Developing a mental health wellness plan is an important part of building and maintaining mental health. If you find yourself working hard to take the steps you need to maintain your mental health wellness, but you find yourself struggling with where to begin or how to maintain consistency in your routine, it could be due to the fact that you have not yet developed a strong mental health wellness plan. Without a set plan of action that was created specifically for you, it can be hard to find the proper direction to ensure you build up the skills you need to maintain mental health wellness.
What is a Mental Health Wellness Plan?
A mental health wellness plan helps you keep track of what does and does not work for you in maintaining mental wellness. It helps you create a guide or regiment of what you need each day to maintain your mental health. It also helps you keep track of the coping skills you can utilize to ensure that you maintain the balance between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
How to Start Your Mental Health Wellness Plan
Taking the first step to building your mental health wellness plan can be a challenge. It is sometimes helpful to consult with a mental health professional, who will know how to help you begin exploring your own mental health wellness needs and what needs to be included in your mental health wellness plan.
Everyone responds differently to different mental health methods, skills, techniques, and strategies. That is why it is important to do some self-exploration and develop an understanding of what you need to incorporate into your mental health wellness plan.
Common themes in mental health wellness plans include:
- Mindfulness and meditation
- A healthy lifestyle including exercise and foods for mental health wellness
- Emotional intelligence
- Cognitive restructuring
What is Needed in Your Mental Health Wellness Plan
Once you’ve developed an understanding of what you need to create your mental health wellness plan, you want to make sure you incorporate all of the elements needed in building a strong plan that will help you build your mental health. Your plan should include:
- An understanding of your own mental health status and your needs to maintain good mental health (mental health wellness worksheets and apps can help with that).
- An understanding of your personal triggers and life stressors that may become a challenge in maintaining good mental health wellness.
- A daily regiment of mental health wellness activities to use for creating balance and structure in your mental health wellness.
- A list of coping strategies that help you cope with life stressors, emotions, unexpected circumstances and upsetting situations.
- A list of support that is available to you, including family, friends, mental health professionals, and possibly a mental health wellness center.
- A space for reflection on your progress for building mental health wellness.
- A space that provides flexibility to your mental health wellness plan, in the event that a step or element needs to be changed, modified, omitted or replaced.
- A means to maintain accountability for your mental health wellness plan, so you stick to the plan and do not stray from what you need to do to maintain your mental health wellness.
- Sitting down and putting an entire plan together all at once can seem overwhelming. Try starting with one section, then add to it as time goes along.
It’s no secret, our entire family has spent more time stationary in front of the screen more in the last nine months than ever before. Between online school, constant zoom meetings and lack of organized sports we could all medal in an Olympic couch surfing competition. We felt the pull of the couch and realized, for our little family, we are ALL better humans once we’ve had some exercise. And we don’t frame the need for activity around “getting a beach body.” We talk about the mental and physical benefits of an active lifestyle.
We have this family rule: Our kids don’t need to be professional athletes but they do need to be active most days. This doesn’t mean they need to run a marathon, obviously, but they need to get moving. Us too!
When it comes to the health of your family, it really needs to be a team effort. You can start by creating a family wellness plan to provide direction for everyone in your home.
Step One: Consider everyone’s goals, needs, and interests
Every member of your family is different and those differences need to be considered. Sit down together and make a list for each person: age, dietary restrictions, health concerns and obligations. Think about the patterns and routines that have formed in your household. Identifying what everyone needs to stay well will help you determine the best route to their individual goals.
I have created a habit of completing one of the Well Body Reset strength workouts about 5 days a week. I also strive for 10,000 steps a day. Penn has converted our garage into a mini Crossfit gym. Our son loves to run and shoot hoops in the driveway. He will run around the block, shoot the basketball, run some more etc. Lola loves tennis and the CDC has said it’s a safe sport to play right now. She and Penn will hit around most days but she wants to add running into her routine.
Step Two: Set a budget
Looking at your family members’ needs and routines, maybe it’s clear you all need more physical activity. Or maybe everyone’s gotten a bit too familiar with that food delivery app that delivers tacos and cupcakes in under 30 minutes (guilty). Examining your spending on food and activities can help you set a budget that allows for a membership to an online wellness program or a healthy food subscription service. With any budget, take all of your necessary expenses into account to see what may be off balance or where you can make room and set some new limits.
Step Three: Create a weekly schedule
Schedules, lists…they’re my drug of choice. And they keep me sane. Set a weekly family schedule for food shopping, cooking and being active all together. Teaching your kids a nutritious recipe or showing them the importance of regular exercise will set them up for a lifetime of healthier habits.
Here’s an example:
- Every Sunday: Hit the grocery store and farmer’s market. Meal prep easy breakfast and lunch options for the week together.
- Monday-Thursday: Each person logs 1 hour of physical activity. Their choice.
- Monday-Friday: Each person takes the lead making dinner on their designated night. Yes, it’s messy when the kids take over but I keep telling myself “They are developing life skills” as they use every single dish in the kitchen to prep tacos.
- Every Saturday: Family activity time. Something physical like hiking, a game of basketball, etc.
It’s not perfect every week, but it’s a good framework.
Step Four: Decide on rewards
A long-term goal for the entire family to work toward is a great way to keep everyone on track, you just need to be mindful of how you present it with kids. We all deserve to eat and to rest so words matter. Instead of saying, “Let’s eat healthy all week and on Friday nights we get pizza!” try “If we meet our goal to cook dinner five nights this week we get to order in on the weekend.” Yes, there’s a solid chance they will still pick the pizza (who wouldn’t). When it comes to physical goals, the reward could be a hiking weekend or a sporting event, maybe some new workout gear or equipment if it’s in the budget.
Step Five: Monitor your progress
Sit down together each month and see how everyone is doing. How are we feeling? How are we sleeping? How’s work and school going? Do we all hate dance cardio? (Just Penn?) Needs and goals will change over time as children age and schedules become more complicated. We have to be flexible. But it’s always important to know where everyone’s at with their health so you can make changes and stay on top of any issues. Regular encouragement never hurts as well.
And oh yeah, have some fun , too!
Does your family have a wellness plan? Share your tips for prioritizing health as a family in the comments.
Motivation alone, without a clear plan does not propel us into action – especially in the face of challenges. This year, we’re exploring the connection between happiness and good health. Wellness is being in good health or one’s best possible health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and positive well-being can influence happiness. A wellness vision can help lead to your best, healthy and happy self. Earlier this year, our Population Health Team presented on “Creating a Wellness Vision + Taking Charge of Your Thoughts.” We decided to share some key information from this presentation to help you create your wellness vision.
What is wellness?
Wellness is not the absence of disease or the opposite of illness. Wellness is the presence of well-being and the culmination of life and health-giving practices. Living well opens the door for happiness.
What is a wellness vision?
A wellness vision is clarifying a vision of what we want to gain versus what we want to lose. For example, saying “I want to walk pain free” versus “I don’t want to be in pain when I walk.” An effective wellness vision should encompass the visualized outcomes of dietary, physical activity, stress management, and overall health and wellness improvements.
How do I develop a wellness vision?
When developing a wellness vision, first focus on the following pillars for a foundation:
- Past and current successes
- Best experiences
- Values (Who do I want to be?)
- Behaviors (What activities do I want to do consistently?)
- Support (What support team and structures will I put in place?)
- Outcomes (What results do I want to achieve?)
Second, paint a picture of your vision and get detailed with your imagination. Have you ever watched a television series with a full story line? Imagine you are watching a show like this of your best, healthiest self. What does it look it? Ask yourself:
- What daily activities do you see?
- Where do you see yourself?
- Who do you envision sharing your wellness with?
- What foods do you see yourself eating?
- What does your mood feel like?
Third, focus on the key elements of your vision. Ask yourself:
- What are the most important elements in your vision? Examples may include nature, hobbies, physical activities, family and friends.
- What kind of person do you want to be when it comes to your health, fitness, or wellness? An independent person, a healthy eater, stress free and/or active with sports and activities
Fourth, build upon what works. Think about your best experiences. When have you felt like you were your healthiest self? Reflect on all of the components that went into the development of this experience. Ask yourself:
- What was your environment like at that time?
- What activities were you doing?
- What accountability strategies did you use?
- What support systems were in place?
- What was your physical activity routine?
- What were your dietary habits?
- What motivated you in the past?
Fifth, reflect your values. Focusing on values develops intrinsic motivation. Ask yourself:
- Without being modest, what do you value most about your life?
- What do you value in those you hold close to you?
- What values does your wellness vision support?
Sixth, identify your motivators. The motivating factors may come from the positive outcomes you envision from optimizing your health. Go deeper than just being healthy and look at why being health is important to you and what positive changes could come from optimizing your health. Ask yourself:
- What makes this vision really important to you?
- Why do you really want to reach this vision?
- What or who do you envision as a driver behind reaching this vision?
- What good – for you and your loved ones – will come from you reaching your vision?
Seventh, think about the challenges that you may face. Envision ways you can overcome these challenges or ways you can prevent these challenges from happening through preparation. Ask yourself:
- What strengths can you draw on to help you realize your vision and meet your challenges?
- How can the lessons from your successes in life carry over to your current challenges?
Eighth, put together a support system. Think about what people, resources, systems, and environments
you can draw on to help you realize your vision and meet your challenges. Ask yourself:
- Who can you count on to support your healthy habit changes?
- What accountability tools do you need to support your goals?
Put each of these components together to create your wellness vision which serves as your road map or North Star guide to wellness. Your wellness vision is there for you when you are feeling down or unmotivated. Use this wellness vision as a tool to help you take charge of your thoughts.
How do I take charge of my thoughts?
Harmful thoughts get in the way of your eating, fitness, and wellness goals. For example, saying “It’s too cold outside to go for a walk.” Helpful thoughts help you reach your eating, fitness, and wellness goals. For example, saying “I will dress warm for the weather and go for a walk outside.” The best way to take charge of your thoughts is to replace harmful thoughts with helpful thoughts.
