Let’s start with the basics: I’m new to my employer and have been with the company for 90 days. I’ve been put in charge of spearheading Wellness and Self Care Month for our 115 employees.
Now the complicated factors: I do not consider myself a “well” person. Not to say I don’t know what wellness is and what’s best for me, but I am no model citizen here. I am overweight, very much dislike exercising, and would prefer an afternoon of Mike and Ike’s and Coke Zero over an apple and some water.
So let’s see here…plan and orchestrate activities that I would hate doing…excellent!
As I began to think about wellness, I started bouncing ideas off my wellness teammates and colleagues. What IS wellness? Isn’t everyone going to think I’m the last person who should be promoting this?
Then a co-worker said what if “wellness” really just means “self care?” “SELF CARE” I thought… that is much less scary. Maybe I can do this.
I started brainstorming what I love to do and what makes me feel good and how I care for myself. Ideas that came to mind: reading for pleasure, spending quality time with friends, crafting, mindful thinking and when I really dug deep I came up with: being recognized for the things I do that are outside of my comfort zone.
I decided to build our wellness month around this as I was sure I was not the only one who would hate a month of encouraged exercising. I enlisted the help of a couple colleagues who graciously got prizes donated and even found a yoga instructor to come in for a few days that month. It was really coming together!
Soon enough, the month was full of all kinds of activities: a weekly craft project, weekly snack drop-offs, yoga sessions, a snow shoeing outing, a dog walking outing, chair massages for staff, a healthy food pot-luck, and even a speaker coming in to speak on work-life integration during a lunch hour. To top it off, we would be awarding “good for yourself” behaviors or activities done by our staff with prize entries to win one of the amazing donated prizes. These activities included doing anything wellness or self care related, we left it open to interpretation to encourage more participation.
I was amazed at the feedback from my coworkers when we launched the first of the month. People were coming to me with excitement and enthusiasm about the crafts and projects, but also, most notably, with their proud smiles when they reported they had done a wellness activity for themselves. I even found myself sneaking into the break room to watch my co-workers color their coloring books during their breaks.
This got me inspired. I could do this too.
I used to love swimming and I bet I could still love swimming. I mean, it’s like riding a bike. Which I also don’t dislike. So maybe I don’t actually dislike ALL exercising. I set my alarm for 1 hour earlier the next morning and found myself at the gym, in the pool….swimming. I am proud to say I have been doing this for many weeks now and feel better than ever.
In searching for what I could do for others to help them reach their goals or even just make a choice that makes them feel good in their hectic lives , I found myself finally helping myself in my own personal struggles of self—judgment . I found I could really DO this.
Wellness Month? Bring it on!