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Wellness Without Borders: A roundtable discussion at the Tourism Naturally Conference 2019

Posted By Louise Buxton and Dr. Charles Spring, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Louise Buxton (VP NWI UK) and Dr Charles Spring (Secretary NWI UK)
Senior Lecturers in Spa and Wellness Management, University of Derby, United Kingdom


Wellness Without BordersThe third annual Tourism Naturally Conference took place in Buxton, United Kingdom (UK) on the 4th to 6th of June 2019, bringing together over one hundred delegates from thirty countries.  Surrounded by the Peak District National Park, Buxton a leading spa town, provided an ideal backdrop for conversations regarding the conference’s key themes of tourism, health, wellbeing and sustainability.  

Within the conference, a roundtable discussion was facilitated by Dr Charles Spring and Louise Buxton, both Senior Lecturers in Spa and Wellness Management at the University of Derby, that brought together people with an interest in wellness from around the globe.  The discussion was attended by National Wellness Institute members Chris Andrews (UK Representative NWI International Standing Committee, President NWI UK) and John Brazier (Treasurer NWI UK), as well as delegates from countries including: Austria, Finland, France, Greece, Lithuania, Spain, UK and the United States of America.  The session aimed to share cross-cultural experiences with the concept of wellness and allow participants to explore wellness challenges and opportunities from a range of contexts.  Furthermore, the session provided opportunities for participants to make connections and develop understandings relevant to the wellness industry. 

Following introductions from the delegates, the first question posed was “What is difference between wellness and wellbeing?”.  This led to an interesting debate about the origin of both terms, their use of academic and marketing literature and how they can mean different things in different contexts.   Delegates were then asked what opportunities they foresaw in relation to wellness and many people talked about the fantastic opportunities practitioners and businesses are given has increased recognition of wellness globally.  Challenges in relation to wellness were also discussed and these ranged from: the red tape faced in many countries for simple wellness activities, such as taking children to forest schools, to the dichotomy of the use of technology and its potential positive and negative impacts on wellbeing.  The session concluded by asking delegates what they would like from a formal wellness network and the word cloud below shows the responses received, with collaboration being the overarching theme. 

The next Tourism Naturally Conference is planned for May 2020 and will take place in Bavaria, Germany. To find out more please visit the Tourism Naturally Conference website. or contact Louise Buxton l.c.buxton@derby.ac.uk or Dr Charles Spring c.spring@derby.ac.uk


Louise BuxtonLouise Buxton: Senior Lecturer in Spa and Wellness Management, University of Derby UK; Vice- President NWI UK
Starting her career as a beauty therapist, Louise went on to study management, education and coaching, and mentoring at university.  Louise is currently studying for a PhD exploring the factors which contribute to memorable guest experiences in destination spas. Louise led the team who validated the first degree in Wellness Management in the UK.  In all aspects of her work, Louise has a passion for lifelong learning and helping people to reach their full potential.  
 
Dr. Charles SpringDr Charles Spring: Senior Lecturer in spa and Wellness Management, University of Derby, UK; Secretary NWI UK
Charles’ research has recently been focussed in the area of wellness around the area of physical activity and especially using interventions with people with varying degrees of ability. Current lecturing duties in spa and wellness management include specialisms in management areas around business development and entrepreneurship and contemporary issues within the discipline area. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Tags:  Health  International Wellness  Sustainability  Tourism  Wellbeing 

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Systemic Regulation: A new understanding of the Wellness Approach applied to organizations

Posted By Ferroudja Meghenem, Friday, May 17, 2019
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2019

Systemic regulation has been widely used in the medical sector where it means the entire network of pathways by which the various systems of the body interact in order to allow an organism to live, move, and remain healthy.

It is also the term selected and used by the French company Wellness Values to address and explain the primary intended benefit of wellness approaches deployed within organizations.

 

Wellness model, individuals and organizations

In 1976, Dr Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute (NWI) developed the wellness model based on six dimensions (Occupational, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, Spiritual, Physical).

Seeking an appropriate balance between the multiple dimensions.Individuals are always seeking an appropriate balance between the multiple dimensions because each dimension contributes to individuals’ fulfilment. The importance attached to any one dimension depends on context and individual characteristics (identity, personal experiences and interests, culture etc.).

Through this Wellness model, individuals become aware of the interconnectedness of each dimension and are more likely to make some beneficial decisions to serve their health and well-being.

While this wellness model was contextualized for individuals, it can also be relevant to organizations:

  • Individuals want to achieve a certain level of fulfilment with respect to a given context;
  • Organizations which are "Wellness oriented” want to foster a culture of health, promote healthy behaviors in the workplace and support employees towards a common goal of achieving a healthier lifestyle. This will have a positive impact on the teams, which will in turn contribute to the development of the organization (growth, customer experiences, etc.)

However, regarding organizations, wellness should be addressed as part of a rigorous approach which considers the particular features of the organization (activities, culture, etc.) and the complexities of dealing with human beings and human relations within organizations. 

 

Appreciate the complexities of organizations

Research conducted by theorists from the Palo Alto group, suggest organization to be considered as a system composed of individuals which interact with each other; they have some form of hierarchy and their personal logic is sometimes contradictory.

Appreciate the complexities of organizationsThe system (the organization) evolves in a "change” environment composed of other actors (customers, competitors, etc.), and constraints (market, policies, etc.).

This means human systems are very complex by nature, and complexity mainly results from the multiple interactions which might exist between the different actors; a change to one component of the organization can have an immediate effect on another component.

 

Wellness approach and systemic regulation

Immediate and significant impacts on the behavior of team members.So, it is clear that if we implement a wellness approach at a strategic level of the organization (for instance, Managers), this can have immediate and significant impacts on the behavior of team members. In particular, we might find that team members work in a more serene atmosphere, and as a team achieve greater productivity (collective efficiency improvement).

