July 7, 2020

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Healthy life Is Our Middle Name.

Reassessing Worksite Wellness After All These Years: Still Medical or Blossoming Into REAL Wellness?

INTRODUCTION

One advantage of stayin alive beyond expectations (i.e., reaching a state of perennialhood) is increased wisdom and, sometimes, witnessing desired changes. That’s the hope, in any case, attributable to decades of increasingly prescient observations and greater openness to alternate experiences. What better time than later life to reexamine opinions and beliefs? Why finish with that old time religion or other fossilized attachments political, social and so on? Oftentimes, these hardened impressions are outdated or otherwise ripe for reforms. Or not.

In any case, many might benefit from magnolia wellness periodic scrutiny of long held views. On occasions, some opinions, even biases, could be in need of amendments, or at least refinements.

A personal example is a long held claim that worksite wellness programming has been and remains overly medical, dating back to the modern restart of the wellness movement in the early 1980’s. Particularly with respect to three of the four dimensions of REAL wellness, worksite programming has ignored systematic efforts to promote positive mental skills, such as reason (critical thinking), exuberance (joy and added meaning) and liberty (expanded personal freedoms). The other dealing with exercise and nutrition (Athleticism) has received ample attention at worksites and elsewhere.)

Is there credible evidence of a turn toward REAL wellness, recognizing that such initiatives might be addressed by other terms?

Some colleagues more attuned to workplace best practices and innovations have urged a reassessment. I’m told there are REAL wellness priorities and programs underway that promise results.

Spurred on by an invitation to appear on a webinar of a leading worksite wellness organization to discuss the book Not Dead Yet (NDY). I decided, in true stayin alive fashion, to explore what’s new in corporate wellness.

A WEBINAR

On October 30, I participated in a hour-long webinar with Dr. Paul Terry, senior fellow and editor of the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO). The theme was Thriving & Flourishing (At Any Age)! The initial focus was the 56 tips for successful aging described in the book. Sharing the webcast podium with me was Susan Bradley Cox, one of the eighteen world triathlon champions over age 75 profiled in NDY.

A CAUTIONARY NOTE ON PERSPECTIVE

Under the best of conditions, the impact of worksite wellness will necessarily be incidental relative to the larger issues employees face. Social determinants such as deficient educational levels, poor housing conditions, dysfunctional cultural influences, economic pressures, crime, mental and physical disabilities and much more are more consequential but not malleable by worksite wellness. While important, it’s helpful to realize that macro changes in society and the environment should be a priority, not to be overlooked while promoting worker wellbeing. A few health promotion classes and other initiatives to encourage good health skills and practices during the few hours per week available for worksite programming should not distract from the larger issues that most affect quality of life.