A culture of wellness and healthier lifestyles is emerging among Lee Memorial Health System employees. Recently I shared with you one new activity that is beginning to spread to locations throughout the health system—our “Walk with the Leaders” wellness walks. These 15-minute exercise breaks not only help shake out the cobwebs, but reinforce that while we are focused on caring for patients and their families, it also is important to care for ourselves.
Dr. Sal Lacagnina, Lee Memorial Health System’s vice president of health & wellness, and the entire wellness team are working hard to create programs, initiatives and services to help us more easily incorporate health and wellness into our daily routines. Our wellness coaches—Deb Bucci and Jeanne Struve—are another great example of our commitment to wellness and helping Lee Memorial Health System team members.
Our wellness coaches help our employees find, create and follow a path to wellness. “Wellness is not just nutrition and fitness,” Deb explains. “Other dimensions include emotional, intellectual, social, environmental, financial and spiritual wellness. We help rate the level of satisfaction in each of these areas. The more out of balance each of these areas are the more an individual will be wellness challenged.” Deb provides this example, “If someone is lying awake at night worrying about financial issues, then sleep is not restful. So the energy to get through the workday is diminished and there is certainly less energy to exercise.” In this situation, Deb or Jeanne would refer their client to financial counseling. Having a plan in place to deal with those financial issues can make a huge impact on achieving balance, and thus, health and wellness.
Jeanne adds that wellness coaching is a dynamic process and one that does not involve telling you what to do or how to live. “A wellness coach helps clients develop a vision for themselves based on what they are most willing to work on,” Jeanne says. “From the client’s vision, we create smart goals that are specific and measurable. Often, when people want to change, they jump right in and say, ‘I am going to work out with a trainer five times a week.’ As coaches, we rein in the goals. We set our clients up for success by creating smaller, more attainable goals. Then, we build on that success.”
Improving your personal wellness is about changing habits, and we all know that change is hard. As health care professionals, we often know what to say or advise others to improve their health, but we do not always follow our own advice.
We recently heard from an employee—who requested anonymity—about his experience with Deb. This employee was apprehensive about calling the wellness coaches because of the fact that he is a “health professional” who “knows this stuff already.” But, because he never successfully applied what he knows to what he does, he decided to contact our wellness coaches. He shared that he now is finding success using the methods and goal-setting he learned in his sessions with Deb. He has set goals and defined objectives for himself including an eating plan—similar to a spending plan. He feels that he now has the tools to be successful and maintain that success.
“We work with small steps and adjust along the way. It is trial and correction, not trial and error,” Deb says. “If a goal is set and not fully achieved for the week, then we adjust our path to achieve success.”
For anyone looking to make lifestyle changes, Deb and Jeanne suggest looking for a wellness coach who is certified. WellCoaches® are Deb and Jeanne’s preferred recommendation. “Visit the WellCoaches® website for more information,” Deb says. “Both Jeanne and I are certified through this organization and the website provides a section to help you find a coach in your area.”
Sometimes, to make changes, all you need are the tools. The American Heart Association’s BetterU Challenge is a great place to start. Lee Memorial Health System and Arthrex—the Southwest Florida Go Red for Women Cause Sponsors—have teamed up with the American Heart Association for this free 12-week program. The BetterU Challenge provides tools, tips, information and step-by-step guidance. Get a team of five together and join the challenge. To learn more about the BetterU Challenge, visit www.GoRedforWomen.org.
If you and your team of five are ready to embark on the BetterU Challenge, contact Monica Seif at the American Heart Association at Monica.Seif@Heart.org.
One of the most important things I hope you take from these comments is that we want our employees to be happy, healthy, fulfilled, successful and balanced in all aspects of their lives. We want this for you, too. Find the support you need to live your best life.