Creating a Healthy Society
By Ken Keis.
Health has always been a big part of my life. A former bodybuilder and triathlon competitor, with a technologist diploma in nutrition and genetics, I find it very difficult to accept feeling unwell or gaining weight.
Health care is quickly becoming the #1 concern in the Western world. Today our life expectancy is higher than ever―the average lifespan for men and women exceeds 75 years. People are now looking at the quality of their life as being equal to—or even more important than―the length of their life.
Modern society is not only helping us live longer, it is contributing to our increased stress levels. In a recent survey by Northwestern Life, over 40% of workers reported their jobs were “very or extremely stressful.”
As a society, we have become very conscious of our health and the stress levels in our lives. Because of this, many companies have adopted programs for their employees around improving health and monitoring stress levels. It has been proven repeatedly that people are less productive when they are tired, feeling stress, or lacking proper nutrition.
It is very easy to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle. With the amount of activity we pack into our lives, who has time to go to the gym or prepare proper meals? And there are so many sources of stimulation, taking time to unwind and de-stress is rarely a priority.
But if it means living a long, successful life, who has time NOT to?
The area of health and safety costs billions each year in lost productivity and related expenses, not to mention intangible personal costs. You have seen on the news where seemingly perfectly fit joggers die while running. Wellness issues apply to more than overweight and inactive individuals.
What can you do to live longer in good health?
- Take responsibility for your own health condition. Blaming others will not improve your health and will likely increase your stress levels.
- Establish your current health condition. Many of us take better care of our automobiles than we do ourselves. When was the last time you had a maintenance checkup? Have an annual checkup to benchmark your physical condition.
- Think preventative wellness and nutritional balance, not drugs and medicine. Unfortunately, the majority of medical practitioners are trained to treat, not help prevent conditions. Medical training includes very little instruction on the nutritional effects on the human body. My many doctor friends agree that more must be done to include the preventative mindset in the medical community.
- Set up a plan that will work for you and your life conditions and preferences. Be realistic.
- Take action. This is one area where just thinking about it will not help us achieve the wellness levels we all want.
- Complete the Stress Indicator and Health Planner to establish your current levels of stress and health and create a plan for moving forward.
The Stress Indicator and Health Planner (SIHP) is a great base for client health programs. It helps individuals identify their areas of unhealthy living and the main factors that lead to stress in their lives. It is designed to help participants better understand how these internal influences impact every aspect of their lives and what they can do to change them.
London Drugs is one of the many companies using the Stress Indicator and Health Planner with its staff. London Drugs is a 100% Canadian-owned company that has their focus on customer satisfaction. From Saskatchewan to British Columbia, London Drugs operates 59 stores and employs more than 6000 staff. Each one of these individuals is dedicated to providing the customer with a superior shopping experience.
A positive customer environment is difficult to create if your staff is facing huge stress levels. Training is central to London Drugs, and one of the key components is the use of the Stress Indicator and Health Planner with the staff and management team, at least once a year. Trainer Liz McNally is so impressed with the tool, she even encourages her staff to include family members in the training. The company runs a full-day stress workshop, with the afternoon session built completely around the Stress Indicator and Health Planner.
“Our participants have responded in a very positive way to the concepts and skills presented. The SIHP shows them a whole new approach to managing stress, in a manageable format,” says McNally. One of aspects of the tool that she really likes is the way the tool is divided into separate areas. Many people assume work is the major cause of stress in their lives, but stress can come from many different sources. The SIHP explores stresses caused by work, personal relationships, social situations, health and nutrition, and time.
McNally says many people find it interesting to discover where their stress is coming from. Often, it is not the workplace. By working through the SIHP, their employees finally have a way to identify their stressors and determine practical steps they can take to reduce them. In fact, a number of people come back a year later to go through the tool again to see how they have improved. With the SIHP’s bite-size components, people know where to start to improve their health.
Support your clients and employees in creating healthy lifestyles. Incorporate the Stress Indicator and Health Planner into your business today!
Ken Keis is the president and CEO of Consulting Resource Group in Abbotsford, B.C. (www.crgleader.com). He can be reached at (604) 852-0566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.