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8 Pillars of Mental Wellbeing and How to Address Them

Wellness Program Solutions

WellBalance Mental Wellbeing Now Live and Available

As we begin 2021, Wellworks For You will help you start the new year with a fresh mindset. After a year like 2020, a new focus on improved mental wellbeing is a great way to begin the year. We are excited to announce that we’ve officially launched our WellBalance Mental Wellbeing Program.

Wellness Program Solutions

Wellworks For You and Mindyra Partner to Use Science to Improve Employee Mental Health

Wellness Program Solutions

WellBalance Mental Wellbeing Now Live and Available

As we begin 2021, Wellworks For You will help you start the new year with a fresh mindset. After a year like 2020, a new focus on improved mental wellbeing is a great way to begin the year. We are excited to announce that we’ve officially launched our WellBalance Mental Wellbeing Program.

Wellness Program Solutions

8 Employee Wellness Portal Tools That Your Program Needs Be Successful

Did you know that in a recent study, 60% of employers reported a reduction in overall workplace healthcare costs due to the implementation of an employee wellness program? Furthermore, the same study demonstrated the maximized ROI that comes from a fully-integrative, comprehensive wellness program. Research has shown that the success of a wellness program involves comprehensive offerings, quality communication, technological integration, and ease of accessibility. We give you: the Wellworks for You Employee Wellness Portal.

Wellness Program Solutions

How To Improve Mental Health with these Outdoor Activities

If you knew that you could boost the mental health benefits of your workout routine, would you take advantage of it?

The health benefits of physical exercise come as no surprise to many – heightened endorphins, preventing and managing disease, and even the reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety. But what many of us are not aware of is the increased benefits of taking your workout outside!

Recent studies have shown that exercising outdoors provides enhanced physical health benefits compared to exercising indoors. Another study found that exercising outdoors was “associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression.”

Further studies have found the following health benefits of outdoor activities:

·      Lower levels of perceived physical exertion

·      Reduced stress

·      Improved mental fatigue

·      Improved adaptability

·      Enhanced mood

·      Boosted feelings of self-esteem

·      Increased social interaction

·      Boosted creativity

Exercising outdoors results in increased levels of vitamin D, cardiovascular and hormone function regulation, and increased feelings of enjoyment surrounding exercise.

Easy Outdoor Activity Ideas:

Ditch the treadmill for a walk, run, or hike around your neighborhood or local park!

Taking your cardio outdoors is a great way to reap the benefits of an outdoor workout. Whether you are walking around your neighborhood or checking out a new hiking spot in your area, getting your heart rate up outside is an easy way to feel great. If you like the idea of running but aren’t sure where to start, try following these guidelines here.

Not sure where to hike in your area? Utilize a site like Alltrails to find the hiking spots in your area, broken down by experience levels. Remember, always let someone know where you are going, and stay prepared!

Try an outdoor, bodyweight circuit workout!

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can try one of the ones linked here. If you’ve done bodyweight circuit workouts before, challenge yourself by doing one extra rep in each circuit. These types of workouts can be done in your backyard, at a local park, or even on a balcony!

Take your yoga mat to the grass!

The emotional, mental, and physical health benefits of yoga are undeniable. Why not get the added boost of taking your practice outside?

If you live in a city and don’t have as much access to open outdoor spaces, here are a few tips:

Check out Recreational Areas Near You

Most cities have parks, basketball and tennis courts, and even running clubs. Take advantage of these opportunities to get outside and connect with your community. Utilize this site to find recreational areas in your city!

Switch Up Your Commute

If possible, try biking or walking to work 2 to 3 days a week. This is a great chance to make the most of your time.

Play Tourist

Try picking out an area in your city that you’ve been meaning to check out, then allow yourself to play tourist as you walk or run through the neighborhood. Use this time to sightsee and feel connected to the city that you live in.

Finally, it is important to remember –there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. Make sure to always check the weather forecast before an outdoor workout and prepare accordingly!

Source:
Outdoor Exercise | 6 Benefits of Exercising Outdoors (acefitness.org)  
The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all - PMC(nih.gov)
Outdoor Workouts for City Dwellers (healthline.com)

Employee Nutrition & Health

Stand Up, Speak Out: How to be an Advocate for What You Believe In*

To understand how to advocate for what you believe in, it is important to understand what advocacy is. Advocacy is defined as public support for, or recommendation, of a particular cause or policy, and falls on a spectrum. Advocating for what you believe in may be done on either a large or small scale.

There are 3 main types of advocacies:

1.   Self-Advocacy- An individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate, or assert their interest, desires, needs, and rights.

2.   Individual Advocacy - When a person, or group of people, focus their efforts on one or two individuals. An example would be speaking out on someone else's behalf or advocating for a person or group of people.

3.  Systems Advocacy - Involves working to change policies, laws, or rules that impact how someone lives their lives.

Advocacy can be as easy as planning an annual community clean-up or a push for compostable utensils in your lunchroom. However, a common roadblock for most people looking to get involved in their communities is figuring out where and how to get started.

