The Well-Being Journal

6 Culprits Hurting Well-Being at Work

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-Being Wire by MeYou Health

For as much time as we spending working, it seems so easy to lose track of the impact our worklife can have on our overall well-being. So here are six of the common culprits that take a swipe at our well-being at work, along with a few simple ideas for the small actions we can take to tackle them—


Many people multitask in search of great productivity, but oftentimes this kind of distracted behavior actually makes us less productive. Multitaskers are typically less focused and experience higher levels of stress, and multitasking can even strain personal relationships and lead to accidents (think texting while driving). Instead, try tackling just one task at a time and giving it 100%. Start with a single activity and focus on it for ten minutes straight. Occasional interruptions are expected during the workday, but being fully present and avoiding the many temptations in our day can lead to much better results.

Active listening means making eye contact and repeating what someone has just said.

Poor Communication

When talking to co-workers, it’s all too easy to half-listen while you think about your own response or what’s for lunch. To avoid a potentially damaging discord, the next time you speak to a colleague, try practicing active listening techniques. While the other person is speaking, focus your full attention on what he or she is saying. Look at the person in the eyes, and when it’s your turn, repeat back what he or she has said. Tuning in fully promotes openness between people, helps avoid misunderstandings because you have to confirm what the other person actually said.


Building relationships at work is one of the keys to a successful career, but many people find themselves in routines that keep them away from people they don’t know. Choose someone at work who is new to you or whom you rarely interact with. When you see him or her today, make the effort to say hello, and follow it up with a friendly smile. Breaking out of this rut can help you learn more about your workplace and your colleagues, and will give you a reputation for being warm and engaging, not cool or unapproachable.


There’s nothing worse than having something you’re not looking forward to doing in the back of your mind all day. Maybe it’s making an unpleasant phone call or addressing an issue with a co-worker. Why not try to identify the toughest task you have on your plate, and take steps to address that task first rather than putting it off until later in the day? Get it done first, and then the rest of your day will feel like a breeze. It also gives you a lift because you’ll feel proud that you were able to get it done so early.

Cluttered workspaces can lead to stress and lost time when it comes to finding things.


Whether it’s papers piled high on your desk, or digital files strewn everywhere on your hard drive, disorganization can lead to distress! Clutter makes it harder to find things and this can cost you time and cause unnecessary stress. Try recycling or throwing away things that you don’t need and make a small stack (or folder) of items that really do need your attention. Return other objects to their rightful places in your work area, and banish that frustrating feeling of not being able to find the things you’re looking for. Cleaned-up workspace, clear-thinking mind!

Overdoing It

Sometime it feels like the work will never stop coming, and more than ever, our many gadgets and gizmos keep us tethered to our workday tasks. Try making a conscious decision to create a boundary between work and home by turning off the technology that keeps you connected to the office. After you get home tonight, do not check your work email, voicemail, or texts, and turn off your smartphone. Take it a step further and limit yourself to 30 minutes of work talk once you’re off the clock today. This may help you unwind, but it also leaves more time for the many other important aspects of life, like family and friends.

Topics: Well-Being Stress Productivity Workplace Well-Being

A resolution checkup and a trend to break for a healthier second half of 2012

Jennifer Rudloff

healthy choicesWe often look at the beginning of the year as a starting point for new well-being goals. Maybe you were one of many who made such a resolution, or maybe not. Either way, this might be a great point to stop and think about it as we continue in the second half of 2012. Read on to learn why.


Where are you?

Maybe you are going strong in your resolution, never had interest in setting one, or are somewhere in between and need a boost of motivation. Wherever you are, you might be interested to know that research presents us with a great wellness opportunity for the second half of the year.

What the trends show

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index,® Americans on average experience a decline in healthy behaviors and physical health in the second half of the year. We can all probably name factors that influence the lack of steadiness. The well-known truth is that resolutions aren’t always easy to keep all on our own and momentum can easily fade.

What we can do about it

Well, knowledge is power. So now that we’re aware that the U.S. as a whole could be near a high point for the year in healthy behaviors and physical wellness, we can look at this as an opportunity to do something to prevent a decline. If we all make simple, positive changes, perhaps we can even reach new highs in our individual well-being all throughout the year. Think about how it would feel for you personally and what it would mean for your organization as a whole. Below are a couple ideas that could help.

  1. A simple way to get started could be making one tangible well-being improvement goal for the next 30 days, and listing some related action steps. You can do anything for 30 days, right? At the end of 30 days, evaluate your progress, and then decide if you want to continue with that goal or switch to a new one. Make sure to write down your goal, find some resources to support it, track your progress, and for best results, enlist an accountability partner (or your whole organization). By continually introducing new ideas and evaluating your progress, healthy behaviors can become habit, and therefore more of a lifestyle.
  2. Take it a step further and use Healthways as your source for scientific research and proven programs filled with a breadth of resources, tools and support. We can help identifying the unique needs of your organization, create and sustain effective engagement with individual members, and drive positive behavior change that delivers measurable outcomes for the long term. Read about our approach and our solution to learn more, or contact us.