Examples of harmful thoughts vs. helpful thoughts
|Harmful thoughts||Helpful thoughts|
|Exercise is boring.||I will keep trying new activities until I find one that I like.|
|I haven’t stuck to my diet at all this week.||I will plan out my meals to stay on track next week.|
|I can’t meet my eating goals because my spouse keeps making cookies.||I will ask my spouse to make something healthy instead of cookies.|
|I just know I’m going to get type 2 diabetes, since both my parents had it.||I will make the lifestyle modifications with my diet and exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes.|
Remember that wellness and happiness is a journey. If you practice the tips discussed in this article, your roadmap should be clearer. Don’t forget Aspire Health Plan members have no-cost access to an enhanced care team including health coaches who offer one-on-one telephone support to help you meet your health goals. Learn more.
We will continue to share activities and content showing how happiness can lead to better overall health. Follow along on our blog and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) and share your journey with us using the hashtag #AspireChooseHappy.
Design Your Pathway to Wellness
Use this Personal Wellness Plan to create a path to wellness that’s right for you. Come back to these questions often as the semester goes on to stay on track with your wellness goals.
Follow the steps below to create your Personal Wellness Plan or download the fillable Personal Wellness Plan Worksheet.
The following steps can also be found on the Personal Wellness Plan worksheet.
Take Inventory. Fill in the chart below to reflect your wellness in each domain right now using the following scale. Write your rating in the boxes below.
0= totally lacking
1= significantly lacking
2= moderately lacking
3=half lacking, half fulfilled
Domains of Wellness
School, time, and graduation. Includes your school satisfaction, performance, relationships, and progress toward graduation.
Understanding and responding to your emotions. Includes positive emotional experiences and how you respond to life’s challenges.
Your sense of safety, comfort, and connection with your physical surroundings.
Includes your earning, spending, and saving practices and comfort/satisfaction with your financial situation.
Your daily interactions, the qualities of your relationships, and your satisfaction with time spent interacting with others.
Includes job satisfaction, performance, and professional development.
How you experience your body. It includes physical activity, nutrition, medical care, body image, and energy/vitality.
Your sense of connection to something larger than yourself, values, meaning, ethics, or faith.
Stage of Life Wellness
Includes life skills and experience, problem-solving and decision-making, and self-awareness.
Optional Step 1B:
It can be helpful to visualize the domains of wellness together in a wellness wheel. If you have a sheet of paper you can draw on, fill in the chart below using your ratings from above. *You can also complete a free wellness wheel assessment online.
Shade the number of spaces that reflects your wellness in this area:
0= totally empty (no spaces filled)
1= significantly empty
2= moderately empty
3=half empty, half full
6=completely full (all spaces filled)
empty wellness wheel on transparent png.png
Step 2: Take a minute to reflect on this experience.
What were your gut reactions to filling out this chart?
Step 3: Name what’s working.
What domains of life are working the best right now? What can you learn from this?
Step 4: Identify your efforts.
In which domains have you invested your time, energy, and effort? What does this say about your values and priorities? What can you learn from this?
Step 5: Name opportunities for growth.
What domains are struggling right now? Where are you stuck? Try to come at this question with the attitude that this is an opportunity for growth rather than a failure.
Step 6: Make your plan.
List one to three domains of wellness that you’d like to explore further. You could choose to strengthen an already thriving domain or give extra attention to an opportunity for growth.
Next, review the tips and resources for those domains available through Pathways to Wellness.
After you’ve reviewed the tips and resources, name at least one SMART goal for each domain you listed. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, and timely. Try to phrase your goal in a way that lets you know exactly what you intend to do, how you’ll know when you’ve achieved it, and when you plan to assess your progress.
Examples of SMART goals:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep 3 nights in the next week.
- Contact my advisor to set up an appointment in the next week.
- Buy a planner for school tonight.
What are your SMART goals?
Step 7: Use your resources.
There are so many resources available to Arizona students. Use these links to explore the resources available to you in each domain of wellness. Name at least one resource you’d like to utilize as part of your Personal Wellness Plan.
What resource(s) would you like to use or learn more about?
Step 8: Seal it in with a quick imagination exercise.
Before you go, take a few minutes to imagine what it will look like to work toward the goals you set.
Begin by settling yourself. Find a comfortable place to sit and allow your eyes to rest on an object in your environment. Try to notice your peripheral vision as you do this. Let your body relax and your mind focus on the goals you’d like work on.
From this place, consider these questions.
- What would you see, feel, hear, smell, taste while working toward this goal?
- What would working toward this goal do for you emotionally? Physically? Mentally? What other outcomes can you expect from working toward this goal?
- What deeper meaning or purpose does this goal have in your life? How would things change for the better if you achieved this goal?
- Write down a word or phrase that reminds you of your goal and the deeper meaning behind it. Return to this word whenever you need a boost in energy or motivation.
You’re all set! Come back to your Personal Wellness Plan to review your goals and assess your progress.
Bonus Tips for Setting Goals and Building Healthy Habits
If you are familiar with Wellness Recovery Action Plan, you may be unsure of how to apply it to your life or too overwhelmed to try. But, the good news is that making your personal WRAP is not complicated!
Perhaps you have heard of WRAP, or maybe it is something completely new to you. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan and has been helping people achieve their recovery goals since it was developed in 1997. Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, created WRAP with a group of people who wanted a better way to navigate recovery.
If you are familiar with WRAP you may be unsure of how to apply it to your life. I first learned about WRAP three years ago from my therapist. She is a big proponent of WRAP and how it has helped countless people recovering from a mental health diagnosis. WRAP is even employed for people recovering from physical health issues, and other life circumstances apart from mental illness.
When my therapist showed me the plan however, I immediately recoiled. It looked long and complicated, and since at the time I was so depressed, it seemed like more trouble than it was worth. For three years my therapist encouraged me to try it, to develop small sections at a time, and see if it could help me. And for three years I resisted. Mostly out of my state of depression and sense of futility for everything I encountered, but partially because it seemed like a complicated and daunting process.
However, a few months ago I ended up in the hospital yet again and decided it was finally time to give this WRAP thing a try. Since I completed my WRAP I have been better able to communicate with my support team and better able to recognize the signs and symptoms that manifest in my own experience of bipolar disorder.
And the good news is – WRAP is not complicated! It is completely up to you as to how you want to fill in your WRAP because Dr. Copeland created it on the premise that each of us is the expert on ourselves and that there are no limits to recovery. So while having a therapist help you create your plan can be useful, it is something you can take complete control of yourself.
The first section of WRAP is called the Wellness Toolbox. In it you list the tools you employ to stay well and things you might want to try to help yourself feel well every day. This list could include things like taking a relaxing bath, eating five small meals, talking to a friend, or spending time with your pet.
The next section is called the Daily Maintenance Plan and includes several parts. The first part is an overview of what you’re like when you’re well so you can recognize it in yourself, and refer to your list when you are not feeling well. For example, when you’re depressed it can be hard to remember what life was like before the depression, what you liked to do and what gave you motivation. Writing these things down or even drawing or placing a picture of yourself in this section can be a wonderful reminder. The second part outlines what you need to do every day to stay well and could include things like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and getting some exercise. The third part lists things you might need to do on certain days to stay well and could include things such as paying bills, going grocery shopping, and vacuuming your house.
Next there is the Triggers section. In this section you write a list of your triggers and how you will handle them. For example, if a trigger is talking to a certain person, your action plan could be talking to someone else supportive or writing in your journal.
The next section details the Early Warning Signs that you may not be doing well, and how you will handle it when you notice yourself feeling poorly. For example, you may notice that you stop showering every day, and in that case you can create a plan to motivate yourself to do so. Maybe it’s as simple as buying some new body wash that smells good and relaxes you. Or perhaps you will ask someone else to hold you accountable.
Once you’ve identified your triggers and signs that you are not feeling well, you can then delve into the section on When Things Are Breaking Down. I wrote extensively about this in a previous post, which you can view for more detail. Signs things are breaking down will be different for each person, so it’s important to know where your limits are and create a plan for dealing with them before they happen.
The next major section of WRAP is called My Crisis Plan. Follow this link for a PDF of the WRAP crisis plan you can print out and use for yourself. The Crisis Plan incorporates your list from part one of what you’re like when you’re well. Then you make a list of signs that others need to take over because you can no longer properly care for yourself. You will also make a list of supporters and their contact information, and the things that they can do specifically to help you feel better. Next, create a list of people you do NOT want involved in your care and why. You can also include a plan for how your supporters will settle disputes about your care. Also, create a list of medications, treatments, and facilities you do and do not want to use. Then create a list of your medications and physicians. You can also include a plan to get the help you need by staying at home, or in the community through a respite center. Lastly, this section includes a list of signs that indicate the crisis plan can be inactivated because you are feeling better.
The last part of WRAP is the Post Crisis Plan. This section is also very in depth and includes things such as how you will know you’re out of the crisis, how you would like to feel, people you can go to for support, and people you may need to avoid or apologize to. It also includes a list of what you’ll need to take care of since you’ve been away, either in the hospital or simply home and away from work and your regular life.
Once you’ve completed your WRAP plan you can share it with your support team and even have it signed in the presence of two witnesses or appoint a power of attorney. These measures will help ensure that your plan is followed.
I hope you enjoy creating your WRAP plan and that it provides comfort and structure for your recovery. Please feel free to ask questions or help each other out in the comments section here as well!
The Body Love Coach, Yoga Instructor, and Writer behind Body Love Tribe
Air-fare, lodging, meals, admission fees — yoga and wellness retreats can get expensive. As a certified yoga instructor who attends and hosts multiple retreats per year, I know this fact all too well. While I highly recommend saving for a getaway wellness retreat for all the soul-soothing joy and relaxation, there is another way. Get out your planner, schedule in your getaway retreat, and start saving. While you have your planner out, schedule your very own at-home retreat in the meantime.