3 Ways to Get Started

1. Fully Understand the Issue – Even if you feel like you already know everything about the topic at hand, there is always more to learn. Be sure you come prepared with research and answers to questions such as:

  • Who is impacted by this issue?
  • What are some of the consequences of this issue? 
  • Are there economic costs or benefits of the issue? Who would pay and who would benefit?

Remember, your goal is to gain a deeper understanding of not just the problem, but the intended solution as well. Advocating for what you believe in is about realizing the outcome you would like to achieve while being flexible about the path it takes to get there.

2. Provide Education about the Issue – Before you begin recruiting others, become a resource on the topic yourself. Build a social media page or website - Facebook has an extensive guide about advocacy best practices. If you are looking to meet with people in person, provide factsheets or host a Q&A to educate others before providing a call to action.

3. Community Organizing - Successful advocacy requires connecting with others who believe in the same cause. Ten voices are louder than one. The connections you make along the way are key to ensuring your voice is being heard. Talk to the community that is affected, hear their concerns, and come up with a plan of action to address those concerns. If meeting in person is not possible, consider hosting a virtual event that people can join.

Remember, advocacy is about connecting and coming together with others to gain a better understanding of each other. It has been the catalyst for many of the positive changes we see every day.

For more ideas on how to become involved in your community, check out some of our other blog posts:

Employee Nutrition & Health

How to Incorporate Mindfulness in the Workplace*

Mindfulness at work is a positive strategy proven to reduce stress, improve focus, and expand your wellbeing. Studies demonstrate that employers can help gain stability, productivity, and listening skills by offering mindfulness training and resources in the workplace. 

When discussing mindfulness at work, it is important to acknowledge that mindfulness centers on the concept of “being present in the moment”. From a more clinical perspective, it is a practice that encourages improved cognitive skills and stress reduction through psychological based-training and strategies. 

Individual Mindfulness

Individual mindfulness strategies include: 

  • Breathing exercises to slow the heart rate and center the mind
  • Body scans to identify sources of stress, pain, and where agitation in the body
  • Journaling to help alleviate heightened emotions
  • Stretching to help ground and center the mind and body 

Organizational Mindfulness

Other strategies that employers may utilize can offer a more structured approach to creating a culture of mindfulness. These strategies include:  

  • Health Coaching - At Wellworks For You, part of our Employee Wellness Program includes either telephonic or digital health coaching. Mindfulness is one of many strategies that a health coach can offer. Through one-on-one sessions, employees can learn simple and practical strategies such as breathing techniques, meditation, and observation exercises to help encourage mindfulness at work.
  • Lunch and Learns - Another option to promote mindfulness in the workplace is to host Lunch and Learns. Offered by Wellworks, these events may be virtual or onsite. These events allow employees to gain real-time, applicable skills from an expert.  
  • Healthy Habit Challenges - Most people think of physical health when they consider wellness challenges. However, Wellworks offers a variety of challenges that focus on improving mental wellbeing and incentivizing mindfulness. 

6 Additional Benefits of Mindfulness in the Workplace You Don’t Want to Miss!

No matter how an employer delivers mindfulness at work techniques, the benefits are clear! Multiple studies show that by introducing mindfulness strategies into the workplace, everyone in the environment benefits—in several ways. Take a look!

1. Stress Reduction - By practicing breathing exercises, journaling, and other mindfulness strategies at work, data reflects that employees can lower their blood pressure and even strengthen their immune system by practicing stress-reducing exercises.

2. Pain Diminishment - People who utilize mindfulness meditation have reported less pain and continue to remain active despite experiencing pain.

3. Relationship Cultivation - Individuals in the workplace who engage in active mindfulness build better relationships and often exhibit greater empathy and compassion (essential for positions in leadership)!

4. Brain Booster - Memory, attention span, and focus are all benefits from practicing routine mindfulness.

5. Mood Enhancement - Those who practice mindfulness effectively improve their mood, contributing to better workplace morale.

6. Group Skills - While mindfulness practices help cultivate positive and healthy relationships, specific mindfulness techniques can encourage group skills and improved collaboration between co-working departments and teams.

Curious about how you can maximize mindfulness in your workplace? 

At Wellworks For You, we’re always coming up with new approaches to help companies of all shapes and sizes accomplish their health and wellness goals. Mindfulness is simply one facet of how we can help businesses to increase productivity, educate employees, and create an overall healthy work environment. To learn more about our comprehensive workplace wellness programs or to set up a consultation call us anytime at 800-425-4657.

Employee Nutrition & Health

How to Open Your Mind to New Experiences*

Getting older does not mean we have to take fewer adventures or live life in a repetitive cycle. In fact, opening your mind to new experiences will help you lead a meaningful and fulfilling life filled with exciting new thoughts, ideas, and events.

It is important to understand why we tend to stay within our comfort zones as we grow older. From childhood to early adulthood, the only constant we depend on is the change that occurs year to year – we move up from each grade, change schools, and change cities as we search for ourselves. However, as we settle into adulthood, we often find ourselves creating routines and habits where we find comfort.

These routines and habits can be as small as taking the same drive to work everyday, going to the same restaurant each week, or repeating a vacation destination each year. As we settle more deeply into these habits and routines, each piece becomes a part of the puzzle that creates our comfort zone. Remember - there is nothing inherently wrong with our comfort zones, and it is healthy to have safe spaces in our lives. However, it is important to keep in mind that growth will never take place within this comfort zone.

