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“Many of us stumble from one self-help program to another without getting any real results. Why is this? Are the programs ineffective? No. People endlessly go onto the next quick fix or magic pill because they are counting on the external item to do all the work and provide eternal happiness, while simultaneously healing or curing them. This isn’t going to happen!

Self-help means taking personal responsibility. You have to apply what you learn.” – Dr. Arien vd Merwe

Source: Stress Solutions, Tafelberg Publishers, 2004

A working definition of wellness

Wellness is a pro-active, dynamic process whereby the individual and the group become aware of the life choices and ‘response-ability’ they have and then taking the decision to make the right choices toward a life of quality and wellness. Deciding on a wellness lifestyle, would require everyone to become self-responsible, self-aware and actively involved in their own health and wellbeing, by gaining more knowledge and insight into the workings of their own body-mind. Wellness is a conscious and continuous integrative process that, with the help, facilitation and support of wellness and health consultants or professionals, will, in the long-term, restore organisational, individual, family and community health.

The dimensions of wellness include the physical, mental / intellectual, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and environmental aspects of human life. All of these should be taken into consideration forworkplace wellness interventions. Wellness programs or interventions should not only include awareness of health compromising behaviour and existing health risk appraisals or assessments, with some information provided, but also behaviour change models and a supportive work environment or workplace culture.

Life will constantly present us with opportunities to learn and grow, for our own good, but also for the benefit of our families and communities (including our work community) – this is the fountainhead of wellness. The true professional is a life involved being, not only a job involved one.

Expected results (ROI) when implementing health and wellness programs
  • improved productivity and creativity
  • higher levels of company morale
  • reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (employees present at work, but unable to function properly)
  • reduced sick leave
  • improved relationships
  • improved day-to-day quality of work and personal life for the employer and employee.
Ways to wellness
Some of the most popular wellness programs / interventions companies and individuals can use:

  • Stress solutions: Practical stress management tools and techniques, as well as stress courses
  • Life-skill development
  • Positive mental attitude
  • Complementary health care advice
  • High cholesterol, high stress, what now?
  • Heart, immune system (incl. HIV/Aids, TB), nervous system, hormone system health
  • Executive health
  • Health education and employee assistance: nutrition, HIV/Aids, family planning, hygiene, sexuality, responsibility
  • Sleep restoration
  • Workplace enhancement: Ergonomics, colour, chill rooms, private space, mini breaks
  • Work-life balance
  • Thriving during times of change
  • Difficult relationship as guides and teachers
  • Anger management
Ten habits to optimise health and wellness
Take time out to be a human being, rather than always a human doing. These guidelines will assist you in finding balance.

  • workplace wellness programTake time out during a busy day, to breathe slowly and deeply. Combine it with mini breaks to stretch and tone tired muscles, and drink a relaxing herbal tea.
  • Find an exercise you enjoy and do it regularly. Try dancing: there’s Nia, belly, ball room and hip-hop. Consider relaxercises such as yoga and Tai ‘chi. Dance sessions at work is becoming very popular as an exercise medium.
  • Relax, reflect and meditate every day. Start with 3-5 minutes a day and increase to 20 minutes in the morning and evening. Try a guided meditation or relaxation CD if your mind tends to wander in the beginning. Regular meditation sessions work well in a workplace setting.
  • Take a cold shower in the morning and a warm bath at night. Use aromatherapy oils in the bath and in a burner: try neroli (orange blossom), lavender, geranium and chamomile to balance emotions and encourage relaxation, inner peace and calm.
  • Eat well. Eat regularly to prevent low blood sugar with its symptoms of irritability, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Use the correct food supplements daily. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Listen to music that soothes and balances your soul.
  • Find something to laugh about every day – the more the better!
  • Get out into nature: a lunch time walk in the park, a stroll around your neighbourhood, tending your herbal garden.
  • Spend quality time with others in close relationship every day: your partner, children, family, friends, or a pet.
  • Sleep well in a quiet, dark room: 6-8 hours every night.

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