An at-home retreat is both simple and affordable. It offers a welcomed reprieve from the daily hustle and bustle right in the comfort of your own home and neighborhood. It’s the wellness weekend you’ve been needing — relaxation, self-care, healthy meals, physical activity, and all your favorite wellness treatments.
Call the babysitter, turn off your phone, and follow these 7 simple steps to create an at-home wellness retreat.
1. Reserve an entire weekend.
Schedule a Friday evening through a Sunday afternoon for your at-home wellness retreat. Mark it on your calendar. Tell your friends and family that you will be busy that weekend. Treat this retreat just as you would any other retreat.
2. Create an agenda.
Just like at a sleepaway retreat, give yourself an agenda. Schedule your activities, meals, and downtime. Type them up, print them out, and carry them with you throughout the weekend.
3. Plan your meals.
Plan ahead. Create a menu. Shop for groceries and prep as much as you can ahead of time, minimizing dishes and added work during mealtimes. Added bonus – By planning ahead, you will be able to treat yourself to healthy meals throughout the weekend just as you would have if you were away at a retreat center.
4. Schedule both energizing and relaxing activities.
Activities can take place at home or at your favorite local yoga studio, spa, gym, dance studio, etc. For online yoga classes, Yoga Glo is a fantastic resource. Browse Wellness Mama for great DIY home and beauty recipes.
A sample day might look something like this – morning meditation and journaling, mid-morning yoga flow class, afternoon massage, evening restorative yoga, bedtime meditation and journaling
Turn off your phone. No emails, no social media, and ignore the TV – your favorite shows will be there on Monday. Everything is going to be fine.
6. Pack a bag.
Set aside clothes, a yoga mat, your journal, and other items you would bring on retreat. Have them ready to go. No need to think about what to wear. No need to search for your journal, pens, or yoga props. They’re all set aside and ready to go, just as they would be when you arrive at a retreat center.
7. Schedule down-time.
Make room for “Do-Nothing-Time.” This is the time to soak in all your blissful wellness activities, to reflect, and to cherish this experience. Too often on retreat we try to cram in as many activities as we can and before we know it that early morning meditation is more stressful than blissful.
Seven simple steps is all you need to have a blissful, relaxing weekend. Go ahead and enjoy your soul-soothing at-home wellness retreat!
HuffPost’s GPS for the Soul app is based on two truths about human beings. First: We all have a centered place of wisdom, harmony and balance within us. Second: We’re all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. What we need is a great course-correcting mechanism — a GPS for the Soul — to help us find our way back to that centered place, from which everything is possible.
Creating a wellness committee is a concrete first step an organization can take to foster a culture of clinician wellness.
Clinician well-being is not only critical to enhancing patient safety, but plays an important role in recruiting and retaining physicians. Stress in the medical workplace is generated by:
- Increasing internal and external complexity
- Greater pressure and accountability
- Lack of work/life balance
- Loss of autonomy and control
- Loss of revenue and higher costs of practice
- Rising number of malpractice suits and cost of insurance
An organizational commitment to create a Clinician Wellness Committee typically begins with recognition of the physician as a precious resource by the executive leadership team.
How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee
- Get buy in from executive leaders – their support is necessary
- Find executive champion
- Use toolbox resources including:
- Elevator Speech
- Rationale, fast facts
- Return on investment calculator
- Invite clinicians (physicians and APPs) from various departments and clinics within the system (inpatient, outpatient, surgical, primary care, etc.)
- Try to get a mix of in terms of age, years worked at institution and gender so all voices represented
Determine the Clinician Wellness Committee’s Role
Clinician Wellness Committees can take on a variety of roles, including education, support and consultation. In general, these committees do not conduct formal interventions; those are more often handled by a medical executive or outside professional due to potential legal liability, confidentiality and mandated reporting requirements. Some potential activities of a Clinician Wellness Committee include:
- Hosting regular wellness seminars or programs
- Fostering support groups for clinicians dealing with similar situations; e.g., facing litigation; dealing with grief; feeling overwhelmed by work processes.
- Offering peer-to-peer coaching
How to Create a Clinician Wellness Committee Charter
Clinician Wellness Committees should be governed by a charter. In general, charters contain the following elements:
- Purpose: Brief explanation of Committee’s role
- Scope: What the Committee will and won’t do (e.g., committee will undertake educational events and provide one to one support but will not organize support groups)
- Objectives/Outcomes: What the committee hopes to accomplish
- Measures of Success: How will the committee know it has reached its objectives
- Learning and Support Needs: What does the committee need to be successful
In addition, the charter should address important administrative considerations including:
Some hardworking people prioritize their job over health. They skip lunch and stay up late to get the job done. They don’t have time to exercise because they work all the time. And they never take a sick or personal day.
This is an admiral yet foolish approach to work. Personal health always needs to come first. It’s the key to living a long and fulfilling life.
Being in good physical and mental shape also sets a person up to be great at their job. Many companies understand this and offer their employees a series of benefits and activities that promote health and well-being. This is known as an employee wellness program.
In this business guides, you’ll learn the advantages of a wellness program and the steps for implementing one in your company.
What are the benefits of a wellness program?
It can be hard to see the advantages of an employee wellness program at first glance. But the truth is healthy employees bring an array of benefits to the businesses they work for. Here are a few benefits of having an employee wellness program.
- More productive employees
There are numerous studies that suggest a healthy lifestyle correlates with increased productivity. Don’t believe us? Next time you hit a rut, get your heart rate up and you’ll likely get back in the zone.
- Less office stress
Too many people and companies accept workplace stress as the norm. But it leads to burnout, which can result in higher employee turnover.
- Less colds, flu and other illnesses
Everyone knows healthy practices prevents illness. And business proceeds as usual when less sick days are taken.
- Fewer office-related injuries
Taking a break to exercise or just stretch prevents common office injuries, resulting in fewer worker compensation claims.
- Happier employees
Offering a wellness program leads to happier employees. They’ll appreciate the benefit and be generally positive because they’re leading a healthy life.
What to include in an employee wellness program
Gym membership reimbursements or office yoga classes might come to mind when someone thinks of an employee wellness program. These are great activities to offer but a quality program can include so much more. Here are some activities and benefits you can offer that cover all areas of employee health.
Anyone who works 40+ hours per week in an office setting needs to find time to move around and exercise. Some companies are fortunate enough to have an on-site gym or fitness classes but these perks aren’t feasible for most.
You can instead reimburse employees for fitness-related purchases or encourage your staff to form after-work exercise groups. Another idea is to use Fitbits or other wearable technology to track the activity of your employees and reward the most active people.
General health benefits
Exercise is good for the immune system but there is more you can to do to help your employees fight off illness.
During the winter, you can offer flu shots and make it known that employees are to stay home if they have a bug. It’s also a good idea to have a stocked first aid kit and a private “wellness room” where people can tend to personal health needs.
Mental health & stress-release activities
Stress is a silent killer that can trigger serious health problems. It also goes hand-in-hand with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
First and foremost, make sure no one is burning the candle on both ends. You can institute an office closing time to ensure everyone leaves at a reasonable hour. You can also require employees to take time off when they’ve incurred a certain number of PTO days.
And you can of course offer activities like yoga classes and massages that help people with mindfulness while working.
Some employees prefer to sweat and blow off steam on their own and that’s totally fine. However, they still may enjoy activities that help them get to know their colleagues better.
Consider offering social activities like an office book club, game nights and whatever else your employee enjoy doing. Smiling and laughing is an important part of health too.
Community service activities
Many people feel good when they help others. Doing good deeds is fulfilling and can help keep things in perspective.
You can organize a volunteer day for your staff to go into the community and help out. You can also encourage your employees to organize groups and fundraisers for causes that mean a lot to them.
Team building activities
One of the secondary benefits of a wellness program is that many of activities strengthen the bonds between team members.
An after work jogging group, a book club and volunteer days will all make your employees closer than they were before.
How to create an employee wellness program
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of a wellness program and what to include, let’s talk about how you can implement a successful program. Here are some basic steps for getting an employee wellness program going in your workplace.
- Set goals that benefit the company & staff
Creating a wellness program is a fun project project but don’t lose sight of why you’re doing it. Make sure every part of your program benefits both the company and staff.
- Form a team to create the employee wellness program
Creating a comprehensive wellness program can take a lot of work and a long time so it’s a good idea to put a team on the project. The team will likely be lead by HR but should also include executives, people from finance and others who are interested in promoting a healthy workplace.
- Get to work planning the program
With your team in place, start planning what your program should look like. Form a budget, research ideas and get input from your employees. When the time is right, call a company-wide meeting to announce the new wellness program and get into the details. Make sure your employees know everything it includes so they can they can get the most out it.
- Get feedback and optimize your wellness program
A successful employee wellness program is never done. Your team should always be open to feedback and new ideas so the program improves and employees get even healthier.
Healthy employees means a healthy business
An employee wellness program is more than just a cool employee perk. It’s an effective way to ensure your employees are in the right shape to do their best work.
If you’re interested in learning more, check out our blog post “Companies Can and Should Take on Employee Stress“
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This Employee Wellness Program Policy is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies. Good employee health can make a difference in the workplace. Use this policy sample to get some good employee wellness program ideas. The employee wellness program policy may also be called an employee wellness policy, corporate wellness policy, workplace wellness policy or company wellness policy.
Policy brief & purpose
Our employee wellness program policy describes our company’s wellness initiatives that promote employee health. We want our employees to have access to wellness resources and a personalized wellness plan.
Employee wellness programs have many benefits. Wellness helps people become more productive. It can reduce the number of sick days employees take and various sickness-related expenses and accidents. But, most importantly, employee wellness is a vital aspect of building a happier workplace.