Here are some tips for keeping yourself open to new experiences, thoughts, and ideas:

Focus on building positive habits instead of working to remove negative ones. Neurologist Donald Hebb stated, “Neurons that fire together, wire together” to describe how pathways in the brain are formed and reinforced by repetition. Instead of scolding yourself for negative behavior or thoughts, try focusing on the positive habits you want to implement. The more positive thoughts you nurture, the more likely you are to create positive habits! Thoughts that fire together, wire together!

Avoid closing yourself off to unfamiliar situations. Exposing yourself to new experiences allows you to meet people and go to places that can expand your thoughts and opinions. Instead of closing yourself to things that seem uncomfortable, try to push yourself to view new encounters as a learning experience to discover something new about yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes the only way to learn more about a situation and keep an open mind is to ask plenty of questions to gain a better understanding. If someone is willing to share information, try showing an active willingness to listen. If you aren't sure how to ask questions, check out this article by the Harvard Business Review.

Don’t restrict yourself. Do you find yourself thinking you can’t do something? Are you looking at things you are interested in, but tell yourself “That isn’t me”? Each of these thoughts limit your opportunities! Open the door for yourself and your world by breaking down barriers of what you believe you can do, create, experience, feel, or learn.

It is never too late to take on new adventures and discover new aspects of yourself. If you have anxieties about new situations, you should still take these steps to grow. These changes are meant to be made slowly to give yourself an opportunity to settle into each change before implementing the next.

Challenge yourself to grow, and your mind will thank you!

Employee Nutrition & Health

How to Be a True Ally During Pride Month*

Pride is about love, joy, and community – three of the essential keys to mental health and wellness. Furthermore, Pride Month comes right after Mental Health Awareness Month, making it the perfect opportunity to highlight just how you can take Pride in your mental health and support others to do the same!

It is important to recognize that recent studies have shown that LGBTQIA+ community members are twice as likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Trans and non-binary individuals are four times as likely. Whether you identify as LGBTQIA+ or as an ally, it is important to understand the unique mental health struggles that may be faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Moreover, understanding these unique struggles provides allies with the ability to offer meaningful support.

By the same token, it is also important to note that the LGBTQIA+ community faces disproportionate rates of mental health conditions in comparison to the general population, with 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ adults facing mental health challenges as opposed to 1 in 5 adults in the general population.

Understanding Why Your Support is Important

To be able to provide support, it is helpful to understand the LGBTQIA+ community’s unique challenges and be aware that mental health challenges can stem from both internal and external issues. While mental health challenges naturally vary from person to person, within the LGBTQIA+ community the major themes include:

  • Feelings of shame, isolation, confusion, and dysphoria
  • Rejection by family, friends, and the general community
  • Homelessness because of rejection by family or loved ones
  • Lack of support system or an accepting environment
  • Physical, verbal, or sexual harassment, and abuse
  • Inadequate medical and psychiatric healthcare
  • Conflicting religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Fear of being “outed” as well as the consequences of being “out”

How to Support the LGBTQIA+ People in Your Life During Pride Month and Beyond

Research shows that there is a strong connection between identity and mental health. In addition to this, it has been shown that people with strong and meaningful social relationships tend to be happier, healthier, and live longer than those who do not. A 2020 survey by The Trevor Project reported that 82% of LGBTQIA+ youth with at least one supportive person in their life, as well as access to a space they felt accepted, were 50% less likely to attempt suicide.

Whether you identify as LGBTQIA+ or as an ally, it is important to acknowledge and understand the disproportionate rates of mental health challenges in the LGBTQIA+ community. If you are an ally and are unsure of how you can support the LGBTQIA+ people in your life, here are a few ideas for how to offer meaningful support:

  • Exemplify basic acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people’s identities and acknowledge their struggles
  • Educate yourself on LGBTQIA+ terminology and history
  • Intervene in situations of harassment or discrimination
  • Using LGBTQIA+ people’s pronouns and names correctly

By simply being welcoming and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ people in our lives, we can take the first step to help improve mental health in the community.

Resources for LGBTQIA+ People

Remember – you are never alone! Countless organizations across the world are recognizing the importance of providing mental health resources for LGBTQIA+ adults and youth. A few examples include:

  • The Trevor Project: Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ people
  • Audre Lorde Project: LGBTQIA+ People of Color community organizing center
  • It Gets Better Project: Uplifting, empowering, and connecting LGBTQIA+ youth around the globe
  • OutCare – An online, nationwide directory of healthcare providers who identify as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community

Again, Pride Month is about love, joy, and community. Let us come together, LGBTQIA+ people and allies, to celebrate our likeness as well as our differences. When we care for ourselves and each other, we create a world in which everyone can take Pride in their mental health.

Sources
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lgbt-youth-and-mental-health#anxiety
https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI
https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Suicide-Risk-and-Prevention-for-LGBTQ-Patients-Brief.pdf
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lgbtqia-and-depression
https://www.mhanational.org/issues/lgbtq-communities-and-mental-health

Employee Nutrition & Health

That's a Wrap on Mental Health Month 2022*

For the entire month of May, we focused on several components of mental wellbeing in celebration of Mental Health Month. Mental wellbeing is vital in our workplaces and in our personal lives. We’ve compiled several resources from our month of celebration to share how you can focus on mental health in all aspects of your life.

Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

Why is it important?

One of the most tangible benefits of addressing mental health issues in the workplace is cost reduction associated with healthcare and lost productivity. We know that depression can drastically hinder job performance, physically and cognitively.

Workplaces need to offer a full range of wellness services. We spend most of our time at work. Therefore, it’s a perfect opportunity to reduce mental health risk factors early on. By increasing awareness about mental health issues, employees can be connected to helpful information and resources.

We’ve written an informative white paper on the benefits of focusing on mental wellbeing in the workplace.

How can Wellworks For You help?

Wellworks for You offers multiple tools through our WellBalance programs to help employers and their employees be the best versions of themselves.

Knowing where to begin when addressing employee mental health can be difficult. Wellworks For You partners with Mindyra to provide four workplace mental health surveys. These surveys identify the unique needs of individuals, track their progress, and suggest additional support.

Knowledge8 is another component of our WellBalance Mental Wellbeing Program that approaches mental wellbeing through 8 specific pillars. Individuals work through each pillar while focusing on a different aspect of mental wellbeing. Participants are encouraged to join challenges, webinars, and monthly courses.

Mental Wellbeing Tips from Wellworks for You Employees

A large part of the culture at Wellworks for You is promoting physical and mental wellbeing internally. We pride ourselves in supporting healthy lifestyles and creating a workplace that allows employees to focus on what matters the most to them.

We asked our employees to share their own mental wellbeing tips each week. Read below for a few of our favorites.

Kelly Geppi, VP of Sales

“Faith, Family, Friends, and Fitness are the keys to my mental wellbeing. My soul is fed by my church family, my sweet family of four and extended family, my friends I consider family and consistently getting in my workout and “me time” – specifically running, tennis, cycling, and HIIT classes. These are my priorities and when my priorities are central to my everyday life, I am happier, healthier, more productive, and mentally well.”

The way I focus on my mental health changes from year to year, as I get older and my family grows older, and the workplace continues to evolve and change.

The one thing that always remains constant for me is the need to have laughter and movement. If you are able to move your body, you are lucky!

Talk to your HR representatives and ask make sure you know what mental health benefits are available to you at all times.”

Wherever you’re at in your mental wellbeing journey, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today to either get started with a wellness program in your workplace. Or find out what programs are already available to you through your employer.

Employee Nutrition & Health

Focus on Mental Health: Tips to include your Health Care Provider*

While you can struggle with mental health issues any time of the year, the holidays can be difficult, especially for those who may already deal with depression and anxiety. However, you don’t have to work through negative thoughts and feelings alone. The best place to start can be your health care provider. If you’re unsure how to approach the conversation, here are 5 tips from the National Institute of Mental Health to help you out.

1. Talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) at your next visit

Do you have a visit scheduled with your PCP for other health concerns? If so, this is a great opportunity to bring up any mental health concerns you may have. They may already have a routine screening process in place as part of your visit. Your PCP can help direct you to other resources including therapy or treatment.

2. Write down any concerns before your visit

Often, we forget things we want to talk about the moment we’re put on the spot. Before your next visit, begin writing down any questions or concerns you may have about your mental health. It’s also good to have an updated list of medications you’re taking as well as any mental illnesses that run in your family history.

3. Bring a close friend or someone you’re comfortable with

If you’re allowed to, ask a close friend, relative, or someone you trust to come with to your appointment. They can help provide support, relay information to you or your provider, or write down treatment information for you to review together later.

4. Honesty is the best policy

Remember that anything you discuss with your PCP is private and confidential. The best way for them to help you is if you are honest about your feelings, symptoms, and any major life changes you’re going through.

5. It’s your turn to ask questions

There is no one size fits all approach to mental health treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or express any concerns about the treatment options that your PCP recommends.

If you’re unsure where to begin with your mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to call your primary care physician. They can be a great resource to help you on the road to a better life.

Sources

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/tips-for-talking-with-your-health-care-provider

Employee Nutrition & Health

Take PRIDE In Your Mental Health*

The LGBTQIA+ community faces disproportionate rates of mental health conditions in comparison to the general population. Studies show that 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ adults face mental health challenges, in comparison to 1 in 5 adults in the general population.

These mental health challenges come from a wide range of factors, both internal and external, and of course vary person to person, but typically include:

  • Feelings of shame, isolation, confusion, and dysphoria
  • Rejection by family, friends, and the general community
  • Homelessness as a result of rejection by family or loved ones
  • Lack of support system or an accepting environment
  • Physical, verbal, or sexual harassment and abuse
  • Inadequate medical and psychiatric healthcare
  • Conflicting religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Fear of being “outed” as well as the consequences of being “out”

Improving Mental Health in Your Community

Allies – non-LGBTQIA+ people who are advocates and active supporters of the community – are crucial to helping offset the disproportionate rates of mental health challenges in the LGBTQIA+ community. Allies can help in ways such as:

  • Educating themselves on LGBTQIA+ terminology and history
  • Fostering genuine relationships with LGBTQIA+ people in their lives
  • Intervening in situations of harassment or discrimination
  • Using LGBTQIA+ people’s pronouns and names correctly
  • Exemplifying basic acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people’s identities and acknowledging their individual struggles

Research shows a strong connection between identity and mental health. A 2020 survey by The Trevor Project reported 82% of LGBTQIA+ youth with at least one supportive person in their life, as well as access to a space they felt accepted, were 50% less likely to attempt suicide. By simply being welcoming and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ people in our lives, we take the first step to helping improve mental health in the community.

