Help Employees Manage Back-To-School Stress

School is back in session for many and this means your employees are readjusting their family routines. The school year brings hectic morning schedules, rushing to get children on the bus and busy nights helping with homework, carpooling to sports practice or attending extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to establish new wellness routines during this transition period to keep the whole family happier and healthier.

Back to school time creates stress on parents and kids as they try to juggle work, school and home life. These stressors for your employees are often brought to the office with them. Offer programs to decrease stress and help employees connect with their families. Our Quest to Stress Less turnkey program, found on the members-only online resource center, can help employees manage the school year stress.

On a similar note, consider implementing sleep programming. Help your employees get a better night’s sleep and feel more rested, so they can be more productive during the workday.

Back to school time also means children may be bringing home pesky germs. Employers should promote good hygiene such as hand washing, keeping workstations clean and knowing when to stay home when sick.

At the same time, promote healthy nutrition. Distribute healthy lunch or dinner recipes, so busy parents can make meals on the fly that are delicious and nutritious. Concentrate on higher protein and fiber packed meals that will leave employees and their families energized and focused.

Finally, just as children are tempted to unwind in front of the TV for hours after school, your employees need to take screen-time breaks as well. Encourage frequent breaks throughout the day in which employees get up from their desks to take a short walk, stretch or eat a healthy snack.

If you need more ideas for how to foster healthy employee routines for back to school time, visit our online resource page and its 122 low-cost or no-cost ideas for worksite wellness. Contact the Wellness Helpline at (317) 264-2168 with questions.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss When Your Health is Involved

Since I’ve come to the Chamber and especially since the Wellness Council of Indiana came on board in early 2011, I’ve gotten to research, discuss and write about some interesting health and wellness subjects – many of those focusing on the increasing number of workplace wellness programs and their benefits.

Our internal wellness program includes a walking club, weekly yoga practice, flu shots, health screenings, informational meetings and more. A few weeks ago, we had our annual health screenings, which include height, weight, a flexibility test, blood pressure check and fasting glucose and lipid panel (cholesterol).

The nice part of it is that you get the results back almost immediately and can talk with a nurse about your individual numbers and what things you can work on to help lower the bad numbers or raise the good ones.

I realized I possessed health data on myself going back to 2010. Instead of letting those numbers lurk in the depths of my filing cabinet, and being the nerd I am, I decided to chart and compare each year to see the physiological changes that were taking place. I got a rude awakening: All I had to do was look at my numbers to stop kidding myself that my casual dieting and making excuses to skip the gym wasn’t doing damage to my health.

That year when I’d lost 13 pounds and was exercising regularly and eating healthy foods and was taking better care of myself because I was pregnant was the year my numbers were nearly perfect.

Back then, I was doing for my unborn child absolutely everything I could do to keep her healthy and growing and to give her the best start in life possible. Even today, I’m a fanatic about what she eats (mostly – sometimes the greeter at Home Depot with a box of suckers is just going to win me over by keeping my two-year-old content) because I want her to be healthy and grow up so strong.

So, then, why am I not doing the same for myself? After watching family members struggle with heart disease and diabetes, I don’t want to have to force my child to watch me or her father go through the same fate.

Take a real analytical look at your numbers. Don’t do it for your workplace wellness program (although you’ll feel better at work and your employer will thank you for controlling your health care costs and being more attentive at work), do it for yourself. Your doctor should readily share any of your health records with you if you simply request them.

Don’t have any numbers? It’s never too late to get a few vials of blood drawn and find out what’s really going on inside your body and start being proactive about the results.