The Well-Being Journal

Five Hits of Community Well-Being for June

Sandy Cummings

The weather's looking good, and it's time to get out and enjoy it. Here's a quick list of community events to help improve your well-being in June.

June 6 – National Yo-Yo Day

National Yo-Yo Day is the perfect day to get out your yo-yo and have some fun playing “Sleeper,” “Walk the Dog” and “Shooting the Moon.” Believed to be invented in ancient Greece, the Yo-Yo became popular in America when Donald F. Duncan Sr. manufactured the “Duncan Yo-Yo” in the early 1900s. You can visit the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, California.

June 7 – National Trails Day

National Trails Day is a celebration of America’s magnificent trail system and features a series of outdoor activities designed to promote the importance of the 200,000 miles of trails in the United States. Trails provide access to the natural world for recreation, education, exploration, solitude and inspiration, and they give us a means to support good physical and mental health. Pick a trail and breathe fresh air, get your heart pumping, and escape from stress.

Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, bird watching and more. Check out the website for an official event being held near you.

 

Heath Jones, Healthways Coach-of-the-Year and member of the Innergy team at Healthways' Seattle Well-Being Improvement Center, is “Stepping It Up” in June as he gets ready for a 40-mile hike in Yosemite over Fourth of July weekend. In preparation, Heath will be hiking by himself or with a group every week, mountain biking twice with his friend Nick, logging at least four miles on the step-mill at the gym each week, and continuing his regular strength training routine. That's Heath training in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest!

June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day

National Get Outdoors Day encourages healthy, active outdoor fun. Prime goals of the day are to reach first-time visitors to public lands and reconnect youth to the outdoors. Participating partners will offer opportunities for families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities.

June 19 – National Recess at Work Day

Rich DiGirolamo, founder of Recess at Work, believes that to keep people engaged, loyal and productive, you need to create a work environment that is fun. But having fun at work and being a fun place to work are two very different things. Recess at Work is an opportunity to create team spirit, engage employees, increase morale, improve health and wellness, and share your fun side with your colleagues.

June 28 – Great American Backyard Campout

The Great American Backyard Campout is a part of the National Wildlife Federation’s efforts to help inspire Americans to protect wildlife, including a three-year campaign to get 10 million kids to spend regular outdoor time in nature. Thousands of people across the nation will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in this annual event that provides a fun-filled evening for all generations to get outside and connect with nature.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being In the News Exercise Workplace Well-Being Physical Health Health Emotional Health Community Daily Challenge Healthways Events Wellness Program

It's Better to Give

Jennifer Rudloff

With the holiday season upon us, Healthways continues its tradition of partnering with local organizations to shop for children who are at risk or less fortunate. It’s a tradition that began several years ago when a group of administrative assistants suggested this thoughtful idea as an alternative to a colleague gift exchange and lunch.

Getting Ready to Shop St. Louis colleagues getting ready to shop

At each of our locations, colleagues step away from their desks in the holiday spirit and head out by the busload to shop. Each person gets to shop for a specific child, picking up items from their list like clothes, toys and books. Healthways picks up the tab and we all get to be a part of spreading holiday cheer into our communities. It’s one of our colleagues’ favorite ways to be involved in sustaining our values-based culture.

With all of our locations participating, Healthways expects to give more than $120,000 worth of gifts and donations this year. Several locations have already completed their shopping, and others will wrap up this week. It’s wonderful to think about the smiles that will light up on Christmas morning, knowing that we’re helping bring joy and showing love and compassion to those who need it.

These are some of the local organizations and people our colleagues across the U.S. are working with to shop for those in need:

Wrapping Our San Antonio location aglow wrapping gifts for kids. See more pictures as they roll in on our Facebook page.

Chandler, Ariz.: Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, New Horizon Youth Homes, Be a Santa to a Senior
Des Moines, Iowa: Bidwell Riverside Center
Franklin, Tenn. (HQ): Youth Villages and McNeilly Children’s Center
Hawaii: Hawaii H.O.M.E. Project
Minnesota: Union Gospel Mission
Salt Lake City, Utah: Two families who have a child receiving treatment for cancer at Primary Children's Medical Center
San Antonio, Texas: Family Services Association and San Antonio Humane Society
St. Louis, Mo.: Operation Food Search together with 7 different churches in North St. Charles county
Others in Dallas, Texas and Seattle, Wash.