Mental Health Stats in the LGBTQIA+ Community
• LGBTQIA+ people are twice as likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Trans and Non-binary people are four times as likely.
• LGBTQIA+ adults are twice as likely to attempt suicide, and risk for youths are four times higher than their peers. Trans suicide attempts are estimated at 40%, compared to 5% in the general population.

Resources for LGBTQIA+ People

Remember – you are never alone! Countless organizations across the world are recognizing the importance of providing mental health resources for LGBTQIA+ adults and youth. A few examples include:

Pride is about love, joy, and community: three essential keys to wellness! Let us come together, LGBTQIA+ people and allies, to celebrate our likeness as well as our differences. When we care for ourselves and each other, we create a world in which everyone can take pride in their mental health.

Sources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lgbt-youth-and-mental-health#anxiety
https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI
https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Suicide-Risk-and-Prevention-for-LGBTQ-Patients-Brief.pdf
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/lgbtqia-and-depression
https://www.mhanational.org/issues/lgbtq-communities-and-mental-health

Employee Nutrition & Health

Men and Mental Illness - Men's Health Month*

Mental illness is a difficult challenge for anyone to face. It can affect men and women of any age. However, mental illness can cause different symptoms in men than in women, so some disorders in men may be harder to recognize. Men who are depressed, for example, may seem angry and grouchy rather than sad and withdrawn. It also may be harder for men with depression to get help. Some may see it as a sign of weakness rather than a treatable illness.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. Common in men, particularly those who have served in combat, it is caused by witnessing a violent or life-threatening event, such as war. Those with PTSD often relive the traumatic event. They are distrustful, always on guard, may have terrifying nightmares, and feel emotionally numb and detached. They may also have panic attacks, job and relationship problems, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Women may feel on edge or anxious as a result of PTSD. But men may get angry and aggressive. They may start abusing drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.

Depression

Depression affects many men, and both men and women may feel many of the same symptoms of depression, such as:

  • A continually sad or grouchy mood
  • Trouble focusing
  • A major change in appetite and energy
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
  • Lack of interest in life
  • Suicidal thoughts

But men and women often show different signs of the condition. Men who are depressed may not cry or talk about their feelings. They may not even hint that they're thinking about suicide. Men with depression may try harder to hide their symptoms. As a result, they may get angry and aggressive. They may also be more likely to seek relief through alcohol or drugs.

Eating and body image disorders

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders are serious, possibly life-threatening disorders. They are marked by abnormal attitudes toward food and weight. Men with an eating disorder may watch calories obsessively, or they may work out at the gym to excess. Men with body image issues may also become obsessed with their muscles, skin, genitals, nose, or hair.

Bipolar disorder

This mental illness causes swings between depression and mania, a state of extreme euphoria and high energy. This disorder used to be called manic-depression. Other symptoms include:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Talking too fast or too much
  • Not sleeping for days at a time
  • Making grandiose plans
  • Taking part in high-risk activities, such as multiple shopping sprees

Like women who have the disorder, men may have ongoing problems with work, sex, and relationships. Without treatment, many turn to substance abuse, act out aggressively and in anger, or think about suicide.

Coping with mental health issues

If you are suffering from one or more of these illnesses, treatment will let you lead a full, productive life. These mental illnesses may be difficult and painful, but they are all very treatable. Treatment may include counseling, medicine, or both. You may possibly also be treated with complementary therapies, such as biofeedback.

It's important to know that you have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. These conditions are illnesses, not weaknesses. The same goes for any addictions you might have.

Many men have had trouble communicating what they're feeling and figuring out how to talk about it.

Here are some important first steps:

  • Get medical care. Your healthcare provider is used to dealing with these issues. He or she can help you get the treatment you need. In some cases, you may be able to resolve your problems with therapy rather than medicine.
    
  • Find healthier ways of sharing your feelings. It can be tempting to yell or act out or turn to drugs or alcohol when you are feeling unhappy. But instead of lashing out in anger, try something different. Breathe deeply, count to 10, and give yourself some time to calm down.
    
  • Manage your stress. Stress at work and at home can worsen the symptoms of many mental illnesses. Don't feel guilty about taking time for yourself to do things you enjoy. You may also want to see if deep breathing, meditation, or stretching helps you relax.
    
  • Get regular exercise. Research suggests that daily exercise can help relieve the symptoms of depression. People who exercise regularly in their free time are less likely to have this mood disorder.
    
  • Take care of yourself. You deserve it. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy meals with lots of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Being gentle with yourself can put you in a better frame of mind to deal with your mood disorder.
    
  • Tell someone right away if you have thoughts of harming yourself. Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room. Ask a friend or family member to stay with you. Don't stay alone. You can also call the toll-free 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255); TTY: 800-799-4TTY (4889) and talk to a trained counselor.