Within the human body all components cooperate in one individual’s life. Within the human body all components cooperate in one individual’s life. Physiological mechanisms come into play in order to coordinate their functions, so that they meet the whole body’s needs at any time. This is what is termed "systemic regulation”.

The business case analogy here is that systemic regulation of the implementation of a wellness approach in an organization contributes to the dynamic achievement of the organization’s strategic and business objectives (organization’s needs). 


Ferroudja MeghenemFerroudja Meghenem, CEO of WELLNESS VALUES, is an Engineer of the highly reputed “Ecole Nationale des Mines” (France), who started her career in audit and consulting, advising groups for several years. She founded F@ME Days®, a wellness and fashion event concept, and also founded the company WELLNESS VALUES, a strategic consulting firm specializing in wellness, which assists companies to define and implement a wellness approach within their organization.


Tags:  International Wellness  Systemic Regulation 

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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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GoW3 — What it was all about!

Posted By Chris Andrews, MD, Friday, February 8, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Chris Andrews, MD - Personal Touch Fitness (PTF), UK Representative NWI International Standing Committee 


NWI International Standing Committee Czech Republic representative Jana Stara developed the ‘Game of Wellness Training Program’ in conjunction with her PhD studies (stara.jana@gmail.com). ‘Game of Wellness’ is an E+ training course which combines wellness ideas and strategies with gamification, a principle that makes wellness more engaging and fun than necessary daily routine.

The third Game of Wellness training program (GoW3), which I attended, was held in Brno, Czech Republic, December 8-16, 2018 - previous programs were held December 2016 & July 2017. Participants in GoW3 were invited from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom — it is planned to include Scotland and Iran in future editions of the training.

The Essence of GoW

Training Program

Over the 8 days delegates participated in games, storytelling, WellnessWheel, learning, sharing, laughing, teamwork, spa time and vegetarian dining. All in the name of Wellness.

After lunch and networking, the afternoon program varied each day.We explored the concept of “wellness” as a state of complete physical, mental, social & spiritual wellbeing and introduced practical & fun tools, games, strategies to promote holistic health and personal development. 

Each day had a set plan, but as the week went by it could be tailored to the participants needs.

We had an early Morning Wake up session each day — yoga, massage, run, walk, HIIT, Tabata, mediation, dance – followed by breakfast and networking before the morning sessions Share & Care (cleaning spaces, media, group work, time to self) and Wellness Walk, Games, Energizers and group work.

After lunch and networking, the afternoon program varied each day — Games Gratification, Wellness Wheel, Lecture by Michael George, Roma Museum visit, Wellness in Communities and presentations by participants.

Before dinner and networking we had space for a reflection on the day — how are you feeling? what do you need? — with open discussion.

All participants went away to continue on their Wellness journey incorporating Wellness Wheel, Games Gratification, Storytelling and personal growth into their work, life and communities.

Each day had a set plan, but as the week went by it could be tailored to the participants needs.

Participant feedback

Before the course I believed that Wellness was how you feel in each moment and you cannot change it, but now I think that Wellness is your own lifestyle and you can design it and transform it according to your preferences. Furthermore, now I have the idea of what Wellness consists of, I have more knowledge of this area and now I have the power to enhance my capacity of self-realization.

Moreover, I’m a little more patient and confident, because I have learnt that small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results and everything works better when you let things flow.


Chris AndrewsChris Andrews, MD is a 1993 graduate in the Health Promotion & Wellness program at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point (UWSP) and current UK Representative NWI International Standing Committee. Determined to spread her wings, grow, learn, and be challenged she set out to do her Internship abroad. She went to the UK in November 1993, did her Internship and stayed. Now, mother of two, wife, and MD. She is involved in many local events at the tennis & rowing club, church, and schools on different levels. Personal Touch Fitness has grown organically over 18 years and has worked with all sectors to help with their Wellbeing program. Chris prides herself in her passion, enthusiasm and expertise in providing fitness services in environments which is extended through the company values, ethos and to the employees. Chris enjoys hosting UWSP interns to the UK and sharing her knowledge. She finds the students engaging and they find it a wonderful hands on learning experience. Her energy inspires students and people of all ages. Chris loves making a ripple into a wave.


Tags:  Chris Andrews  International Wellness  physical wellness 

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Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching makes its inroads in India for Lifestyle Disease management, prevention and wellbeing.

Posted By Preeti Rao, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

To truly live a life without disease and fear, one must aspire to achieve perfect health in mind, body, and spirit. This is a cherished belief of many of the Indian population. However, today we try to race ahead of the clock, we are under the constant stress of trying to achieve more and bigger things. The aspiration to acquire things never ends, and it seems like one endless battle for more and more and more! We have forgotten what our scriptures have taught us! If our ancestors were alive today, what advice would they give us to recover from our constant battle with disease and stress?

In Sushruta Samita (Ayurvedic compilation), a healthy person is defined as:“Sama Dosha Sama Agni Cha Sama Dhatu Mala Kriya I Prasanna Atma Indriya Manaha Swastha Thi II” Hence a person is in the state of perfect health when all the Doshas (various energies that govern all the functions of the body — Vata, Pitta and Khapha) are in balance. The mind is blissful and happy and our senses are in control.

Health and Wellness Coaching aims at providing consciousness of self — becoming self-aware of how an individual can become the controller of his/her life. This involves regarding self as a component which is not just defined by the physical self, but rather an amalgam of components like nutrition, exercise, spirit, recreation, social belongingness, stress, and emotions. Coaching as an approach will help individuals achieve the perfect health that is perfect according to them.

