I feel like I am sliding into home plate as I settled into my chair. The meeting has already begun. I am rushing from my last meeting with barely time to take a bio break. I need a moment to switch gears, to get my thoughts prepared for the conversation for which I am physically present but not quite “in the room” yet.
Once I catch my breath, and I engage in the conversation, I notice that my mind is wandering. Random thoughts are running through my head. Did I remember to mail the mortgage payment? What time am I supposed to be at the event this evening? I feel the urge to reach for my cell phone. I’m finding I’m distracted by these thoughts and lose track of the conversation.
As a worksite wellness health coach, part of my job is working one-on-one with tobacco users. Over the years, my clients and I have had a lot of good laughs together over the question, “Don’t you realize that smoking is bad for you?” Most of them have had this question posed to them hundreds of times by friends, family, and complete strangers. As they point out, “Of course I know smoking is bad for me. I would have to literally live under a rock to not know that smoking increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Lack of knowledge is not why I am still smoking.”
When you ask them why they still smoke despite their
The Essence of Energy - Well being Series
The world of worksite wellness has traditionally been almost exclusively
about physical health. Are you healthy, are you absent from disease, do you eat right, exercise, etc.? But in the world of wellness, a shift is underway. New research is showing a host of other factors contribute to your overall health and well-being, such as how connected you are to others, your finances, your purpose, your environment and community all play a large role.
I’m lucky. Or at least I consider myself lucky. I have help with the small tasks in life that I don’t always want to do. For me that task is grocery shopping. In my household, I get lots of help when it comes to the grocery shopping. That is a good thing, since I’d rather do 100 other things than grocery shop. But it also has its drawbacks. As a result of someone else doing the shopping, all sorts of foods end up in the refrigerator and cabinets that I would not normally buy (think: chips, hot dogs, salami, pickles, ice cream). And even though I wouldn’t buy them, once they appear within arm’s reach, it is tempting to eat these things. Well, maybe not the hot dogs!
Without realizing it, our families, friends and others we interact with regularly have significant impact on our health behaviors. The way our families come together, the way we talk together as family and friends about our health choices and they way we support and encourage each other, all work to influence our health behaviors.
We’ve all heard of the 99 percent, but what about the 80 percent? 80 percent of the US adult population has some form of periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease, which is defined as an inflammation of the tissues supporting the teeth, can be easily prevented or managed through performing good oral health habits.
Although our dental care may seem like a less integral aspect of our physical health, the truth is quite the opposite. Our mouths are at the center of our lives, allowing us to eat, drink and speak. Although our mouths are essential for living fulfilling lives, our care for our oral health often falls behind other elements on our master checklist.
When it comes to tobacco use, our nation has come a long way. Between 1965 (when the first US general’s report came out) and 2000, rates dropped rapidly from almost 45% of American adults who smoked to approximately 25% in 2000 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). However, since 2000 rates have steadied out – at about 19.3% as of 2010. Smoking is still costing the US more than it can afford. Smoking costs US businesses $97 billion dollars each year in productivity losses alone (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008).
People smoke for a number of reasons, including relief from stress or other discomforts, distraction, enjoyment, a concentration aid, social reasons, or for added help in weight management. Whatever the motivation may be that leads to smoking, the result is always the same- addiction. Quitting smoking is never as simple as starting.
John sat at his desk, exhausted. Not being able to focus on his work that he was already behind on, he thought about how not only has he lost attention at work, but how his interest in most aspects of his life has also diminished. He realized his whole outlook had shifted. He no longer could see the positives, and could only dwell on the negatives.
I took a day off, just for me. I felt as though I deserved it. After all, I had been hard at work and feeling a little burned out with life and all its demands. I packed up the car and headed off to my favorite beach. After finding the best spot there, blanket perfectly placed on the warm sand, cooler within reach, sunscreen applied and a great book in hand, my attention was drawn to two children playing at the surf’s edge. I was close enough to observe them, finding myself drawn in by their interaction. What captured my attention was their effortless ability to enjoy the moment and find excitement in the smallest details in their surrounding.
It was obvious their child-like approach to the day served them both extremely well! One child shrieked, “Look! Look what I found!” He then proceeded to hand over a small pink seashell to his playmate. As he passed the shell over for observation, the second child said, “ Let’s start a pile for the best seashells on the beach!” The two searched and discovered one small miracle after the next. Before long I realized I had been delightfully watching them hard at work in search of nature’s beauty for more than an hour. They never tired of their adventure.