As I was crossing things off my to-do list the other day, I realized I had been moving one task from list to list for months. The culprit? My annual wellness exam. This used to be one of the benefits of corporate wellness programs for us, but not anymore.
Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs
I don’t think I’ve ever put it off quite this long. Don’t get me wrong, a pap smear, blood work, finding a babysitter (because there are only so many questions of the personal nature from the boys I can handle), and all that jazz has never been fun – but I’ve done it. Why had I been putting it off so long this year?
I’m not getting paid for it anymore!
Ish’s company did away with their corporate wellness program. Previously they paid $100 once you completed your yearly health exam. In the past, I’ve used that money just for pampering myself (hello deep tissue massage!). I didn’t even realize how much that $100 carrot motivated me to knock it out early.
Corporate wellness programs are becoming more common as employers realize that healthy employees produce better work. The types of programs vary widely, but there are some aspects that are commonly provided.
Exercise is a key component to wellness. Some larger corporations make exercise easy by providing an on-site fitness center for their employees. If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that provides one, take advantage of it.
It’s easy to come early or stay late and get in a quick workout. Or you could even fit it in on your lunch break.
If your company doesn’t have a gym on-site, they may provide a membership (or a discount on one) to a gym in the area. If you’re unsure if this is something your company offers, ask! If it’s not available currently, knowing there is interest could spur them into starting something.
Smoking Cessation Programs
It’s been over 50 years since the Surgeon General first made a report warning of the dangers of smoking. While it’s a well-known fact that smoking is dangerous to health, a staggering 42 million Americans still smoke.
Many employers have enacted smoking cessation programs, utilizing pharmaceuticals, coaching, or a combination to assist employees in kicking the tobacco habit to the curb.
With the invention of the Fitbit (and other fitness trackers like my Apple Watch), companies have started challenges among their employees to encourage fitness. They may provide prizes for weekly or monthly competitions or simply provide the tracker.
We recently were hanging out with some friends and “J” kept pacing back and forth. When I asked what he was doing, he informed me that he got a break on his insurance premium every month if he averaged 5,000+ steps daily and he was a little short. Talk about motivation!
What If My Company Offers Nothing?
While cash incentives for getting healthy are great, the best part of corporate wellness programs is simply the external motivation they provide. Even if your company doesn’t offer any program, you can use their strategies to motivate yourself.
If you’ve got a Fitbit, start challenges with your friends to motivate you to move more. If you don’t want to invest in a Fitbit, a cheap pedometer can help get you going. See how many steps you take on a normal day and then keep setting (and crushing!) bigger goals.
If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about quitting. Many health insurance companies also offer smoking cessation programs. I know our community health center offers a support group too.
And don’t discount rewarding yourself for making healthy choices. Buy yourself that new top when you hit your step goal. Treat yourself to a pedicure after 30 consecutive days of yoga.
You better know I’ll be scheduling myself a massage as soon as my annual exam is over!