It is now believed that many diseases — high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, overweight, chronic fatigue, depression, burnt-out syndrome, and psychiatric illness —manifest from the mind. The art of getting over the mindless chatter or developing the skills required to have control over the emotions or thoughts that cause this chatter is what coaching proposes to offer.

Swami Sivananda rightly said, “A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” There has been significant scientific research which directs us to this fact. For instance, ulcers happen to people who are compulsive and obsessive in nature. Impotence and sexual problems are almost always due to performance anxiety, and accidents happen most often to people who are habitually prone to them because they are absent-minded. One must thus conclude that if we could control our minds or be aware of our thoughts or thinking patterns, we can change our overall wellbeing.

 

“Thinking of disease constantly will intensify it. People should aim to feel always that ‘I am healthy in body and mind’.”

Swami Sivananda

 

Coaching works through an understanding of the underlying thoughts and perceptions that govern us, and taking effective actions towards an attempt to shift individual mindsets from negative to positive. Coaches help to interconnect and relate the inner self to the outer self by creating a vision that pushes one to take action to move forward on the path that has been created by self to reach goals driven by intrinsic motivation.

This holistic approach to wellbeing is truly the need of the hour. Health and Wellness Coaching finds it inroads in the Wellness Landscape in India today. The industry and general population is waking up to the need of an integrated approach to wellbeing and lifestyle disease management and prevention. In the last two months, I had the opportunity to speak at and attend many conferences focused on Healthcare. While there was a lot of focus on artificial intelligence and digitizing healthcare, a new wave is emerging of industry thought leaders who are beginning to understand and bring to focus the need for sustainable lifestyle habit change. Corporations, insurance companies, and hospitals are beginning to realize the impact health and wellness coaching can have on individual health outcomes and quality of life. I believe the year 2019 will see this trend cement itself in programs that keep in focus all the dimensions of wellness as defined by the National Wellness Institute

While the wellness industry begins its awakening, the grim realities are that there aren’t many credible health and wellness coaches in the Indian market. The market perceives a nutritionist, dietician, or a fitness trainer as a health coach because there is a lack of understanding of who really is a health and wellness coach. For the last two years, Weljii, an evidence-based coaching provider, in collaboration with California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, has conducted six certificate programs that meet all the standards put forth by the International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches, USA. Unlike in the West, it’s fascinating to see many medical doctors embrace this program. Today, (70-80)% of all hospital visits in India are due to lifestyle diseases. This provides an incentive for many doctors to take up this program to assist their patients in lifestyle modifications, something their formal training does not cover. Many graduates of this program are now developing their own unique models. 

Weljii is continously expanding its team of coaches to service the market needs. In the last 3-4 years, much effort has been contributed to create awareness and educate the Indian market on this evidenced-based approach to health and wellbeing. Weljii today is the National Wellness Coach Partner for Reliance Jio (a leading telecom company consisting of 100 million subscribers), Aspire (a leading concierge company), SBI Elite (A leading Bank) and Max Hospitals (a leading super speciality hospital). This is just a beginning. It is anticipated that a new wave of energy will transform into an ocean of wellbeing harnessed by integrative wellbeing and wellness coaching, while continuing to provide quality education for talent and skill creation. Welcome 2019!


Preeti RaoAfter ten years in the corporate world, Preeti Rao decided to pursue her passion for spreading wellness by graduating with a master’s degree in Integrative Health from CIIS in the United States. She is a certified wellness coach, yoga teacher, group exercise specialist, personal trainer, and business consultant whose mission is to provide health and wellness services that encourage self-care and self-responsibility in mind, body, and spirit through a range of integrated health modalities in India.


Tags:  Coaching  holistic health  Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching  International Wellness  Preeti Rao  wellness 

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Exploring the Health and Productivity Link in Chilean Companies

Posted By Volney Vásquez Henríquez, Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Volney Vásquez Henríquez  - Professor of Physical Education, Universidad de Chile


The concept of "productivity improvement" is fashionable in Chile. We urgently need as an emerging economy to improve our performance and productive levels by making better use of the available resources. In order to protect that improvement, two National Productivity Commissions have been created under the auspices of our government. We have had the fortune to talk to government officials from both Commissions in order to explain and discuss our vision that the health and well-being of people play a very important role in labor productivity. We have found that the many issues both Commissions will be dealing with are the use of new technologies, innovation, technical training of human resources, and inclusion of young people, old people and women in the labor world, among others. However the issue of the health of people has not been brought forward as yet. This certainly opens the possibility of contributing our knowledge and experience for the generation of future related public policies.

Promondo, the Chilean company I am a Director of, this year celebrates 28 years in the sector of health promotion in the workplace. Over those years ourselves and Promondo have had to evolve, looking for new methods that allow us to continue growing and delivering integrated qualified wellness programs. One way we have done that is, a couple of years ago, we entered into a strategic relationship with the American company Health Improvement Solutions (HIS) located in Omaha, Nebraska. HIS is directed by Joe Leutzinger a specialist with more than 30 years experience investigating the relationship between health and productivity in companies all over the world. From this alliance we have introduced in some national companies a survey that allows us to evaluate how much the poor health of their workers costs them by measuring absenteeism and presenteeism. Some of the companies that we have worked with and implemented this instrument, have already taken action to try to reduce the costs that were identified.

Specifically, we have created a study laboratory with a Chilean company of 350 workers based in the city of Santiago. The results from the Productivity Plus Survey (PPS), informed the development of an intervention program involving implementing improvements in nutritional programs, programs of physical exercise, care of musculoskeletal pathologies, treatments for better sleep, reduction of work shifts, plans of prevention of risks and safety at work, salary improvements, dynamics of approach between workers and management (psychosocial risk), psychological support for workers and family, and treatments for addictions. This company measures the productivity of its employees, shares this information with us, allowing us to monitor our work and review the program continuously. This formula seems to be the ideal one.

