.
For your life.
For your best self.

Let me know how it goes!

Liberate Your Light,
Lisa Medley

Lisa MedleyLisa Medley, MA serves as a Wellbeing and Body Intelligence Expert. She supports her clients to cultivate positive relationships with their body for sustainable inside-out wellbeing. Lisa believes in reintegrating the body and its wisdom to support the evolution of our divine human potential. Learn more at SoulisticArts.com. Check out her new Instagram page as well: @soulisticarts.

Tags:  boundaries  emotional agility  emotional intelligence  emotional wellness  Lisa Medley  resilience  spiritual wellness 

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