What does wellness mean to you? Does mental health immediately come to mind? Or “overall health and wellness”? There are much more aspects to wellness in addition to mental health. Can you name the dimensions of wellness? What are you doing to create a holistic environment for yourself and your staff? I will be discussing the practices I have integrated into my staff training’s, and day-to-day operations to contribute to the overall health and wellness of my (student) employees.
There are a few different wellness models but I have always connected most to the 6 dimensions model for myself and while planning programs for my students. The six dimensions of wellness are listed below.
Six Dimensions of Wellness
Physical Wellness: Proper eating habits, exercise, and medical health
My staff is sorted into Harry Potter houses every quarter and competes in a House Cup Championship. Every quarter, my staff is motivated to engage in physical activity to earn points for their houses. They earn points for the following:
1 point for:
- Swimming 300 yards
- Treading water for 10 minutes
- 10 minutes engaging in physical activity on the pool deck (yoga, jumping rope, abs, push ups)
They are able to engage in physical activity during their down time or off the clock. The first term I introduced swimming for points, the staff as a whole swam 86.6 miles. In previous years it was a struggle to get the staff to complete mandatory 300 yards once a week. This was a drastic increase in voluntary activity and their increase fitness level was apparent when we swam laps and tread during in-service and while practicing saves.
Every quarter I also ask my staff to write down a sleep goal. Most of the time people do not think about sleep. Sleep is one of the most underrated activities.
In non-recreational environments, this could be adapted to include:
- Pedometer challenge
- Lunchtime walking groups
- On-site group exercise classes
- Mile-A-Day Challenge
- Weekly hiking challenges
- Turn meetings into walking meetings
- Join a local sports league
- Weekly/monthly fitness challenges (most push-ups, miles biked, etc.)
Emotional Wellness: being able to understand and cope with one’s feelings
I ask for a lot of feedback. I always ask that it is constructive. Being able to understand what you are feeling, and why you are feeling it is the right step to being emotionally intelligent. Statements like “I don’t like this” or “This isn’t fair” are not helpful for the staff member nor myself. If there is a problem, there are also multiple solutions.
Activities to Support Emotional Wellness:
- High Five Board- Peer to peer positive affirmation system
- Quarterly check-ins; these are 100% non-work related
- Inspirational Quotes
- Start a community library
- Tell your staff you appreciate them. Sincerely and genuinely
- Bake them cookies
- Employee of the Quarter
I have an open door policy and spend as much as time as I can interacting with my staff.
Spiritual Wellness: growth of one’s sense of meaning in life
More often than not the staff I work with have direction, but might not have the tools or resources to get on the right path effectively. I try to offer many opportunities for exploration and discovery within their self, within their job, and field of study.
Activities to support spiritual wellness:
- Complete yearly passion maps
- 3 month, 1 year, 3 years, and 5-year goals
- Distinguishing between what you should be doing (what we are told we should do) and what you must do (what you are passionate about)
Intellectual Wellness: expanding one’s knowledge, skills, and creativity
What does lifeguarding have to do with any other field? It has the same foundation of customer service skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, multitasking, conflict resolution, communication skills, relationship building, and focus that all other jobs require. It is not enough for me to hire lifeguards and let them think that they are just lifeguarding. They are preparing for the rest of their lives.
Activities to support intellectual wellness:
- Resumes/Cover letter edits
- Excellence opportunity to highlight what they are actually doing compared to what they think they are doing
- Linkedin creation and updates
- Resume in 140 characters #twesume
- Self-Reflection as evaluations
- Mock interviews
- Letter of Intent Editing
- Career exploration
- Coloring books for breaks
- Creating employee run programs and initiatives
Environmental Wellness: good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.
Activities to promote environmental wellness:
- Maintain a comfortable temperature with clean air quality
- Reducing the number of chemicals used in cleaning and preventative maintenance
- Replacing many cleaners with vinegar
- Allow background music of the employees choice
- Address potential hazards immediately
- Keep plants in and around the office space
- Allow furniture and equipment to be rearranged to make a more productive space
Social Wellness: Creating positive relationships with others
Creating and maintaining social wellness is one of the most important building blocks to holistic wellness. Positive relationships can create a warm welcoming space while negative relationships can create a hostile, tense space. I always stress how important positive workplace relationships are when creating culture.
These are comments I strive to hear:
- “Work is a safe space”
- “I am comfortable here and with my coworkers”
- “My coworkers are my friends”
- “Work is a break from the stress of the outside world”
- “I know I can ask you for advice and help”
- “I love working here”
Activities to promote social wellness:
- Create work families or teams
- These create a sense of community and creates a support next work
- Host staff potlucks
- Host staff bonding events
- Pool parties
- Karaoke nights
- Bake offs
- Volunteer together
- Create a safe space for conflict
- Realize that not all conflict is bad, and it doesn’t need to destroy relationships
- Complete positive affirmation sheets for all employees
These six dimensions link to together to create a positive work environment that will create healthy, happy employees.