After almost 2 years, productivity improvements have been evident and sharing the analysis with the top executives of the company, they have declared Promondo to be a strategic partner of theirs. It seems to me that this is the only way that can make us win the confidence of the entrepreneurs and make our value proposition truly interesting. Otherwise we run the risk of continuing to deliver outdated services that at any moment can become dispensable.

We have shared all accumulated data and experiences with the aforementioned National Productivity Commissions in order to continue to add validated metrics and data to their resources. The Commission’s specialists in economics are assisting us to acquire the most relevant and valuable information for them. We are pleased to be a contributor and our hope is that our proposals are imitated by the entire business sector. Our goal for the next 2 years is to add more companies to our study laboratory in order to be able to demonstrate that healthy workers are more productive and efficient, and that any investment in Health and Labor Welfare can bring significant returns.

If all goes well, all levels of our society will benefit greatly from this: the key will be to identify the tasks of each - the State, workers, entrepreneurs and service providers.

Perhaps this issue is not new for countries where progress has been made in studies and research on health and labor productivity for years. But for us in Chile it represents a new area of interest and we do not want to miss the opportunity to highlight it. The challenge that comes before us seems to be very challenging but exciting. I hope to tell you about our progress in the near future.


 Volney Vásquez Henríquez is the President and CEO of Promondo Corporate Wellness, Professor of Physical Education, Universidad de Chile, Master in Sport Management, Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Chile, Diploma in Sports Management, Havana, Cuba, International Cycling Coach, 3 years of work in European professional cycling (1987-1989), 30 years directing programs of Wellness and Health Promotion in more than 50 Chilean companies; international certificate in Health Promotion and Wellness coaching; member of the Glimmer Initiative, U.S.A. 2015.Organizer of 7 editions of the International Forum of Corporate Health, Santiago de Chile (2008-2015), Co-author of the book "Global Perspectives in Health Promotion", IIHP, Washington D.C., 2013.


Tags:  Chile  intellectual wellness  International Wellness  occupational wellness  productivity  Volney Vásquez Henríquez 

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Positive Coping Behaviour Reinforces Employee Productivity

Posted By Dr Dicky Els and Terrance M. Booysen, Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Dr Dicky Els and Terrance M. Booysen  |  Johannesburg, South Africa



In a globalised economy excesses and imbalances in one part of the world inevitably affects the economies of another, and this is typically played out between developed and developing countries.  With the accelerated pace of global development, expectedly there is a knock-on implication to increased business risk through aggressive competition, and more pressure on increasing profit margins. It’s therefore not surprising then to see — at a global level — how executives are forced to re-evaluate, redesign, and sometimes shrink their trading operations in the face of tougher regulatory requirements, exacerbated by revenue declines and higher cost pressures. Organisations are operating in turbulent markets and they have to constantly adapt to increasing business uncertainty and changing circumstances, locally and abroad. Accordingly, the challenge (or the threat) to many business executives may be found in the way they react to severe economic stressors. 

Two of the BRICS countries — namely Russia and Brazil — are in recession, while the South African economy performs below market expectations. Figures released by Statistics South Africa showed that the government, transport, and retail sectors had grown while agriculture, mining, and manufacturing declined in the second quarter of 2015. Compounding matters yet further, the South African mining and manufacturing sectors have announced more plans to cut thousands of jobs.  As the national economy continues to struggle, many organisations are battling to survive, and the effect has a direct and negative impact on the psychological (and ultimately physical) well-being of the nation’s workforce. 

With increased organisational complexities, including the demands placed upon the workforce, there are many factors which could negatively impact the well-being of employees. Increasingly employees are confronted with more unpredictable work-related challenges, whilst their dwindling personal coping mechanisms and organisational support is not nearly enough to help them deal with the stress they are experiencing. Clearly, in order to maintain a positive, healthy, and productive workforce, employers need to deal with those negative factors, all which if left unchecked, will continue to undermine workplace wellness and exacerbate personal stress.     

 

Invest in positive behaviour 

Employee wellness programmes should deliver more than just health awareness. Stronger emphasis should be placed on positive coping and stress management behaviour that enables employees and the organisation — as a collective — to be more resilient. Well-designed programmes employ strengths-based development processes to reinforce and broaden the response repertoire for employees. Individuals that expend effort to build their talents, competence, and skills are able to gain far more as opposed to those who spend a comparable amount of effort to remediate their weaknesses. As such, organisations should focus on effective talent management which leverages employee wellness programmes to promote a positive, productive, and resilient workforce.  

Employee wellness programmes that promote positive thought, feeling, and behaviour patterns are generally more effective in the long run, and deliver a bigger return on the ‘investment’ because they unleash the psychological capital of their workforce. At the core of these employee wellness programmes is the development of personal competencies that not only buffers the employee, but is also known to transform work-related stress. These programmes are founded on positive organisational virtuousness and a culture of wellness and proactive strengths-based processes that promote transformational coping strategies.

Regardless of whether or not the workplace is known to have various challenges, best practice employee wellness programmes are most often the basis for developing individual strengths that empower employees to flourish. Organisations that utilise employee wellness programmes usually see employee health risks and workforce demands as opportunities and not as threats, harm, or loss. They invest in — and develop — positive organisational behaviour characterised by high levels of self-efficacy, meaningfulness, happiness, optimism, hope, and resilience that results in a committed, open-minded, and connected workforce.  For them psychological competence is strengthened through positive learning experiences, proactive goal setting, problem-focused solutions, and voluntary employee engagement. Typical employee wellness programmes that make use of strength-based interventions incorporate physical and psychological constructs to promote employee health, including positive and appreciative behaviour.    