This employee wellness program policy applies to all our employees. We may offer our wellness program as part of a group health plan or separately.
Our company provides a wellness program that promotes employee health and disease prevention. Each employee can have a personalized wellness plan and a variety of wellness resources.
What is a wellness program for employees?
Our wellness program has several goals. For example, we want to help our employees:
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Improve their physical strength and stamina
This list isn’t exhaustive. We aim to promote every outcome that will make our employees healthier. Some training or courses aim to prevent occupational accidents and promote correct use of equipment and material on the job. These fall under the purview of our workplace health and safety policy.
Wellness resources include any kind of information, advice, activity, facility, equipment and membership that promotes employee health (physical, emotional and psychological) and fitness.
Here are the wellness resources available:
- [Nap room]
- [Yoga classes]
- [Fitness activities]
- [Gym membership]
- [Access to a wellness coach]
- [Nutritious snacks and drinks]
- [Stress management seminars]
- [Nutrition/Health information classes]
Resources like the nap room and nutritious snacks are readily available to everyone. If employees want to sign up for other resources like gym membership and fitness classes, or have a wellness plan set for them, they should refer to our [Human Resources (HR) department/Wellness committee.]
As part of our wellness program, we may use third-party vendors such as gyms, wellness centers, coaches, physicians and health education providers. Physicians or health experts may ask employees to answer assessment questions and take biometric screenings to determine their health risk and help them follow a suitable program. Questions and screenings are voluntary and regulated.
We may also host competitions among our employees, like 8-week weight loss contests. Participating in these contests is also voluntary.
Team leaders’ responsibilities
Team leaders should work with the HR department to communicate our wellness initiatives to their team members. They should tell their team members:
- That our company offers a wellness program
- How and when they can use our wellness resources
- That they can get personalized wellness plans
- Who employees can refer to for more details
We advise team leaders to encourage their team members to participate and be open to discuss any concerns when needed.
We want to encourage our employees to participate in our wellness programs, so we’ll provide employee wellness program incentives. We’ll also offer rewards for employees who achieve their wellness objectives, as they’re formed in their personalized wellness plan. Incentives and rewards may be:
- [Time off]
- [Reductions in insurance premiums]
- [Other gifts and awards]
Incentives and rewards may be regulated by law. We’ll follow legal limitations at all times.
Employees with Disabilities
We can make reasonable accommodations for our employees with disabilities to help them have equal access to our wellness program. Our HR department will consult with physicians and wellness experts to help our employees with disabilities have a suitable wellness plan.
The same applies to employees who can’t participate in certain wellness activities due to age, pregnancy or other reason. We want everyone to have access to wellness plans and resources they can use. We’ll also pay any wellness incentives to all our employees who participate in our wellness programs without discriminating against protected characteristics.
We encourage our employees to reach out to our HR department. They can explain their situation and discuss options. These discussions and any relevant information will be kept confidential.
Legality of wellness program
Our company will handle any health insurance and wellness plans with attention to relevant legal guidelines.
Genetic information and disability
Confidentiality and respect to our employees’ rights are important to us. We won’t:
- use any genetic information and disability status to disadvantage our employees in any way.
- use wellness incentives in exchange for genetic information or information on our employees’ health condition or that of their family.
- try to coerce employees into providing health/genetic information or taking medical examinations.
We will let employees know what health information we need for our wellness program, who will be able to see it and why. All data will be kept confidential and our company will be able to access aggregated data.
We encourage employees to participate in our wellness program but their participation is voluntary . There won’t be any punishment or adverse action for employees who choose not to use our wellness resources and program.
Any incentives that encourage employees to participate in our wellness programs will always be within legal guidelines. We’ll give the same incentive to all employees who participate in our wellness program, regardless of disability or health risk.
Our wellness program will be designed with employee health in mind. It won’t be unpleasant, too time-consuming or require heavy spending by our employees. We can create personalized wellness plans for each employee. We always welcome ideas and suggestions for our employee wellness program.
The latest on employee wellness
Wouldn’t it be great to have an unlimited budget to invest in your employee wellness program? Imagine the rewards you could offer, the unique challenges you could try, the workplace wellness perks you could provide.
A full-time, onsite health food chef? Sure! Smartwatches for everyone? Why not?
Sadly, the sky is rarely the limit when it comes to creating an employee wellness program. You will likely have to make tough decisions and pass on some appealing—but too costly—options.
The good news? An effective and appealing wellness program doesn’t require an unlimited budget. If you spend your funds wisely, you can build a wellness program your employees use and love, and that strengthens your organization’s bottom line.
How Much Does a Wellness Program Cost?
We got down into the particulars on the price of an employee wellness program in our new resource, “What Do Employee Wellness Programs Cost? ” In that guide, we identified eight main factors that drive the cost of employee wellness programs:
- Incentives. These are the rewards that motivate your employees to participate and succeed in wellness challenges.
- The platform. An online, cloud-based tool used to organize your wellness program and monitor participation. Typically, employees get access to individual portals where they can enroll in challenges and activities and track their progress.
- Coaching. Wellness coaches motivate and advise employees one-on-one or in group sessions. Coaches may either reach out to employees with high healthcare costs or wait for employees to come to them.
- Biometric screening. Onsite tests for your employees that measure their vital statistics, evaluate their health, and serve as goal-setting benchmarks.
- Staffing. Industry best practices call for having at least half of a full-time position dedicated to administering your corporate wellness program.
- Analytics. Advanced data analysis to examine your organization’s healthcare spending and identify opportunities to reduce costs.
- Amenities and activities. “Add-ons” to your wellness program such as optional amenities (onsite gyms, healthy food and drink choices), classes (yoga or meditation instructors), and group activities (fitness retreats).
- Promotion. Getting the word out about your wellness program in the form of flyers, signs, newsletters, email, and rallies.
Of these eight cost factors, incentives are, by far, the most expensive. But, incentives are also the most essential expense. Corporate wellness programs that don’t offer incentives see an average participation rate of only 20%. Those that do offer incentives get twice as much participation.
Online platforms are also crucial elements of modern employee wellness programs. Platforms make managing a wellness program easier and more efficient for participants and administrators.
For example, when Indiana Regional Medical Center switched from managing their wellness program manually with pen and paper to the WellRight platform, participation jumped over 85%. The wellness program director praised the platform’s “simple, easy-to-understand layout,” which was a “huge selling-point” to employees.
As for the remaining six cost factors, choose the options that best align with your budget and objectives. Keep in mind, however, that while each of these items comes with a cost, they may also pay for themselves by helping to reduce healthcare expenses or by increasing participation in your wellness program.
For example, wellness coaching has been shown to reduce monthly health and pharmacy costs by an average of 3.6% per person and cut hospital admissions by over 10%.
If you’re just launching your wellness program, a biometric health screening event may be a particularly worthwhile investment. You can use the biometric screening data to focus your wellness program on the activities and resources your employees need most, which can save you from wasting time and money on efforts that simply aren’t needed.
The ROI of a Wellness Program
So far, we’ve only discussed the cost of an employee wellness program. But employee wellness is an investment that can directly lead to financial benefits for your company.
So, when your leadership team inevitably asks about the potential ROI of a well-planned and well-executed employee wellness program, here are some facts to bolster your case:
- Healthier employees are more focused and productive. Companies with effective wellness programs report 11% higher revenue per employee and 28% greater shareholder returns .
- Wellness programs teach employees how to deal with stressful lives and jobs. This reduces the burnout that leads to absenteeism and job-hopping. Of U.S. workers, 45% in small- and medium-sized businesses say they would stay at their jobs longer if they had access to a wellness program.
- Wellness programs attract top talent .
- Employee wellness programs can take a dramatic bite out of healthcare spending. Researchers studied one corporate wellness program and found that, for every dollar the company spent on the program, the company saved $6 in healthcare costs .
Savvy companies understand the benefits of investing in their people. Just as they provide ongoing training to help employees grow and excel in their roles, so should they provide ongoing wellness support, to help these same employees grow and excel as healthy, engaged, well-rounded people. By engaging in careful planning, you can develop a successful wellness program that gives your organization the best of both worlds: A healthy balance sheet and a healthy workforce.
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A proposal is simply a convincing argument in support of an idea. Therefore, a proposal to start an employee wellness program in the workplace must convince management that the idea is a good one that will have a positive financial impact.
Wellness programs provide information and incentives to improve employee health and reduce behaviors that affect work performance. More companies starting looking at the benefits employee wellness programs during COVID-19 waves that occured. No matter the subject, a proposal needs certain elements to make a strong argument. Reviewing the elements of a sample corporate wellness proposal letter and report will help you make your case better.
Introduction and Summary
The introduction should give the reader an immediate reason to keep reading and introduce your wellness program goals and objectives. In the case of a report executive summary, include a benefit like, “XYZ Corp. can significantly reduce employee sick days, increase productivity and efficiency and decrease health care costs by introducing a multi-faceted, low-cost employee wellness cost.”
Include in the summary a definition of an employee wellness program. One you could use comes from the Wellness Council of America, saying it is an organized program that assists employees and family members to voluntarily make choices that improve health and productivity. Condense the proposal introduction into one or two paragraphs and include a few highlights from the sections that follow. The remaining section will flesh out the proposal idea, providing all information management needs to make a decision.
Research Your Outcomes
Use research to explain why the employee wellness program is needed or why it is a good idea. A survey of employees will show workplace interest. The information and facts are all there to recommend the employee wellness program as a good idea, starting with the 1990s when the programs became increasingly popular. The Wellness Council of America says use of the workplace to promote health and safety was recognized as a win-win proposition for employers and employees.
Find research that supports statements about the effectiveness of employee wellness programs in meeting stated goals. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a variety of benefits of employee wellness programs at its website.