Remember, don't be afraid to talk with your healthcare provider. You can tell them about constant anxiety, grouchiness, depression, or any other abnormal moods or symptoms you are having. Getting treatment and learning some coping methods can help bring these disorders under control.

Employee Nutrition & Health

Five Important Facts You Should Know About Summer Health and Safety*

Summer: it’s a time to relax, go on a vacation and enjoy the splendor of the outdoors. It’s also a good time to brush up on summer health and safety tips. While pool parties, boating excursions and hiking adventures entice a spirit of playfulness and fun, they can present dangers that even the savviest adults can overlook. To help keep employees out of harm’s way this summer, equip them with a few, simple summer safety hints.

Five Summer Health and Safety Tips for Success

To maximize health and safety this summer, Wellworks For You is here to help employers empower employees with summer safety tips. To eliminate concerns, all it takes is a little education, a lot of water, and protection from pests, rogue automobiles and the sun.

Here are five summer safety tips for the workplace (and beyond):

Summer Healthy and Safety Tips
  1. Sunscreen and Seek Sun Safely - One of the best things you can do to ensure your skin health and safety this summer is to sunscreen up. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, 9,500 people receive a skin cancer diagnosis annually. To keep your skin protected, always apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Whenever possible, wear a hat and seek refuge in the shade. Capturing a little Vitamin D via the sun is okay, but keep exposed skin to a minimum.
  2. Splash Safety for Everyone - Many times as adults, we’re cautioned about the dangers of children around water. While it’s vital to ensure a pool is protected with a four-foot fence to keep little ones safe, there are other factors to consider surrounding water safety. If you’re an adult, make sure that when swimming this summer, you do so in a pool or hot tub with appropriate amounts of chemicals to avoid skin problems or other possible more serious conditions.
  3. Bug Protection Basics - Sadly, the summer is a favorite season for bugs. Mosquitos, a notorious nuisance to outdoor summer events, carry a number of pesky illnesses and diseases. To protect yourself, use a bug repellent to keep mosquitos and other cumbersome critters at bay.
  4. Fitness Precautions to Pay Attention to - It’s admirable to stay healthy during the summer when travel, changing schedules and heat can deter individuals from remaining on track. To ensure your health and safety, it’s important to remain hydrated, wear protective gear—helmets, sun coverings, reflective gear—and be aware of your surroundings, especially in congested areas.
  5. Hydrate, Even When It’s Late - Water in the morning, water in the evening, water at suppertime! No matter whether it’s sunny, overcast or late at night, higher summertime temps warrant more hydration. Experts recommend consuming a minimum of two to four liters of water (preferably more) per day to prevent dehydration.

More Health and Wellness Tips

If you’ve enjoyed these summer health and safety tips and would like recommendations for maximizing wellness during every season, Wellworks For You has exactly what you’re looking for. As leaders in comprehensive workplace wellness programs, we promote health, safety and overall suggestions on optimizing wellness for employees in and out of the office.

To get started, simply call us at 800-425-4657.

Employee Nutrition & Health

10 Heart Healthy Tips For a Happy Heart Day*

The perfect Valentine’s gift? A healthy heart that you can celebrate for years to come!

This time of year, hearts of all shapes and sizes seem to be everywhere: supermarkets, drug stores, even gas stations are packed with heart-shaped gifts for your Valentine. Even food gets in on the act. There are heart-shaped pancakes and pizzas, not to mention all the themed cookies, cakes, and candies. Why is this day celebrating love and everything heart-shaped terrible for our actual hearts? Shouldn’t we be extra good to our hearts on Valentine’s Day?

After all, February is also host to American Heart Month, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Why not try these heart healthy tips to be good to your heart and your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day!

Our 10 Heart-Healthy Tips For Valentine’s Day:

Enjoy the winter months with delicious, comforting, and easy healthy dinner recipes..