 

Employees’ responsibility 

Employee wellness programmes intend to promote a positive employer-employee relationship, job satisfaction, positive experiences at work, and a thriving workforce. But to get this working, it is ultimately the responsibility of the employee. Employees have the free will to choose their coping responses. Some employees may choose to unwind from stress with positive coping behaviour, or they may enjoy a short-term — and sometimes dysfunctional — solution by abusing alcohol, medication, tobacco, and drugs. Expectedly, the positive effects that healthy eating, physical activity, realistic beliefs, and positive workplace experiences have on the reduction of stress and on health promotion are clear. The main difference between resilient employees and those that fall into substance abuse lies in the individuals’ behavioural capacities. Employees differ in how well they perceive, express, understand, and deal with stressors in the context in which it occurs. Those who cope positively tend to have more positive attitudes, better coping mechanisms, less perceived stress, and a better quality of life. It is attributed to their combined internal and external resources which they actively manage with cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioural coping strategies.  

One of the most exciting features of our cognitive ability is how it can enable us to stand ‘outside’ ourselves and observe our own thinking. It is our thinking that creates powerful electromagnetic and chemical signals — for better or worse — that offset an organised set of emotional and physical reactions. It begins with a thought, which suggests that it is our thinking that puts us in a positive proactive or a negative reactive coping strategy. Employees that cope well with stress are generally reflective in their thinking process and they tend to observe, review, and re-appraise their own thoughts, emotions, and actions (and if need be they adapt accordingly). These employees understand that they have free will and internal control over what they choose to think about and dwell on.  Positive cognition utilises positive attitudes — trusting instincts, wisdom, self-insight, optimism, sense of responsibility, creativity, and openness to continuously reframe and counter work-related stress.  

Interestingly, positive emotions that promote positive coping behaviour are consciously accessible as long lasting feelings and are often free flowing. Such positive coping manifests not only as positive emotions, but also includes physical sensations, moods, and attitudes. When employers cultivate positive experiences at work, they enlist positive emotions and workplace resilience is strengthened for their employees. This cultivation of positive experiences builds employees’ positive coping resources in order to distinguish between good and bad emotional responses. Moreover, positive emotions also expand and strengthen the capacity of employees to effectively acknowledge and express their own emotions, as well as maturely respond to that of their co-workers. 

As compared to positive emotions, positive social experiences are underpinned by friendship, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, and dignity; all of which reinforce positive social interactions in the workplace and amongst the employees. Understandably, interpersonal workplace relationships will flourish when they involve employees who enjoy a cohesive, fulfilling, and enjoyable business relationship with their peers. Co-workers who share the same wellness objectives — whether it is to get fit, stop smoking, manage stress, or reduce blood sugar levels — often share the same interpersonal values. When employees enjoy a mutual respect and trust with each other, positive social support is usually enabled, and this gives rise to a greater and more positive social coping behaviour. Accordingly, high quality workplace relationships usually incubate a climate for interpersonal acceptance and inclusion that is in turn generally associated with effective coping mechanisms, longevity, stronger immune systems, and lower blood pressure. Research by Gallup, Inc., found that social interaction and quality relationships have a compounding effect on wellness.  The research found that people who have three close friendships are healthier, have higher well-being, and are more engaged in their work, while the absence of close friendships leads to boredom, loneliness, and depression. Interestingly, those employees who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged, and less likely to get injured on the job (Well-being, The Five Essential Elements, T. Rath & J. Harter, 2010).  

 

Conclusion

It may be true that organisations are becoming more aware of the benefits of employee wellness programmes, however many organisations still tend to focus only on disease management rather than on integrated health and wellness aspects. More than ever, employee wellness programmes should apply strength-based interventions that develop the positive coping capability and psychological competence of workers. Through the application of employee wellness programmes, organisations can create the ideal working conditions for employees to enhance their quality of life and allow them to achieve their fullest potential. Indeed, resilient employees are a critical asset to have, especially during financially stressful times.   

Employees should be encouraged and supported to develop their cognitive, emotional, and social talents to strengthen and expand positive coping behaviour. Research and case studies prove that employees who display positive coping behaviour generally perform better at work and are more engaged in wellness programmes. These employees also tend to deal with organisational change and personal stress far better than those without positive coping capabilities. 

In respect of an organisation’s human capital, in order for it to claim that it is wholly functional, we believe each organisation must evaluate its employee wellness programmes, focussing upon their progress and their group wellness indicators and business results. Expectedly, these indicators and measurable results must be made known not only to the employees themselves, but also to the organisation’s extended stakeholders. This information is usually articulated in the organisation’s annual Integrated Report and enhances the stakeholders’ understanding of the organisation’s risk profile.  


Dr. Dicky ElsDr Dicky Els is a Lead Independent Consultant in CGF. He specialises in Workplace Wellness and focuses predominantly on strategy development, programme design, and evaluation of outcome-based health promotion programmes. Dr. Els also regularly presents Positive Coping Behaviour Training as in-house wellness interventions. For more information on the Employee Wellness Programme Evaluation or Wellness and Disease Management Audits, contact Dr. Els directly at 082 4967960, email dicky@bewell.org.za, or go to wellnessprogramevaluation.com 

Terrance M. BooysenTerrance M. Booysen, the CEO of CGF has presented numerous interventions to public and private audiences in and out of South Africa and has received many accolades directly linked with corporate governance. He is a regular podium presenter and is considered knowledgeable in the practice, having produced many governance, risk and compliance reports and articles over the years. More information regarding CGF can be found at www.cgf.co.za


Tags:  coping  Dr Dicky Els  emotional wellness  intellectual wellness  International Wellness  mental health  occupational wellness  South Africa  Terrance M. Booysen 

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Triathlon and The Wellness Wheel

Posted By Jim Efthimiou, Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Jim Efthimiou NWIA newsletter editor Australia


Life may seem overwhelming at times, especially in today’s hyperconnected world wide web of ubiquitous "social" media contending how to live the "ideal life." Technology’s promising panacea of progress with cultural connection has seemingly sewn the seeds of social disconnection and personal distraction. This leaves little time in one’s daily schedule to squeeze-in an "ideal life," let alone "life" itself. In such times, one may benefit from remembering Wellness is defined by various dimensions.

