Working Mom 3.0: Start a wellness program
Corporations realize the benefits of wellness plans for productivity. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how stay-at-home working moms can take a cue from corporate wellness plans to create their own program.
When you're a working stay-at-home mom, you're hard-pressed to find time for a shower, let alone your own personal wellness. But when you let your focus on fitness slip, you're shortchanging yourself. Seventy percent of Fortune 200 companies now offer physical fitness programs, according to the National Business Group on Health. The reasons are simple: well employees cost the company less money, and perform better.
Why make time for wellness?
The job of "mom" doesn't offer sick days. While you can't put a complete stop to cold and flu season, a healthy mom will fare better in germ warfare. Focusing on wellness can also mean less need for pricey prescription meds and potentially lower insurance premiums.
I teach an early-morning yoga class as part of one corporations' wellness initiative and have witnessed the benefits. The employees enter looking tired and sullen before the day has even begun. When class concludes, they are visibly more relaxed, rosy-cheeked, chatty and upbeat.
When analyzing the results of its wellness initiative, NASA found that the productivity of employees who exercised worked at full efficiency all day, ultimately amounting to a 12.5 percent difference in productivity from non-exercisers. What stay-at-home working mom couldn't use more productive hours each day?
Here are three ways you can introduce a wellness program into your own work at home mom operation.
Find a challenge
Lots of big-name companies have a "corporate challenge." Not only are they good publicity, they inspire employees to work towards a goal. Take the same approach as a work-at-home mom. Find a local fitness event that interests you and deem it your own "corporate challenge." If you're self-employed, you can even wear a shirt with your own logo on race day and get a little publicity yourself!
Reward hard work
Outdoor apparel manufacturer Patagonia allows employees to go running, biking or surfing in the middle of the workday, provided they fulfill work obligations at other times. Approach your own day with the same philosophy. Throw the kids in the stroller and take a few laps around the park to beat the mid-afternoon slumps. Join a nearby gym that offers childcare and take an hour of the day for yourself to feel energized. You can even practice fitting in small bouts of exercise throughout the day. Research shows bursts of 10 minutes of exercise, done three times a day, has impact.
Start from the inside
Jenny Kay Paulson, wellness director for Corporate Wellness by Gold's Gym, suggests changing your environment to introduce more wellness and positivity to your life. Listen to upbeat music as you work, and replace processed snacks with nutrient-rich alternatives like fruits, vegetables, nuts and yogurt. Consider lending a bit of your time each week or month to a cause dear to your heart. Helping others can go far in cultivating mental wellness, making you feel more positive and appreciative about your life.