Goals and Objectives
List the goals and objectives for the wellness program in the first year or two. A modest plan might involve establishing the program, providing health and wellness information and a few fitness activities. Use a resource like the Wellness Council of America for ideas. The goals and objectives you choose depend on how much time, effort and resources the company and employees are willing to invest in the program. For instance, your year-one goal might be to have 85 percent participation instead of measurable behavioral changes that affect health.
Coordination, Cost and Conclusion
Explain who will coordinate the wellness program. The proposal might recommend a committee comprised of employees and health care professionals to plan, implement and monitor the program. Lay out the plan for marketing the program, generating employee interest and partnering with local health-care entities.
Discuss the cost of the program and the source of funding. Create a budget to lay out the resources needed to launch and operate the program over the first year. Reiterate in the conclusion the importance and effectiveness of employee wellness plans and the interest of employees in having the program.
Formatting Your Document
Start with a cover page, followed by a contents page. Begin the contents with a brief (half-page) executive summary, followed by the information you are going to cover, put into a few different sections. Finish with a summary and then add any supporting documents in an appendix.
As with any proposal, format is an important device for organizing the information so readers can make sense of it and follow your argument. Create a professional document with attention to font, margins, spelling and grammar. Use a cover page and binding, if appropriate. The care with which you produce your proposal will help to make your case by impressing management from the start with your hard work.
- Wellness Council of America: Wellness Programs Work
- CDC.gov: CDC: Half of Workplaces Offer Health/Wellness Programs
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.
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With my personal health and wellness plan, health and wellness are related terms. We define health as a state of well being that encompasses mind, body, spirit and community. Wellness is an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions towards a more balanced and full filling life. With my personal health and wellness plan, I am looking forward to improve my health and being through a stable plan to secure a happy life. I believe this plan can rejoice with my family and loved ones.
My plan helps me cover different aspects of life.
I have a plan to lose around 10 pounds by doing exercise and brisk walk for half an hour. Participation in higher education program to give babies and toddlers quality care, based on current research on social, emotional, cognitive and development.
Elements of physical fitness and nutrition:
I do daily workout to improve my physical fitness and take healthy and balanced diet.
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Breakfast – Light Breakfast.
Morning snack – Tea and rich fibre cookies.
Lunch – Home made sandwich.
Dinner – Proper meal with my family members.
For stress management, I do pray daily and meditation before bed time. Mostly I go to Gurudwara for mind relaxation. Read holy books and take guidance from books.
Spend more time with family members and children and try to take advice from them.
Being financially stable is as integral part of personal wellness. Managing cash flows risks through risk management and insurance techniques.
You won’t be charged yet!
Planning for the reduction of tax liabilities and freeing-up of cash flows for other purpose.
Helping others and being able to recognize the contributions of others fulfills the esteem needs. Finding people and make connections contributes to love and belonging needs. Work together on a shared problem helps meet the self esteem. It is easier to maintain a health and wellness program if you build in rewards. This is especially important if you have had difficulty staying on a diet or exercise program in the past.
The reward should be smaller and more frequent in the beginning with a continuous build up toward a big reward once major goals are reached. A special vacation might be an ultimate reward. New clothes, jewellery or other luxury items might be an intermediate rewards. But you don’t get a record unless you complete the plan and reach the goals you set of yourself. Of course that would be its own reward, but it’s our health and wellness – work steady and hard and then enjoys our self.
Wellness is not merely the absence of illness or distress – it is a lifelong process of making decisions to live a more balanced and meaningful life.
There are always opportunities for enhancing your wellness. A good way to start is by evaluating your current state and establishing systems to guide you towards a fuller sense of well-being.
The Wellness Wheel describes the integration of 7 important dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.
Remember that it can be unrealistic or exhausting for you to be working on all 7 dimensions at the same time. Identify which dimension you need to focus on right now, and start making an action plan.
Take a Self-Assessment and Make an Action Plan
- Princeton University community members: Log in using your NetID to take the electronic Princeton UMatter Wellness Self-Assessment, develop an action plan, and have your results emailed to you.
- Non-Princeton University users: Create an account to access the electronic Princeton UMatter Wellness Self-Assessment, develop an action plan, and have your results emailed to you.
- Print and use the Princeton UMatter Wellness Self-Assessment (PDF)*.
* DISCLAIMER: The Princeton UMatter Wellness Self-Assessment is a tool created by Princeton University’s UMatter initiative. It is intended for individual level self-reflection and goal-setting. In its current form, it is not a validated tool and should not be used for research or diagnostic purposes. It is not an objective assessment of wellness, but rather individual perception of wellness. We do not support use in a profit-based setting. Permission for appropriate use, outside of individual reflection, is required. Please complete this form to request use of the tool for those purposes.
Now that you’ve identified areas of wellness you thrive in and those areas that may need greater attention through the Wellness Self-Assessment, start developing an action plan with concrete and realistic steps you can take towards healthier habits and better well-being. You can use our UMatter Wellness Guide to help you.
Come back to this tool periodically to see how your wellness changes over time and to review the impact of working on your goals.
Princeton community members, if you wish to discuss the results with someone or have concerns about your score, please contact us. Undergraduate and graduate students can also request a Wellness Wheel Workshop for a facilitated session.
Learn about each dimension of wellness and related campus-resources to help you take action:
- Emotional Wellness
- Environmental Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Occupational Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Social Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
Your team’s productivity and sense of worth could depend on it.
Almost every company has some type of wellness program, but their effectiveness varies widely. In many cases, the programs are viewed as a box to be checked off, but you want more for your employees. You want to support them in a way that boosts productivity, increases engagement and decreases stress. When employees do not have access to the resources they need to manage their stress, it creates a feeling of helplessness. If this feeling continues over a long period of time, it can impair teamwork and lower levels of creativity and innovation. Helplessness erodes employees’s self-confidence, optimism and sense of belonging and causes serotonin levels to drop.
fizkes | Getty Images
Fortunately, when you design an effective health and wellness program, you can transform your organization. Sound appealing? Here are four steps that you can follow.
1. Design a comprehensive EAP program.
Do you have an Employee Assistance Program, or EAP? How effective is it? If there’s room for improvement, it’s best to go back to the drawing board. What different services can be incorporated into your EAP program? You shouldn’t try to come up with the solutions alone. Ask your employees what mental and physical challenges they are facing. Try to address as many different needs as possible and prioritize the most common ones. Consider services like career planning and financial and legal advice. Think about support for weight loss, smoking cessation, mental health and addiction. Did you know that stress is the number one reason employees access EAPs? As a leader, when you provide useful resources to combat stress, it has a ripple effect, contributing to stress decreases, productivity increases and retention increases.
2. Design a comprehensive wellness program.
Like peanut butter and jam, EAPs are complemented by EAP wellness programs. Do you have a wellness program? What does it look like? If you’re less than satisfied with it, think about what an ideal wellness program looks like. You can use surveys and interviews to better understand your employees’s needs. Consider fitness reimbursements, on-site gyms, health screenings, vaccination clinics, transportation reimbursements and mindfulness training. As a leader, when you develop an effective and comprehensive wellness program, it’s not only a powerful recruiting tactic, but it also enables you to proactively and reactively manage stress.
3. Establish strong communication channels.
EAPs and wellness programs can become hidden secrets. You’ve probably experienced this yourself. You don’t want to let your hard work in designing a health and wellness plan go to waste. It’s important to build constant communication channels to inform employees of the details of each program and any changes that are made. Try to use a lot of channels — including town halls, corporate FAQs, external consultants and events — to communicate the benefits of each program and how they will make them more effective. Transparency is key. When communication is strong, engagement increases and your stress-management efforts are more effective.
4. Monitor engagement and usage.
Your health and wellness program should be fluid and transforming. Employees’s needs and wants can change in a heartbeat, so you need to constantly evaluate whether or not you have created effective programs. You can do this by setting up feedback channels, including interviews and surveys, for employees to voice concerns and opinions. Try to identify where challenges exist. Are programs difficult to understand? Is awareness an issue? Are certain features not valuable? Do employees want certain features? Only when you understand how effective your EAP and wellness programs are and why can you confidently evaluate whether you’re helping your employees succeed.
Most importantly, take good care of yourself.
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You probably have a corporate mission statement where you work, but have you ever thought of creating a wellness mission statement?
This type of mission statement is just like any corporate statement in that it’s meant to guide your wellness program. Your wellness mission statement should drive your goals and clarify what you’re doing in employee wellness.
Why Create a Wellness Mission Statement?
Having a mission statement is a great way to clarify the intentions of your employee wellness program. It not only briefly explains what you do, but why you do it and where you want to go with it.
Your wellness mission statement can also be used as a reference point. Any corporate wellness goal you set should stem from your mission statement. This helps to simplify your wellness strategy by defining a clear direction for your wellness program to go.
Finally, a mission statement can help to identify a persona for your program. If your program is cohesive and visible, it’s more attractive to your employees. This can really help with employee engagement and wellness buy-in.
Ultimately, a mission statement can help your wellness program in a lot of the same ways your corporate mission helps your business. It provides clarity, direction and relatability for employee wellness where you work.
How to Create a Wellness Mission Statement?
This type of wellness strategy is obviously specific to your company, your organizational culture and the culture of wellness you’ve created in your workplace. There’s really no single “right way” to create a wellness mission statement. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get the process going.
Convey Value: Really get to the core of why your program is important. This might even include an emotional appeal.
Encourage Engagement: Be sure your program sounds like something with which people want to be involved.
Be Reasonable: Only include realistic statements. Don’t shoot for the moon, but create a clear and reasonable wellness mission.
Be Relevant: Appeal to your employees by appealing to the work they do. Your statement should be relevant to what’s going on where you work.
Keep it Short and Sweet: Ensure your statement is clear and focused. Get rid of the extra language and the fluff. Keep it simple and powerful.
Choose Your Goals: Mission statements can be focused on short-term or long-term goals. Be sure to choose just one and really dig in.
Test It: Just as you build your program with employee feedback, you should build your mission statement with employee feedback.