Each dimension is equally important as a "spoke" in the Wellness Wheel. And just like a real wheel’s structural integrity is compromised when one spoke is too loose — or another spoke is too tight — the beauty of the Wellness Wheel’s dimensions is its effectiveness as a model for well-being, to ensure a well-balanced "smooth" ride through daily life.

Likewise, a well-balanced smooth ride is required in Triathlon. Not only during the cycling portion of the race, but also during the preceding wwimming, and subsequent running, portions of the race.  

Physical wellness is evidenced by the founders of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, in 1978, debating which athletes were the fittest of swimmers, cyclists and runners.  They decided to find out by combining each discipline’s toughest endurance race on the island of Hawaii,(comprising a 3.8km open water swim, 180km road cycle, and 42.2km marathon run), into one race, on one day, as a Triathlon, with the winner being billed as the "Iron Man."  This race, held in October each year at Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, has become legendary as the "World Championships" for the sport of Long-distance Triathlon. Entry to this race is reserved for professionals, and by qualification for winners of sanctioned races held throughout the year around the world in various locales of varying terrain.

One such locale, Subic Bay, Philippines, recently hosted 1200 athletes from around the world who gathered to compete in its sizzling cauldron a scorchingly sunny Sunday, to win outright the crown of Ironman Philippines, or within their Age Group, to qualify for the World Championships. 

I was one of those participants, travelling from Australia, to test his mettle to win a medal in the triathlon.  

Transcending the physical, spiritual wellness emerged as a vital component in traversing the 226 km torturous terrain. Beyond sheer muscular strength, the sultry Subic Bay volcanic-inferno-like climate demanded strength of spirit and temperament to maintain effort relying solely one one’s own body for locomotive power.

Like life, many emotional highs and lows were experienced during the long-distance triathlon race.  Emotional wellness was necessary when being elbowed by errant arms, and grabbed by grasping hands reaching forward during the swim in the luxuriously warm tropical waters.  It was crucial during such hectic times not to panic. Many a time, one’s composure had to be regained by remembering to breathe. Whilst this may seem obvious, it is easily forgotten in trying times, even by the Pros, who can suffer performance anxiety during the mass swim start. Maintaining mindfulness by breathing properly in such a stressful situation facilitated a smooth swim.

Correspondingly, intellectual wellness was demanded for decision-making to support endurance. Skipping a hydration station to save time meant the brain faded due to lack of electrolytes. Compounding a debilitating thirst was the extreme heat blanketing ice-cold water bottles, which melted them into lukewarm thermoses in mere minutes. 

Decision-making by appropriately adjusting bicycle gearing was therefore crucial during the 180km ride along an alternatingly rolling and flat expressway, traversing tropical mountain ranges and luscious rice paddies. Steadily climbing rolling hills, it was not uncommon to be overtaken by riders madly mashing to get ahead. Swiftly descending those same hills, you could often overtake those same riders, as they had worn out their legs on the long, grueling climb.

Battling against biking competitors was intensified by battling against nature’s elements.  Long uphill climbs interspersed by short downhill descents became even more challenging when humidly hot conditions gradually boiled over with a bang of thunder, bringing a fierce storm. Parched tarmac abruptly transformed into rain-soaked, wind-swept roadway. The resulting wet-n-wild sojourn often produced a menacing hail-storm that had you clenching your handlebars, struggling to stay upright!

Just like stormy weather fronts, emotional lows (and emotional highs) pass. Recognising this temporality was important in maintaining momentum. Looking around at the tropical forest scenery helped "lighten" the load of baking-buns and blistering-feet (in addition to being ice-drenched by volunteers), which made those aches and pains intermittently disappear. 

"Stopping to smell the roses" is a well-worn cliché for good reason. Occupational wellness — balancing work and life, is increasingly important in today’s 24/7/365 always-on hyperconnected world. When work involves a sedentary occupation, the antidote is activity, and lots of it is provided by the sport of Triathlon.

The sport is said to be addictive, due to the emotional high enjoyed in overcoming challenges by completing such an arduous event — think of the "runner’s high" endorphin rush, only multiplied by a factor of three, due to already having swum 3.8km and biked 180km, before getting to the starting line of the marathon run!

Social wellness was experienced on several levels at Ironman Philippines. In addition to locals making you feel like family with their "Mabuhay" welcome spirit, there was a special camaraderie amongst participants.  Competitors on course were more like colleagues, because in Triathlon, the real opponent is your own body — and mind.  For this is a non-drafting race, where one cannot race in a group, like bunched-up Tour de France cyclists, but must maintain minimum 10 metre front-to-rear distance from other cyclists to avoid the wind-cheating benefit of drafting.  Simultaneously solo, yet among a group of 1,200 fellow competitors, you were at times overtaken and other times overtaking. Despite the race, and because of the chase, constantly changing place, managing to make many friends out on the course and following the race, exchanging tales of triumphs and tribulations added to the conviviality.

Of noted social wellness, on a broader community-wide scale, Sunrise Events, the organiser of Ironman Philippines, arranged for truly memorable and touching Finisher’s Medals, designed by award winning sculptor Daniel Dela Cruz, who stated, “The title of the medal is ‘Alab ng Puso’ and it’s the fire in the heart which I think each and every triathlete needs to be able to finish the race.”  