Just a few of the programs that make up our configurable Well-Being Improvement Solution include:

  • The Healthways Well-Being Assessment™, personal Well-Being Plans online and Health Coaching over the phone
  • Prime® Fitness for access to more than 9,000 fitness centers
  • Innergy™ for sustainable weight management
  • QuitNet® for quitting tobacco
  • SilverSneakers® to help seniors boost physical and social activity

If you’re currently a member of a Healthways Well-Being Improvement Solution, you and your colleagues may already be enjoying the benefits of improved physical, mental and social well-being, as well as the financial benefits such as lower healthcare costs and fewer sick days. Maybe you want to take your program even further or get your whole community involved in an initiative, like our BlueZones Project™. Talk with your benefits manager or with us here at Healthways for strategic input.

Let’s all partner together for the greatest well-being improvement—for the second half of 2012 and for the long term.

Topics: Healthy Living Weight Loss Engagement Well-Being Index Workplace Well-Being

Four Ways to Make Yourself Happier at Work

Jennifer Rudloff

Even the best jobs can be a drag sometimes — and many of us have far from the best jobs. On April 16, Forbes offered some sage advice on how to make your work life a more pleasurable part of your real life.

  • Ask your boss to make small alterations to your job description. There may be skills you aren’t using to your fullest, and a little bit of variety can stop your job from becoming repetitive and boring.
  • Try to cultivate more opportunities to work with people you get along with, both internally and externally. They’re the ones who make your job less burdensome, after all.
  • Work on office friendships. Having a confidant in the office can be important for managing the day-to-day stress of your job. Don’t be a loner.
  • Treat your body right: On tough days, it can be hard not to sack out after work. But if you maintain your exercise routine, eat healthy, and try to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll not only be a better, more productive worker, but happier and more energetic — and in a better position to negotiate the kind of changes you’d like to make in your job.

Reposted from MeYou Health's Well-Being Wire

(Photo © Victor1558 via Flickr)

Topics: Workplace Well-Being

Money Matters: 7 Simple Steps towards Financial Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-Being Wire by MeYou Health

Like it or not, our financial stability can have an enormous impact on our overall well-being, so it’s important to be mindful of the connection between our dollars and our demeanour. As Gallup reported last week, financial worries among Americans rival the concerns from the recession 20 years ago, so the issues are immediate and real. It’s time to start feeling confident and secure about our financial picture, and we’re here to help with that.

When it comes to the numbers game and navigating the rules and regs of money, we defer to the experts. There are several reputable resources out there to help sort through those financial quandaries. For browsing the latest consumer articles and interest rates, has a wealth of information for folks of all backgrounds. When it comes to knowing your rights and responsibilities regarding debt, identity theft, and general consumer protection, the Federal Trade Commission maintains, a great resource for U.S. citizens. And for those all-important tax questions, why not go right to the source? or the website of your state or city are the best places to find the details you need to tackle your specific situation.

But when it comes to those small, everyday actions to start improving your financial outlook and happiness, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven ideas for simple actions to incorporate into daily life right now—

  • Curb impulse purchases today by taking two deep breaths before buying anything you hadn’t planned on. Think about whether or not you can wait until the price comes down and if you really need the item right now. Impulse purchases can take a bite out of your wallet and act as a kind of self-sabotage, destroying your best intentions to save money. These types of buys can be caused by stress and boredom, and we may not even realize it.
  • Contribute to your emergency fund today, or make a plan to start one if you haven’t already. The Boy Scouts have it right: Be prepared. That means quick access to cash for when the unexpected happens. If you already have one, make a contribution to your emergency fund today — no amount is too small. If you don’t, get one started by finding out where you can open a savings account. A little cushion always feels better than a hard landing.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms of your bank account to avoid paying unnecessary fees. Banks feed on fees. Some banks may even charge customers for things like not updating an address, cashing coins, or simply talking to a teller. But your bank is like any other business you deal with — and the customer is always right! By knowing what you’re paying for and avoiding being hit with fees, you’ll end up with more money in your pocket.
  • Save lunch money by making your lunch at home today or planning to make lunch for tomorrow.Eating out is fun, but it costs real money. A $5 sandwich a day puts you back at least $1,250 a year! And who stops at just a sandwich? Most people spend much more, grabbing extra little goodies or drinks. By keeping that money in your wallet instead of your belly, you’re saving money and increasing your bottom line.
  • Skip tax-time stress: Schedule a time to gather your paperwork long before you file this year. Being organized will not only make filing a breeze, but it will also make it easier for you to claim deductions, which translates to money in the bank. Plus, with everything you need at hand, you’ll be less likely to file late. Filing late can result in owing the taxes themselves plus interest and penalties, so by getting organized ahead of time you’ll save yourself (and your wallet) some trouble.
  • Write down one long-term financial goal that does not involve saving for retirement.Retirement isn’t the only long-term goal we save for. Other big-ticket items include buying a house, paying off debt, saving for a child’s college education, or taking a dream trip. By choosing one long-term financial goal, you can begin to think about when you would like to achieve it. This in turn can help you if you choose to explore savings vehicles, such as CDs or IRAs, or college plans like 529s.
  • Name one treat that you won’t sacrifice. A weekly movie date. Cheery flowers for your windowsill. A monthly dinner out with favorite friends. We all have that small, special something that we buy only because it makes us happy. And that’s OK. Write down one thing you just can’t live without . . . and don’t! Little treats now and then remind you of what’s really of value to you — and why you work in the first place!
Topics: Healthy Living Financial Well-Being Finance Goals Money Workplace Well-Being