Utilize It: Revisit your statement at any chance you get. Look at it to make goals, to keep it up to date or for simple motivation.
Focus on Substance: Official, professional language is nice. But when it gets in the way of a fruitful statement, it’s probably unnecessary.
Creating a wellness mission statement can be a very effective step towards an effective wellness strategy. Identifying the mission of your employee wellness program provides clarity, direction and relatability. It can even be pretty simple to create!
Have you created a wellness mission statement?
If you have, share it with us in the comments below. If you haven’t, do some brainstorming. We’d love to hear what you come up with in the comments, too.
At a high level, population health and wellness programs generally all share the same goal: to help people live healthier lives. But how can you be sure the wellness programs you’re developing will actually move the needle when it comes to meeting people where they are in their wellness journey and guiding them along the path toward well-being?
The answer may lie in building SMART goals for your wellness programs. SMART goals are:
- Specific – Clearly state what you want to accomplish
- Measurable – Be clear on how you will track goal accomplishment
- Action-oriented – Include actions that move you closer to achieving the goal
- Reasonable/Relevant – ensure the goal is not out of reach and is aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives
- Time-oriented – Set a target date for goal completion
How do you set SMART goals for your population health and wellness programs?
As a rule of thumb, if you want a wellness program that will improve the health of your population, it’s helpful to know two things:
- Where your population stands today when it comes to health risks, concerns, or opportunities to improve health and lifestyle habits
- Which health habits your population is most ready to change
To collect these metrics, your program must center around administering a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) that collects deep population health data , including data on your population’s readiness to change their health and lifestyle habits. From there, you can begin building SMART goals for your health and wellness initiatives. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Specific population health and wellness program goals
Your goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish. To be specific you need the data to segment your population—by health concern, demographic, lifestyle habits, or even their readiness to make a change. Doing so will help you set goals and allocate resources to segments of your population most at risk or most receptive to your messages.
Measurable population health and wellness program goals
Wellness program goals should identify how you will measure the accomplishment, as well as meaningful benchmarks or milestones along the way. An HRA gives you both benchmark and trends so can compare self-reported health status before, midway, and after your initiatives.
Actionable population health and wellness program goals
Wellness goals should include an action that moves a person closer to the desired outcome. To find out what people are willing to act on, use an HRA that measures an individual’s readiness to change health and lifestyle habits. Then, create an action plan and discover the resources you need.
Reachable or relevant population health and wellness program goals
Generally, health and wellness goals must meet a realistic need but also take some effort to achieve. If your goals aren’t relevant to your population’s current health concerns, they will not be as engaged. If your goals are too aggressive, you risk losing the interest of your population at every missed milestone. For example, it’s easy to read an article about the benefits of exercise, but a lot harder to actually exercise for 150 minutes a week—it’s helpful to build a path with meaningful milestones along the way between these two measurements. A stretch goal is easier to accomplish if it’s one your population is interested in pursuing.
Time-oriented population health and wellness program goals
Any goal should include a target date for completion. This creates a sense of urgency and makes a healthy change a priority. By administering an HRA every quarter you can stay apprised of member progress. The example below shows how you might ground your goal-making by putting timeframes to when you will act, measure, then improve on your programs.
What’s an example of a SMART goal for population health and wellness programs?
Once you understand SMART goals, how can you put them into practice and make real improvements to your population’s health? Here’s just one example of a common health and wellness program goal, and how it could be more specific, measurable, actionable, reachable or relevant, and timely.
Example situation: When you review your HRA data you find that more than 75% of your population is having difficulty coping with stress. Of those who were having trouble coping, 85% are interested in coping better.
What’s next? Set SMART goals of your own
Now it’s your turn. Looking at your population’s health and lifestyle habits, what SMART goals would you create for your wellness initiatives? A good place to start is by administering a HRA to evaluate your population’s current health and lifestyle habits, greatest health risks, and readiness to change.
We’ve developed a toolkit to help you promote your HRA and engage your population at the beginning of their health journey. Click here to download the HRA Engagement toolkit, complete with email templates, posters, and messaging best practices to increase HRA completion rates.
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Have you been craving one of those all-inclusive, week-long wellness and yoga retreats, but keep coming back to the same conclusion that most of us do? That conclusion being, “I don’t have the time or the money.”
These retreats are probably worth every penny and should be a priority in our over-worked, over-stressed, and over-booked schedules. We all know that if you don’t have the time for self-care and relaxation, then you are the prime candidate for a retreat – or really, a break of any sort!
Assuming that one truly cannot swing a retreat or a weekend getaway, let’s take a look at an alternative: An all-inclusive, at-home retreat. Duration: To be determined by YOU.
Here Are 12 Steps to Create an At-Home Wellness Retreat for Yourself:
Here is a list of steps, activities, ideas, and comforts that will make your at-home retreat a spectacular day (or several days if you can swing it!).
1. Book It!
Open your calendar, take a look at the month ahead and find ONE day – ONE single day (at the least) – and take a red pen and put a big red circle around that day.
Make the appropriate arrangements, have your kids schedule a sleepover at their friend’s house, and tell your significant other to make plans without you. Make the arrangements and book it. Plan a day devoted solely to you.
2. Prepare Your Space
Pick a room in your home where you feel comfortable. Clean and de-clutter the room prior to your retreat to avoid any distraction.
Put on your comfy loungewear, light some candles, and pull out some cozy throw pillows and blankets to make it extra retreat-like. Also, make sure you do all necessary grocery shopping the day before.
3. Cut Off All Communication
Ditch the TV, laptop, cell phone, iPad, etc. Use this time to detox from all of the technology that we constantly inundate ourselves with. Get back to the basics.
4. Practice Yoga
Indulge in a nice yoga practice. You can create your own, just doing what feels good to you in the moment, or for some great free yoga practices, visit Yoga with Adriene on YouTube.
She offers a variety of practices that will be just what the retreat doctor ordered. I enjoy a “Morning Flow with Adriene.” This video will energize you, get the blood flowing, and help calm your mind. You’ll have to break the no technology rule, but it will be worth it. Just don’t check your emails or social media.
Find your om at home with our online library of classes too! Check out YogiApproved.com Classes for lots of free and premium online yoga, barre, and fitness classes
Whether you take five minutes to simply close your eyes and breathe deeply, or set yourself up for a nice long meditation session, take time in your at-home spa day to simply breathe, be still, and go inward. This inward stillness is so relaxing, calming and grounding – a perfect way to stay present.
Treat yourself to a guided meditation complete with breathwork! Check out our Guided Pranayama and Mindfulness Meditation
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Let your day be a cleansing, detoxifying, relaxing day. Use this “you” time to flush the body of all of the junk that has accumulated over time. The benefits of drinking water are endless.
You will leave your retreat feeling lighter and cleaner. Also, we’ve all heard the trending term “teatox.” Prior to your retreat, grab a couple of your favorite teas. I recommend a chamomile tea with fresh lemon or roasted dandelion root tea which is good for detoxification of the liver.
7. Treat Yourself to an Exfoliating Face or Body Scrub
Use one that’s created from a few simple ingredients. One of my favorites is a mixture of sugar, fresh lemon juice, and almond oil.
Check out this site for some awesome scrub recipes.
8. More Essential Oils Please!
Have your essential oils ready, put a few drops in your candles, and/or apply some to your hands or pulse points (wrist, neck).
Use them in your yoga practice or meditation. Combine them with a mantra for the day. Do anything you like with them! For relaxation, I recommend lavender essential oil.
9. Take a Hot Bath
Nothing relaxes the mind and body like a hot bath. Use some or your essential oils and Epsom salts to create your very own bath salts!
10. Get in the Kitchen
Cooking can be a very therapeutic and mindful experience. Find a healthy recipe and replicate it. Use fresh ingredients that you enjoy and go for it!
Be mindful of the smells, tastes, and sense of touch as you cook.
11. Crack Open a Book
Hit the library or Amazon prior to your retreat and get that book you’ve been wanting to read. I say a retreat calls for a book focused on introspection. I recommend anything written by Dr. Wayne Dyer!
Want more reading inspo? Check out these 5 Books to Boost Your Mood
12. Journal Your Little Heart Out!
Journaling and recording thoughts can be extremely healing and restorative. Purge yourself of all of the thoughts or stresses that you have going on, or simply make a list of the blessings in your life.
Sometimes writing down all of the good things that we have in our lives makes such a difference in our perspective. And if you can, do this outside, on a porch, balcony, swing, or throw a blanket down in your yard. Try to immerse yourself in the nature around you!
Enjoy Your At-Home Wellness Retreat!
We all lead busy lives. But taking care of ourselves should always remain a top priority.
While we can’t always make time for that dream retreat, we can easily carve out a day to give ourselves the R&R that we deserve. Have fun creating an at-home retreat that is perfect for y.o.u.! You’re worth it!
Just finished your at-home retreat? Have more ideas to add to the list? Share your at-home retreat experiences in the comments below!
The mind, body, and spirit aspects of health and wellness are three of the major elements of any wellness plan. However, they could have different priorities for each individual. For starters, some individuals may perceive the mind as being the leading player in bringing happiness, whereas others may see the physical aspect as being the path towards optimal health. In addition, the spiritual side is a major element that can help to balance out your wellness plan.
So how do the mind, body, and spirit elements tie into overall wellness? The information below is designed to provide more insights into these particular wellness elements.
Mind and Wellness
Emotions are a part of everyday life that sometimes can be overlooked as being related to hormones. However, it seems that emotions and the support you get from others can be a player in your health and longevity. Epidemiologic studies have shown that having emotional support may help prevent premature death from all causes, as well as prevent illnesses. 1
While emotional support falls into the categories of social and mental wellness, these elements nurture the mental aspect of your overall wellness plan.