You can help too.
We know from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® that there are many Americans having trouble affording basic necessities like shelter and food. So we’d like to challenge you to also take a moment this holiday season to count your blessings, and think about how you can bestow one on someone in need. And maybe even make a tradition of it.

Even if you can’t give a tangible gift, an intangible gift such as your presence can mean the world to someone and benefit you too. A Gallup survey in conjunction with the Well-Being Index found that people who volunteered in the last six months experienced higher personal well-being across all domains (emotional health, healthy behavior, physical health and more) than those who did not volunteer. It just goes to show that it's truly better to give.

Topics: Financial Well-Being Basic Access Physical Health Emotional Health Community Well-Being Index Culture Events Leadership

25 Days of Kindness

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Blue Zones Project Blog

As you move through life each day, you come in contact with countless individuals—pass hundreds of people on the roadways, move past a dozens of people in grocery aisles and halls at work, and many more nearly every other place you find yourself each day. While your paths may cross, the circumstances that led you there can cause you to experience that moment in a completely different way. For example, while you’re happily enjoying your lunch, your server could be hiding behind a smile while worrying about circumstances at home.

You really never know what others are going through. If you just stopped to ask yourself how your daily encounters impacted those around you, maybe the world would be a little brighter of a place, right? Well, there’s no time like the present!

It’s amazing how a single friendly gesture has the power to completely turn around a person’s day. By performing random acts of kindness for those in your community, you’ll spread the spirit of generosity and show others that you care, all while making your town a little happier place to live. How’s that for building community?

So go ahead and join us for 25 Days of Kindness, maybe even make it a family affair, and bring a little extra happy to someone’s day.

Here’s how it works:

25 Days of Kindness

Example of a random act of kindness you'll see on our Facebook page

- We’ll recommend a new random act of kindness on Facebook each day, but don’t feel limited by what we post! Feel free to get creative and come up with some ideas of your own.

- If you complete an act of kindness, please share it! We love a good heart-warming story and would so enjoy hearing more about how you chose to brighten someone’s day, the impact you had on others, and how it made you feel. And if you’re the recipient of an act of kindness, we want you to know how it made your day.

By sharing your stories, you just might inspire someone to spread a little kindness to another.

- Remember, everything is more fun when you do it with friends. You have the power to multiply the goodness in your community by sharing with friends, co-workers, and family and encouraging them to jump in too.

It all starts December 1. To learn more and start spreading a little holiday cheer visit us on Facebook!

Healthways Facebook Page

Topics: Healthy Living Emotional Health Community Motivation Daily Challenge Social Well-Being Blue Zones Project

Walking Together for Longer, Healthier Life

Jennifer Rudloff

walking togetherWith all of our modern technology, connecting quickly has become easier. But there’s something to be said for trading some high-tech time with real, face-to-face quality time every once in a while. When we do this by going for a walk with friends, for example, it can do wonders for our physical and emotional health.

Successful Strides

Four years after becoming the first Blue Zones Project city, Albert Lea, Minn., continues to be a living, breathing example of this. A recent news article reported the city has 30 moais, or groups who continue to get together twice a week for an hour-long walk, bike ride or dancing. This Midwestern city has shown how a healthy habit can become a life-changing lifestyle.

Those who’ve participated in the Blue Zones program and adopted its principles—like regular activity and healthy eating—have experienced numerous benefits, such as:

  • Improved physical and emotional health
  • Elimination of medication for certain health conditions
  • An increased lifespan of 2.9 years on average

In summary, walking with others can make it easier to adopt healthy choices, which can grow into a lifestyle, which can lead to well-being improvement beyond measure.

Some Pep for Your Step

When was the last time you met up with a group of friends, colleagues or neighbors and went for a walk? Whether you have a health-related goal or would like to reconnect on a deeper level, consider making contact and find a time that would work. You could even consider organizing a "walking school bus" in your neighborhood, like described in this YouTube video. One step is all you need to get started. And if you want to use a little high-tech to initiate the conversation, a quick text probably wouldn't hurt.

Topics: Healthy Living In the News Exercise Physical Health Health Emotional Health Social Well-Being Success Stories Blue Zones Project