  1. Raise a Glass: What’s Valentine’s Day without a little wining and dining? Research has shown that moderate consumption of red wine is part of a heart-healthy diet. The flavonoids in red wine have an antioxidant effect, can help raise good cholesterol and prevent blood clotting. As a general rule, the sweeter the wine, the lower the flavonoid levels. Stick with reds like Pinot Noirs and Cabernets, or any Bordeaux. Of course, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink (4 oz. of wine) per day for women, and two for men.
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  1. Eat the Chocolate: 58 million pounds of chocolate are sold the week of Valentine’s Day! While chocolate isn’t generally considered a heart-healthy food, certain variations of the sweet treat can reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. Only dark chocolate meets the criteria - aim for a cocoa level of 60-70%. As always, moderation is key. Studies show that people who take time to savor the chocolate are satisfied with smaller servings. Whip up a batch of dark chocolate-covered strawberries for an antioxidant-packed treat.
  2. Believe in the Power of Love: Love is more than a wonderful feeling - it has very real health benefits as well. One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to simply be in love. Studies of loving relationships (marriage, family, friendship) show that they boost levels of antibodies and lower stress hormones.
  3. Switch to Olive Oil: Olive oil can be substituted for butter in most recipes, and is a good source of monounsaturated fats - which reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter when cooking your favorite romantic meal.
  4. Stay home: Cooking at home allows you to better control the quantity and quality of what you’re eating. Make it a date and take some cooking classes with your Valentine, and learn to make some new heart-healthy meals. If you do eat out, be mindful of the fat and sodium content of your order, and take some leftovers home - restaurant portions are usually huge!
  5. Take a Romantic Stroll: Physical exercise is key to heart health. Take a long, romantic walk with your sweetheart - not just for Valentine’s Day, but make it a regular habit. Try to squeeze in a 30 minute walk 5 times/week.
  6. Unwind: Staying stress-free is key to keeping your heart healthy. Find a relaxing hobby to enjoy - crocheting, cooking, woodworking - whatever helps relieve your stress. Read aloud, sip some tea, just make sure to set aside some time each day to decompress. And that’s not just a good heart health tip, but good advice for maintaining relationships as well!
  7. Count Your Blessings: Just as worry and anger lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, their opposites - mindfulness and calm - contribute to better health and general well-being. Deep breathing and meditation also helps lower blood pressure.
  8. Hit the Dance Floor: Dancing is not only romantic, it’s also a heart healthy workout. Sign up for a dance class, or just turn up some tunes and get shaking - dancing can burn over 200 calories an hour!
  9. Get Between the Sheets: It’s Valentine’s Day after all. It turns out that sex not only adds pleasure to your life - but can add years to it as well. According to a study published by the American Journal of Cardiology, men who had sex at least twice a week were less likely to develop heart disease than men who only had sex once a month. Sex can also keep your heart healthy by releasing endorphins and easing stress.

Are you ready to give your heart the best Valentine’s Day ever? These 10 heart healthy tips will get you off to a great start, but it’s also important to “know your numbers” - your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Sign up for a biometric screening to find out if you need to take any other heart health actions.

Employee Nutrition & Health

10 Types of Brain Food to Fuel Your Mind in More Ways Than One*

“Brain food” or “food for thought” are expressions with more meaning behind them than you might expect.

According to a recent Harvard Health story, 95% of serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. In other words, it truly matters what you put into your body. This brings to mind another favorite metaphorical expression: “You are what you eat.” To help boost both brain and body health, there are a few staples you can easily and mindfully integrate into your daily diet.

10 Brain Foods to Boost Mental Health, Focus, and More

Here are 10 foods that boost your brain functions and give you a healthy glow:

  1. Nuts
    Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which has been shown to help prevent cognitive dysfunction particularly for older adults. Walnuts, in particular, have been shown to improve mental performance; the omega-fatty acids further support healthy brain function.
  1. Whole Grains
    The brain requires energy to perform properly. Whole grains provide some of the best fuel for the body by slowly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. Consider this a gradual energy blast that will keep your brain consistently active and alert throughout the day.
  2. Fish
    Fish is the quintessential brain food. Oil-rich fish contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA. These support memory, brain function, and neurotransmitter regulation, which increases your ability to focus.
  3. Eggs
    Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, which supports the neurotransmitters that regulate memory. The protein in eggs is great for building overall cognitive function. Plus, the B vitamins in eggs reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a compound associated with Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment.
  4. Blueberries
    Blueberries, as well as other dark berries like black currants, house vitamin C, brain-healthy antioxidants, and protective compounds called anthocyanins. Eating blueberries has also been shown to delay memory loss.
  5. Flaxseed
    Alpha-linolenic acid (also known as ALA) is a fatty acid that can improve the function of the cerebral cortex. Flaxseeds are the single strongest source of this healthy fat. Flaxseed intake can increase the brain’s ability to process sensory stimulation and information.
  6. Spinach
    Spinach, the “superfood” poster child, is loaded with vitamins and minerals that support brain health. Leafy green vegetables, in general, are associated with reducing cognitive decline.
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
    Pumpkin seeds have a high concentration of zinc, a mineral that enhances memory and thinking capabilities. These seeds are also rich in magnesium, tryptophan, and B vitamins, all of which promote mental and emotional stability and reduce stress in the body.
  8. Broccoli
    Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K and includes glucosinolate compounds. Vitamin K improves brain power, while glucosinolates have been shown to slow down the degeneration of acetylcholine neurotransmitters, which are needed for a healthy central nervous system and memory function.
  9. Sage
    The compounds in sage help to maintain acetylcholine. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated an association between sage and optimal concentration abilities.

Additional Food for Thought

Collectively, the healthy brain foods above can:

  • Improve cognition
  • Reduce the risk of certain diseases
  • Function as powerful antioxidants for your body
  • Improve memory
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure

Providing brain food tips is only one of the many services Wellworks For You can offer companies. We offer diverse, comprehensive, and customizable wellness programs that include health coaching, wellness challenges, health-fair management, e-learning series, and much more.

At Wellworks For You, we specialize in helping companies like yours maximize employee wellness rates in order to achieve quantifiable health improvements in the workplace and beyond.

To learn about how Wellworks For You can boost overall health in your work environment, reach out to our wellness experts or call us any time at 800-425-4657.