Cognition, or the ability to learn new things, is something that many individuals take for granted. However, the ability to learn new tasks, ideas, or facts may be an element that can boost your overall wellness. It seems that when an individual has a high level of wellness in one dimension, cognition may be protected by taking away from another dimension. 2
In other words, if your financial wellness is soaring high, your cognition, or mental wellness, could also be high as a result of taking away from a different element of wellness. While this is not necessarily optimal, having a high level of cognition throughout the aging process could serve some value.
One element of the mind that affects your overall wellness is the social aspect, which can be a combination of social and mental wellness. Studies continue to show the benefits of social relationships when it comes to having optimal health and wellness.
These studies demonstrate that having a sound social support network and optimal relationships can affect mental wellness and physical health. 3
Body and Wellness
When it comes to your wellness plan, there may not be anything more important than your physical activity habits. Regardless of whether you perform general activities throughout the day or if you frequent the gym, your activity levels play a major role in your health and wellness.
Studies have shown that ample physical activity can play a major role in your health, with a linear association seen between physical activity and health. 5
One often overlooked aspect of a sound wellness plan is sleep. Sleep is the way for the human body to regenerate and to recover from each day. During your sleep cycle, the body secretes hormones that are designed to help your body function better physically.
Studies show that disruption of sleep can lead to increased blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, as well as behavioral problems. 6 Getting the right amount of shut-eye each night could be a major benefit to your overall wellness plan and is especially important for your body.
Spirit and Wellness
Meditation is the practice of being present and focusing on breathing. This type of practice is something that certain religious backgrounds may follow, but in a general sense, you do not have to believe in any higher being in order to meditate.
Meditation connects you to your inner peace by focusing on something, which is usually your breathing, as a way to quiet the mind, which could affect your overall health and wellness.
The information above should give you plenty of background on how the mind, body, and spirit play a role in wellness. With that in mind, it is best to strive for optimal wellness through each element.
I’m so excited to teach you how to create a wellness bullet journal. As you know, I’m all about planning when it comes to your wellness. You’ll have a hard time reaching your wellness goals if you don’t have a solid plan in place. My steps to creating wellness goals generally involve:
3. Getting specific
4. Creating priorities
Number five cannot be skipped because without a detailed plan-of-action, your best intentions will fall by the wayside. There’s way too many distracting obstacles for all of us. Actually, one of the worst is social media. Given the fact that the average time that someone spends on Facebook after quickly “checking in”, is twenty five minutes, we’re sunk! If you check in 4 times a day, that’s 100 minutes per day of being largely distracted away from other things you could be doing to enhance your health and wellness. Now, I LOVE social media. It’s where I get information, entertainment, and all kinds of inspiration, but I have to limit myself, and this daily limit gets factored into my planning for the day.
I don’t know if you’ve tried keeping a Bullet Journal yet, but it’s a fun and effective way to both keep on top of your goals, and get creative. It’s not rocket science either. There are tons of great You Tube videos on how to create a bullet journal, but before you go searching for them, let me tell you why a bullet journal works beautifully for wellness goals:
- You get to be really specific about your goals and set them out with daily, weekly, monthly and annual visuals.
- You can get really creative with the visuals – if you’re crafty or an artist, you’ll love this part of it.
- It’s kind of like having a vision board/journal/planner all-in-one small notepad. Flipping through mine now, I get to see the goals that I have for this year, pages devoted to ideas/inspirations/ah-ha moments, and the actual plan-of-action for the days and weeks ahead.
- You get to create your own key codes, which are basically symbols denoting: to-to, done, migrate, idea etc.
- A bullet journal will inspire you to carry on regardless. It’s your own very personal system, which allows for optimum flexibility and creativity.
What You Need To Get Started:
A journal with dotted, numbered pages (not mandatory, but very helpful- you’ll see why the dots are important when you watch the videos).
Thin-tipped colored pens for unleashing your creativity.
I also recommend using regular colored pencils for coloring in
How To Get Started:
If you’ve spent some time visualizing and writing about what your wellness goals are for 2018, you should be ready to go. If not, do spend some time really thinking about what the specifics are. Remember “I want to get healthy” is not specific. “I plan to eliminate refined sugar” is!
So, a recent client I worked with wanted to deal with the fact that she ate baked goods and sugary coffee drinks almost everyday, she felt that her body was weak and flabby, and she was very stressed out. So, I had her visualize a healthy version of herself a year from that day. She came up with a beautiful vision of a strong, energized, calm woman, filling her body with stunning life-giving foods. She pulled images of all the above and created a “Wellness Goals” Pinterest Board. She shared her goals with her besties, and asked them for support. Then we got down to the business of how we were going to achieve these wonderful goals. The plan looked something like this:
3 Big Annual goals: Give up refined sugar and gluten and add beautiful sweet healthy treats to replace the junk with, get physically stronger, meditate everyday.
3 Monthly goals: Try a meditation class, start working through a new healthy cookbook, find some online strength-training videos, and/or find trainer/or trainer at her gym.
3 Daily goals: Get up at 6 am to meditate for 10 minutes, pack almond butter + sliced apple for afternoon snack, 3 x 20 kettle bell swings.
You see how simple and doable this became for her. I then had her add her annual, monthly, and daily goals into her bullet journal. She was good to go!
The sky is the limit when it comes to creating your bullet journal, but here are some of the things that I include:
- Bucket List
- Accountability grids for meditation and exercise
- Grocery Store lists
- New Foods I want to try
- Books I want to read
- Career Ideas
- Smoothie recipe
- Places I want to visit
- Self-Care Ideas (hint: Come to one of my retreats this year!!)
I also love the idea of getting really detailed in your bullet journal about your morning and evening routine. Some ideas to get you thinking about this:-
- Lemon Water
- Gratitude List
- Walking the dog
- Reading a spiritual passage
- Laying out your workout clothes at the end of your bed
- Placing a kettle bell by the door you exit in the morning.
- Get to bed before 10pm
- Turn off phone at 9pm
- Magnesium tea 30 minutes before bed
- Reading time
- Gratitude List
- Check Bullet Journal
Ultimately, a bullet journal reduces anxiety and the panicky feeling associated with keeping all those crazy do-to lists in your head. You get it all organized on paper, and create solid, doable wellness goals.
Tip: Make sure every goal has a drop dead time line on it. If you write the date by which it needs to be completed, it will get done. These deadlines might be daily, weekly, monthly or annual goals.
Consider a separate Agenda/Planner and a Bullet Journal
I have both because I like a full-focus, jumbo desk agenda, so that I can make all my weekly plans in plain view. You could create a weekly/monthly planner in your bullet journal, but I prefer to keep them separate. My morning ritual is to spend ten minutes looking over both, starting with my agenda so that I make sure I don’t miss any important appointments or deadlines.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE starter guide, which you can use alongside your new wellness bullet journal.
As we approach the final stretch of 2016, now might be a good time to reflect on where you are with any goals you might have set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Remember those? The beginning of the year is typically a time that brings the hope of change, renewal, and commitment to oneself. I often hear about people using specific benchmarks to track health goals: “I’ll know I’ve become a better runner when I can match my running partner and still have a conversation,” or, “I’ll know I’m eating healthier when I finish one big bag of greens a week.” These are concrete, measurable goals that allow you to track your progress. But what about your mental health? How do you create goals around something that can often feel too large or amorphous to grasp?
Common goals I hear from people who are interested in addressing their mental health are:
- I feel depressed and I want to feel happier.
- I know I need to work on my self-esteem and confidence. I want to feel good about myself.
- I need to figure out how to stop being anxious all the time. I want to be more relaxed.
Find a Therapist
Let me be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these goals! Verbalizing any of the above sets the intention of where you would like to focus your energy and can set the stage for active reflection and growth. However, with these broad statements, it might be challenging to figure out where to start, what to do, and how to know if you’re moving toward the goal in ways that are sustainable, realistic, and healthy. Below are some steps you can take to break down large goals into smaller groups of behaviors and mind-sets to promote mental wellness.
1. Ask yourself how you might engage in life differently if you were to achieve your goal.
This approach allows you to move toward your desired state of being rather than away from depression, low self-image, or anxiety. Sample questions:
- What would you be doing and experiencing more of if you were feeling happier?
- What assertions would you begin to make and what would your self-talk sound like if you were to have increased self-esteem and confidence?
- What would you be more engaged in if you were to feel more relaxed? What mindset or approach to life would you take on?
2. Provide detailed and concrete answers to the questions.
Identifying specific and actionable behaviors or mindsets can serve as a guide. Sample answers:
- If I were feeling happier, I would be spending more time with my close friends. At least two social outings a week would be a sign I was feeling happier.
- My self-talk would sound more affirming. I would tell myself, “I’m really proud of how I handled that situation, and I believe I can handle future issues. I would have this kind of self-talk at least once a day.”
3. Set a time period to track your goals.
Give yourself an overall time frame to track your goals and then begin tracking on a daily or weekly basis. How many social outings did you get to that week? How many times a day did you take time to affirm yourself? What, if anything, got in the way of achieving those goals?
The process of routinely checking in on where you are with your goals can lead to greater success. Focusing on the areas you are working toward engaging in and finding ways to honor your accomplishments for that day, week, or month can increase your sense of self-efficacy.
4. Take a step back to look at the overall progress and make revisions as needed.
Taking time to look back at the weeks of tracking allows you to better see the larger picture. How consistently have you been meeting your goals and how do you feel about the changes you’ve experienced as a result? Are there any revisions that might need to be made for goals that feel misaligned or areas you feel you no longer need to spend energy cultivating? How do you want to celebrate the time you have spent reengaging in life on different terms?
The process of routinely checking in on where you are with your goals can lead to greater success.
Creating room to reflect on how you have been feeling with the changes you have attempted to make is an invaluable part of this process. It presents you with an opportunity to recognize your accomplishment and can allow you to note any areas where you have felt unsuccessful in meeting your goals.