Additionally, each of 1,200 medal ribbons were hand-woven by survivors of war-torn Marawi in southern Philippines, who maintained hope amidst adversities, perseverance, and the fight to revive the true identity of the Maranaoan and their culture. “First, we wanted to do this to help the weavers, but we were shocked to learn that our equipment was destroyed. We encountered a lot of other challenges but I kept telling them this is going to be one of those that will prove that we can get back to our feet,” said Salika Maguindanao-Samad, who, along with her husband Jardin, led the efforts in making the medal ribbons. “We were inspired and thankful because this is also our livelihood before that has somehow been forgotten but now, it’s giving us hope.  We encouraged them to bring back weaving because that is something that we can be proud of and not be known for all the wrong reasons of being labelled as terrorists. We want to show that we are known for something much bigger than that and that we have a culture,” said Jardin. “That’s what we want the world to know about us.”

Watch an inspirational video on the making of the medals here.


Jim Efthimiou, National Wellness Institute of Australia Management Committee Member and newsletter editor, who whilst not qualifying for the World Championships in Kona this year, takes solace in the words of the famous philosopher Aristotle, who once said: “A gentleman should know how to play the Flute… but not too Well!”  And with that succinct summary of the "Wellness Way" from two millennia ago, he will continue chasing that elusive Kona qualification slot—for the pursuit of happiness is the happiness of pursuit. For more information on Triathlon and the Wellness Wheel or how to complete a Triathlon with minimal training for time-constrained individuals, feel free to contact Jim anytime at AirmaxPowerBreather.com


Tags:  Australia  emotional wellness  International Wellness  physical wellness  resilience  triathlon 

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Burnout Syndrome in Secretaries of Healthcare Clinics

Posted By Cecilia Negrini, Monday, July 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Cecilia Negrini - Founder and CEO of the company Cecilia Negrini (Brazil)


They take care of patients and health professionals, generate spreadsheets, manage conflicts, and input data into systems. They care about the cleanliness of the work environment and more. But who cares for them?

Burnout Syndrome in physicians and other health professionals is well researched. However their secretaries report feeling as exhausted as the health professionals themselves, yet there is little research to support this.

In 1974 the American researcher and psychoanalyst Dr. Freudenberger, after observing oscillation of humor and disinterest in the work among some of his collaborators of the health area, diagnosed for the first time the Burnout syndrome.

The main symptom of Burnout Syndrome common in people dedicated to work is the total loss of interest at work, placing unrealistic demands on themselves and others, and a mania of perfection. Often, these professionals become frustrated by not being recognized in the workplace or not receiving the attention they deserve. Although Burnout Syndrome can manifest itself in any professional, it is more common in professionals whose role it is to take care of other people or who have very close interpersonal contact, such as doctors, nurses, firemen, police officers, teachers, and psychoanalysts, among others. Therefore, in these circumstances it is also known as Professional Burnout Syndrome.

Burnout Syndrome is a form of emotional exhaustion, a state of depression, apathy, loss of self-esteem, and a lack of interest in work—even if you devote yourself to it. It is as if you did it mechanically, without emotion or commitment, generated by a feeling of frustration for lack of recognition of your competence and dedication to work.

Brazil is approaching the mark of half a million doctors and has the largest number of dentists in the world with more than 240 thousand professionals. Add other health specialties such as physiotherapists, psychologists, and nutritionists, among others, and it can be seen that the number of health professionals in Brazil is approximately one million. Considering that these professionals need secretaries to provide the necessary support to such health professionals, we can deduce their expressiveness in the population and the impact they have directly and indirectly on society.

In Brazil, the average salary of a health secretary ranges from around USD$5000 to USD$6000 a year, working 8 hours a day. A large number come home to domestic chores such as taking care of the children, washing and ironing, making food, and other housework.

According to Andrey Orloski, 30% of Brazilians suffer from Burnout Syndrome and 93% of these people feel exhausted, 86% feel irritated, 82% are inattentive, and 74% of these people have difficulty relating in the workplace.

Considering the lack of research data and information in this sector, many secretaries have already suffered or suffer from this syndrome and do not know it. 

Constantly giving and caring at home and being in constant contact with customers, suppliers, doctors, and patients at the workplace, the problems related to frustrations, anxieties, charges, and expectations manifest. And often the secretary becomes a confidant, a support and even plays the role of psychologist when someone wants to vent their own frustrations and anger. Patients, providers, customers in general often say things to secretaries that they do not have the heart to tell doctors. The patients perceive that the secretaries are closer to their way of life and as such by relating their woes to them they will understand better than the health professional they have come to see.

We cannot forget that the secretary also has her own personal and family problems, goals, dreams, and frustrations and that the performance of the hospital, clinic, or office, as well as the work team, directly or indirectly affect their goals and mood. Their function is to help solve the problems of all who are there. However, we have to remember that it doesn’t matter how professional and prepared the secretary is, they still need care and attention as does any human being. They are always there, at the front of reception, willing to solve various conflicts and hiding their insecurities, conflicts, and frailties, and because they rarely have someone to speak to and expose their anguish and problems, so suffocate feelings that fester over time.

I know of a very dynamic and competent secretary, who although she is still young, is nicknamed “the mother" of the clinic because she cares for everybody who passes through her reception with all the care, zeal, and concern of a mother. She organises the schedules of four professionals, welcomes all of their patients, receives financial payments, enters data in the systems, cleans the clinic's working environment, makes payment of clinic expenses, controls bank statements, and manages different conflicts that appear in daily life. In addition to all the workload, she is married with two small children and prepares the family's food, helps the children at school, does the housework, and supports her husband at his work. When I visited the clinic recently she was very depressed, discouraged, and had symptoms of influenza. Talking to her a little, she reported that she had been working overtime for three days and that she felt unsupported and under-appreciated.