Employee Nutrition & Health

3 Tips for Writing an Outstanding Wellness Newsletter*

As a part of your company’s comprehensive wellness program, you may consider developing and publishing a regular wellness newsletter. This is usually done via email and should go out to your corporation’s staff mailing list. Remember that a good corporate wellness program can help your company decrease sick leave absenteeism and significantly minimize workers comp and health care costs. Education is a key component of a successful wellness program and that’s why so many corporations have begun the practice of publishing a wellness newsletter.

3 Tips for Writing an Outstanding Wellness Newsletter

1. Set Some Goals:

  • Remind employees of current challenges/incentives
  • Promote the programs you are running that month
  • Build a relationship with employees by offering them valuable information

You can also set goals for the success of your wellness newsletter:

  • Establish a regular publishing schedule (once per month is recommended)
  • Achieve a certain percentage for your open rates
  • Increase employee involvement with your wellness programs

2. Keep it Practical and Educational:

  • Recipes for healthy meals or snacks
  • Interesting statistics or infographics on health issues
  • Easy exercise recommendations

3. Encourage Engagement: While you don’t want to overburden your readers with too many calls to action, you do certainly want to use your newsletter to promote their involvement in the current programs and incentives that you’re offering through your wellness program. Always remind your employees about what’s happening at your company and how they can use those programs and tools to their advantage as they pursue a healthier lifestyle.

In addition, you’ll want to offer ways for readers to directly interact with the content in your newsletter. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish that:

  • Include trivia questions and prizes for winners
  • Prompt readers to engage with your company’s social media platforms in some way (example: Highlight the fact that a new photo album has been uploaded on Facebook, displaying pictures from your last corporate lunch and learn and invite readers to go check it out!)
  • Include a prompt or survey that your readers can respond to via email

If planning, writing and publishing a quality wellness newsletter for your corporation sounds like a lot of work, then you may want to look into hiring a wellness company to produce these for you. Call Wellworks for You to ask about our wellness newsletter and bulletin program as well as our other services that may be helpful for your company!

Employee Nutrition & Health

Health Coaching Definition- What They do for You | Wellworks For You*

Confused about health coaching?

We’ve got a health coaching definition to clarify your understanding and improve your company’s physical and financial well-being!

If the phrase “Health Coach” only brings to mind your junior high gym instructor who also taught the “Health and Hygiene” course (you remember, the class that made all the kids giggle and squirm), it’s time to think again!

What does a Health Coach do?

A health coaching definition for today highlights society’s realization that we can all benefit from someone who’ll keep us motivated and hold us accountable in our efforts to live healthier lives.

And not just any “someone”‘—an approachable authority, highly-educated in the latest health, nutrition, and exercise research, expertly trained in strategies for cultivating optimal well-being, able to bring it all into a supportive, one-on-one relationship.

Pages From The “Health Coaching Playbook”

Health Coaches don’t carry around physical playbooks scribbled full of Xs, Os, and arrows. But just as athletic coaches have plans of action to help their teams reach goals, Health Coaches have strategies to help you and your company’s staff achieve healthier living.

If they were playbook pages, these strategies might be titled...

Planning for Particulars

Health Coaches are mentors. They build one-on-one relationships in order to make wellness plans and set health goals that will work for a specific person. When it comes to cultivating healthier living, Health Coaches know “one size fits all” won’t cut it. Instead, they emphasize bio-individuality, and tailor diet and exercise plans for each person’s biological makeup and unique needs.

Full-Person Focus

Shedding a certain number of pounds or spending a specific number of hours a day in the gym are only good goals if they’re parts of a wellness plan that benefit the whole you. And Health Coaches take this holistic view. They respect the way our work and home routines, our personal relationships, even our emotional and spiritual lives all combine to shape our overall health.

Major Motivation

Doctors want you to meet your good health goals, but don’t have time to cheer you on each step of the way. That’s one gap Health Coaches fill. They are supportive allies who help you map and track your progress, identify and access all potential resources and supports, and break down external and internal barriers standing between you and better health.

Step by Step

No athletic coach expects players to hit a homerun their first time at bat or score a touchdown the first time they run the football. Likewise, Health Coaches don’t expect you to achieve total health overnight. They know sustainable health comes bit by bit, through incremental but important changes. No “miracle fixes” here—Health Coaches are with you for the long, but rewarding, haul to wholeness!

Head in the Game

Health Coaches bring not only practical experience but also specialized education and proven psychological theory to their work. Credentialed through such professional organizations as the National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC)and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Health Coaches use academically rigorous models of behavioral change (like TTM and health belief) that are empirically proven to bring real, lasting results.

Health Coaching With Wellworks For You

According to Forbes, 70% of U.S. employers offer general wellness programs to employees. That’s up from only 58% just eight years ago! And Health Coaches have a big part to play in these programs.

Wellworks For You offers cutting-edge health coaching, among many corporate wellness programs, that help you and your valuable staff live healthier, happier lives, on and off the job—and boost your bottom line by decreasing sick leave absenteeism, workers’ compensation costs and healthcare costs. Decreased expenses and increased wellness go hand-in-hand!

Why not speak with one of our expert health and wellness consultants today about how corporate health coaching can speed your staff to health victories that benefit them and your business? Call us toll-free at 1-800-425-4657 or contact us through our website today!

Employee Nutrition & Health
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