Sometimes there are barriers that can get in the way of progress. Identifying what the barriers are to each of the answers on your list may allow you to engage in problem-solving and to practice disengaging from negative thought patterns that can hold you back from your goals.
If you experience significant barriers that are preventing you from engaging in the way you would like to, seeking the help of a professional counselor can be a great way to move you further along. If you are already in therapy, this can be a great addition to your sessions if both you and your therapist are keeping track of your pursuit of mental wellness goals.
- OWP overview
- Dog packages
- Cat packages
- Puppy packages
- Kitten packages
In this section
- OWP overview
- Dog packages
- Cat packages
- Puppy packages
- Kitten packages
We’re here with answers to frequently asked questions about our smart and affordable veterinary wellness packages for pets
Have a different question about which Optimum Wellness Plan® (OWP) or options are right for you and the pet you love? We’re here with more answers.
Get the basics
What’s an Optimum Wellness Plan?
Banfield Optimum Wellness Plans, or OWPs, are smart and affordable year-long packages of high-quality preventive petcare services. We offer a range of OWP packages for different needs, ages, and lifestyles, each designed to help give your pet a foundation for wellness. See more about what you get
Why do puppies or kittens need a wellness plan?
To help start life off on the right paw! Our plans include routinely-recommended diagnostic tests, vaccines, boosters and deworming (and with our Early Care Plus plan, a spay or neuter) to help set up your little BFF for wellness.
Why do healthy adult pets need a wellness plan?
To help pets with regular and ongoing preventive care! Protection against parasites, infections, and diseases is a big part of pet wellness. Regular testing and examinations can help find and treat issues before they become more serious and harder to address.
How do I get the services in my pet’s OWP?
Most pets get their wellness services at the 2 comprehensive exams included in their OWP package. If your pet can’t complete their services at their 2 comprehensive exams, just make another appointment to come on in, because every OWP includes unlimited office visits. Make an appointment
Totally not pet insurance
What’s the difference between an OWP and pet insurance?
Insurance is reactive, and an OWP is proactive. In other words, insurance (sometimes) reactively covers treatment for unexpected illness or injury, but OWPs are designed for proactive wellness care. Each OWP is a 12-month package of preventive petcare services, like physical exams and vaccinations, with additional savings on most other Banfield services and products not included in a pet’s OWP.
- Includes office visits for new and existing pet health concerns
- A single base price regardless of breed, age, or pre-existing conditions
- Members pay a fixed price for a set package of services
- No deductibles
- Generally only covers treatments for illness and injury
- Fees vary depending on the pet’s breed and age
- Only provides indemnity coverage after the deductible is met
How do I pay for my pet’s OWP?
Once you confirm enrollment, you have two choices:
- Pay once for a full year, then re-enroll every year (with no enrollment fee if you re-enroll within 90 days of your pet’s last OWP).
- Choose a 12-month payment plan with AutoPay, which automatically renews your pet’s OWP each year with no additional enrollment fee.
Either way, we’ll also ask you to authorize a card for Banfield products and services not included in your pet’s OWP package.
When would I pay for services with an OWP?
Wait, I get a discount on products and services not in my pet’s OWP?
What’s the schedule for monthly payments?
Can I choose any OWP I want?
Can I customize my pet’s OWP however I want?
Can I switch OWPs once I start?
Enrollment and beyond
How do I enroll my pet?
We’re so glad you asked! You can start to enroll online, call our client help line above, or make an appointment at a Banfield near you. No matter how you start enrollment, you will always confirm your pet’s OWP enrollment and options at your selected Banfield location, so you can be sure you’re getting the right services for your furry friend. Start enrollment now
Why do I only have 30 days to confirm enrollment?
Your quoted OWP price estimates are only valid for 30 days, so we always ask you to make an appointment at your selected Banfield location before that time is up. If you miss your 30-day window, you can start enrollment again at any time. Make an appointment
By TAYLOR PULVER
As the holidays approach, you’ll spend most of your energy focusing on what’s going on around you, not what’s going on within you. With gifts to buy, family and friends to visit, and events to plan, it’s a chaotic time of the year. And even though it’s the season of gratitude and giving, it’s easy to neglect one very important person—you.
Whether you plan to go all out this holiday or stay home and keep it simple, we encourage you to create a Personal Wellness Checklist as a reminder to take care of yourself. Here are a few easy ways to create your plan to wellness.
Start Where You Are
As you create your personal wellness plan, reflect on your current mental and physical health. To go somewhere new, you need to know where you’re starting from.
Try to discover bad habits you’d like to do without. Or think of good habits you’d like to focus on. Maybe there are negative emotions or thinking patterns that prevent you from pursuing wellness. Or you may find your deepest needs aren’t being met.
Such introspection can be scary or uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. By reflecting on these issues, you’ll be able to set goals you care about and muster the motivation you need to accomplish them.
A Hundred Ways, Five a Day
Start simple to make and implement your wellness plan.
- List small ways you can help improve your mental, emotional, or physical health. The simpler, the better.
- Choose five of these actions, focus on them each day, and record your progress—kind of like a daily gratitude list (which can even be part of your wellness plan).
To help get ideas flowing, here’s some suggestions:
- Write down five things you’re grateful for
- Find a meaningful quote
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Write in a personal journal
- Draw or paint a picture
- Tell someone how much you care about them
- Try a new recipe
- Research an interesting science or history topic
- Read your favorite book or magazine
- Relax with a cup of green tea
- Knit or crochet
- Volunteer at a local charity
- Make a crafty gift for someone
- Help someone with a task or project
- Check in on the elderly
Recharge your battery:
- Go to bed early
- Take a power nap
- Stay off social media for two hours
- Chat with a friend or family member
- Clean your house or apartment
- Start your day with stretches or push-ups
- Take your vitamins or supplements
- Play with your pet
- Take a short walk
- Do some yardwork
- Relax in the sun
- Go for an early-morning jog
- Ride a bike around the neighborhood
- Visit a local park
- Fly a kite
- Play bocce ball or croquet
- Go swimming at a local gym or aquatic center
Self-care is for everyone. Simply put, self-care is the practice of taking actions to improve health… both physically and emotionally. Kids and adults need time to refresh, recharge and unwind from work, school, and current events. While it is important to focus on self-care individually, it’s also important to prioritize as a family to support healthy communication and a better understanding for how to support our loved ones.
A few simple steps and a family brainstorm are all it takes to make self-care a priority at home. Get creative and modify as needed over time.
- Create space for planning. Set time aside on a weekend or after dinner one night during the week to come together as a family and begin planning. It’s important to make sure that everyone can be present so the plan is representative of the family, as self-care can be practiced in many ways.
- Set goals or clarify purpose. Creating a self-care plan can be simply to integrate mindfulness and other forms of relaxation into busy family schedules, or it can have attached goals. Think about things your family may want to work on together (e.g., decreasing screen time by an hour each day, reducing stress associated with busy schedules, etc.). Identify top stressors and use as a template to build out a plan that helps you achieve goals to decrease and improve on how you manage them.
- Brainstorm activities. Create a nice balance of 5 or 6 activities. Activities included in a self-care plan should be inclusive of activities that support the mind and body.
- Caring for the body. Exercise, proper hydration, and good nutrition directly influence our social and emotional health. Find ways to incorporate some activities into your current routine rather than adding to.
- Create a water tracker to support hydration and encourage healthy swaps to sugary drinks. Idea: Test out new water infusions with fruits and herbs.
- Nourish your body with healthy foods – cook healthy meals together during the week. Idea: Have each family member pick a new recipe and try out new foods together.
- Exercise and incorporate physical activity. Idea: Take a family walk or bike ride after dinner or sign up for a virtual exercise class or lesson together.
- Caring for the mind. Supporting our mental health can look a little different for everyone. Include activities that feel the most natural to you or challenge yourself with something new.
- Engage in meaningful connection. Idea: Create regular space to talk together about feelings (e.g. morning coffee chat or after-dinner “walk and talk”)
- Practice mindfulness to increase self-awareness. Idea: Journal, paint or doodle feelings, thoughts and emotions or practice deep breathing.
- Nourish the mind with meaningful activities. Idea: Limit screen time and social media by setting a daily time to put away devices or swap for mind strengthening games.
- Caring for the heart. Sharing in the activities we love most is great for building and maintaining strong relationships as it creates space to learn from others while enjoying activities that bring us joy.
- Get some fresh air. Idea: Eat dinner outside with a backyard picnic or play outside together.
- Learn something new together. Idea: Start a family book club or do a family show and tell.
- Play together. Idea: Play board games or have a movie night and create space for downtime as a family.
- Determine frequency. Once you have a list of activities, work together to prioritize the ones that make the most sense for your current schedule and determine a frequency. Example: Maybe your family wants to start taking family walks after dinner and create space for a family check-in. You might keep family walks to twice a week in the beginning and use time already in place (e.g., eating breakfast together on Saturday mornings) to do a family check-in. Start small and increase your frequency as you gain momentum!
- Keep it where you can see it. Post your family self-care plan in a place where you and other family members can see it often. This can help serve as a reminder of your commitment and help you to keep it prioritized. Places like the refrigerator or by the front door are great places to hang your self-care plan for everyone to see.
Build in flexibility. Self-care plans are not intended to add more stress to your current routine. Instead, their designed to help you discover ways to integrate supportive activities. Some days and weeks are busier than others – acknowledge that and allow flexibility to adjust based on what feels right.
Structure activities in a way that supports you and your family. This might mean each family member has their own that focuses on different areas and the family version supports others. Self-care is not a one size fits all, but there are many activities that can be done together to nourish the mind and body.
Keep it simple. Don’t create a plan that is unrealistic or a laundry list of activities. Because self-care plans are meant to be modified and adjusted, rotate out activities over time to keep your list short and maintainable.
For more activities and ideas like this one, be sure to sign up for our news and updates. And if you like what you see, please donate to support our work creating more ways to help build a healthier future for kids.