This scenario is constantly repeated and is almost always unnoticed even by the secretaries themselves. In addition to the psychological effects such as internal emptiness, depression, and feelings of incompleteness, there are also physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, tremors, change in appetite, sleep disturbances, headaches, shortness of breath, palpitations, mood swings, difficulty in concentration, and digestive problems, among others. Such symptoms are termed psychosomatic diseases.

To avoid Burnout syndrome, here are some tips for the secretaries of health professionals:

1. Plan and organize your activities.
Reorganization of activities will have the effect of decreasing significantly the feeling of unfinished tasks and incompetence; 

Establish WhatsApp conference times, emails, and social media.
This practice reduces anxiety and does not compromise the smooth running of daily activity planning;

3. Prioritize what is really important
Because of ‘who they are’, secretaries will often take on more activities and take them really seriously which later will result in work overload and a sense of inefficiency. Saying "At this moment I cannot, but by 12:00 I can" can bring many benefits without having to say no to requests;

4. Do regular physical activity.
Secretaries usually sit for long periods and do not do much physical activity. We know that physical activity releases important hormones for well-being;

5. Good night of sleep. Sleeping well is a key when you have great intellectual and emotional wear and tear. Eight hours of sleep are recommended for good physical and emotional health;

6. Healthy Eating. Many secretaries, because they don’t bring lunch to work end up eating nothing, fast food or snacks during the day and at night when they get home they eat a lot because they are without proper food throughout the day;

7. Drink water. 
Being constantly busy secretaries often forget to drink water during the day. We know the importance of drinking at least 2 liters of water for the proper metabolic functioning and consequently physical well-being;

8. Maintain social life.
The outcome of going out with friends, family and colleagues is a change in our emotions and our thoughts, issues and problems. We manage for a few hours to distract from the routine;

9. Good communication.
The verbal expression of feelings and opinions will assist the secretary not to reserve so many problems for herself. Whenever something seems wrong or needs adjustment, schedule a meeting with your superiors and communicate assertively and gently. You will certainly be recognized as a secretary who collaborates to develop best practices and receive more respect;

10. Have dreams. 
The reality of a hospital, clinic can be very harsh, so it is important to clearly see a future where something very good can be achieved. Set goals and plans to achieve that dream. When we have a beautiful horizon on the way even the arduous becomes easier.

11. Take an Interest in the subject. 
Extend your awareness and talk to doctors, psychologists or research more, as many people mistake it for depression. Be alert to the causes, symptoms and treatments.

Secretaries are very important, not only for the professionals, but fundamental for everyone in a hospital, clinic, medical center or office. As such they deserve all our care and attention. Whenever you interact with one, be kind, smile and find the human being behind all the many tasks and responsibilities.


Cecilia NegriniCecilia Negriniis business Consultant, businesswoman, coach and speaker. She is founder and owner of the company Cecilia Negrini – Consulting and Advice for the Health Area. She had more than 10 years of experience in assisting health professionals. A personal coach by SLAC – Sociedade Latino Americana de Coaching and she is affiliated in Institute of Coaching by Harvard and affiliated in National Wellness Institute – USA. She is specialist in Linguistics from UNESP – UniversidadeEstadualPaulista and she did MBA in Marketing for Health and MBA in Business Management from FGV – FundaçãoGetúlio Vargas. She works like facilitor in training about servant leadearshi by FórmulaTreinamentos and James Hunter – author of the book The Servant and others.

E-mail: cecilia@cecilianegrini.com


Tags:  Brazil  burnout  Cecilia Negrini  health professionals  healthcare  International Wellness  secretaries 

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Thank You for Your Service—Bob Boyd!

Posted By NWI, Thursday, June 7, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bob BoydAt the National Wellness Conference this year, Bob Boyd will be stepping down from the National Wellness Board of Directors after serving his limit of two full terms. NWI has cherished Bob’s vigorous engagement spanning over twenty years. For many years Bob would arrive from his home in Brisbane, Australia after an 18-20 hour plane ride and immediately plunge into work as a conference volunteer. A pioneer in his country’s wellness movement, a dedicated university instructor, and Founding President of the National Wellness Institute of Australia, Bob brought tremendous experience and continual passion for wellness to the NWI Board

Bob has spearheaded NWI’s International efforts, networking and recruiting wellness professionals from around the globe to become engaged in our organization. This has resulted in the formation of the NWI International Standing Committee furthering involvement by international members and developing ways to spread wellness globally. He will continue to be involved with the work of the committee as a member volunteer.

For more than forty years Bob has been contributed professionally across all areas of personal and corporate wellness. His involvement includes research, consulting and teaching.

A Ministerial appointment to the Queensland State Steering Committee on Health Promotion in the Workplace preceded his appointment as the inaugural Director of the Queensland University of Technology Wellness Matters Program. He is an accredited Workplace Wellness Director, Certified Wellness Practitioner, Certified Workplace Program manager, Wellness Culture Coach, and Wellness Coach Trainer (for Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc.).

While exiting the board, NWI and all of its members look forward to continuing to enjoy not only Bob’s professional contributions, but also his joyous embrace of life that we all love to experience.  Cheers mate!


Michael ArloskiMichael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, CWP, National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc.
michael@realbalance.com
www.realbalance.com
1-970-568-4700
Fort Collins, Colorado

President, Board of Directors, National Wellness Institute


Tags:  Australia  Bob Boyd  International Wellness  NWI Board of Directors  NWI International  NWI International Standing Committee  wellness coach 

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