How many of you are parents or grandparents? How many of you would do anything to give your children and grandchildren a better life and future? Are you a leader in your workplace, home, organization you serve, or your church? As defined by Tom Rath, the author of “Well-Being: The Five Essential Elements”, well-being is far more than health and wealth—it’s the combination of many aspects of life. Well-being is about the interaction between physical health, finding your daily work and experiences fulfilling, having strong social relationships and access to the resources you need, feeling financially secure, and being a part of a true community! This definition is the basis for the Blue Zone Project too, where Sioux City became a Certified Blue Zones Community in August of 2015. A Blue Zones Community works to transform our environments where we live, work, eat and throughout the community. We are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice to transform our well-being, one choice at a time!
Why is your health and well-being important to you? What is one word that will change and focus your life purpose for 2016? Who in my life is affected by my daily well-being, lifestyle habits, and your why? On a scale of zero to ten, with zero being not at all important and ten being extremely important, how important would you say your health and well-being are to you? How important is it to your company? Or the community where you live and work? The United States and the world?
Using this same scale from zero to ten, how confident are you that you would be able to change any of the lifestyle habits discussed in this article that may reduce your risks of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke (heart disease), musculoskeletal stiffness or pain, reduce stress and muscle tension, restore broken relationships, and greatly improve your well-being and vitality?
Take the pledge of dedication to improve your health and well-being today:
Today I, ________________(insert your name), choose to transform my health and well-being, not just for myself, but also for my spouse, family, co-workers and workplace, groups or organizations I lead, and my community. These changes I am choosing to make today will improve my energy level, reduce stiffness and pain and improve my well-being by choosing the healthy lifestyle habits of;
- Drinking 40 or more ounces of water daily, slowly working towards half of your body weight in ounces. This reduces risks of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke by 40-60%. It also helps you to lose weight and control your appetite too.
- Eat a healthy breakfast daily to lose weight, improve your energy level, focus and productivity such as; whole grain cereal or oatmeal, eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast with peanut butter, smoothie, or a Clif Bar.
- Be physically active daily for 30 or more minutes (150 minutes per week), and if you are trying to lose weight, work your way up to 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Perform strength training exercises two to three times (or more) each week to lose weight and inches of fat from your waist and body, increase energy level, and strengthen your bones to prevent fractures. Utilize these exercises: circuit training, dumbbells, theraband, weighted vest, and bodyweight exercises such as lunges, squats, pushups, step ups, pull ups, etc.
- Create a budget and work to stick to it. Learn how to manage and pay off debt, understand benefit packages at work such as; health insurance options, flexible spending accounts, 401K and retirement planning, living will and medical power of attorney, and financial counseling.
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep daily to improve weight loss, reduce stiffness and pain, and improve your focus and creativity daily.
- Eat more and weigh less by eating live foods such as; three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily (working towards five to nine servings), three or more servings of whole grains, and one or more servings of beans. Work to eat healthy proteins (chicken, pork, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds, lean meats) and healthy fats (nuts and seeds, olive or canola oils, peanut butter, avocado) at every meal to balance blood sugar levels.
- Eat one to two servings of nuts daily (ideally without added salt or sugar), which are loaded with healthy omega fats. Nuts fill you up and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes by 40 to 60%.
- Perform WorkSmart dynamic stretches from the UnityPoint Health- St. Luke’s WorkSmart Dynamic Stretching Plan poster one to three times daily for three to five minutes or choose one to three stretches to perform every hour to improve your energy, reduce stiffness and pain, and improve your quality of life.
- Begin and end each day with three positive affirmations to empower your mind, energize your body, and allow your spirit to soar! Focus on the bright spots of life, be thankful, forgive others and live!
To help you reach your well-being goals and life potential, it is highly recommended to begin setting SMART goals for yourself each year;
- S - Specific
- M - Measureable
- A - Action plan (to reach your goals), attainable and accountable (have someone to keep you accountable on your goals)
- R - Realistic, review often and reward yourself for meeting goals and
- T - Timed
When you set, write down, and review SMART goals you are 50% more likely to reach your goal than if it wasn’t written down.
May 2016 be full of joy, peace, and wonderful memories with your family, friends, co-workers empowered by your WHY or one word that will transform your daily vitality and well-being at work, home, and play!