For years people have often considered personal trainers to be the gurus of personal health and wellness.
There is much more to pursuing overall health than being physically fit. Moreover, there are many resources for people who are interested in revamping their lives to reflect health and wellness.
“My own path towards wellness has been a long and dynamic one. It’s taught me that healing from the inside-out takes time and there can be great value in various sources of guidance.”
Wellness coaches are the future of health education. People all over the world are reaping the personal benefits that come from wellness coaching and there are numerous and often unknown services that a wellness coach can provide for you.
Research shows a large positive impact on the behaviors of people who work with wellness coaches in addition to dieting and exercise. An article by Deborah Gardner (2014), sheds light on how wellness coaching can actually help to change a person’s behavior and results in more positive outcomes of goals.
A multi-faceted approach to one’s health makes a difference. Imagine being able to consult with one person to help you with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A wellness coach is like having your own personal trainer, nutritionist, and mental health counselor all in one.
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What is a Wellness Coach?
Wellness coaches are health professionals who target not only physical fitness but also the mind, spirit, and overall lifestyle.
These health professionals have a great understanding of psychology as it relates to health. A wellness coach can help you set goals in many areas of your life such as dieting, exercise, emotional health, and how to increase your motivation to achieve your goals.
Just like having a sports coach, a wellness coach can guide you to what “plays” in life will help you achieve your aspirations.
Wellness coaches can also help you learn ways to prevent disease or better manage a disease you may suffer from.
“Wellness coaching requires a unique set of skills that are not taught in traditional coach training programs. A wellness coach works with individuals or groups who want to make changes in their lifestyle to optimize their health and wellbeing.”
These health professionals can help you with anything from diet and exercise regiments to meditation instruction and even smoking cessation.
A wellness coach is known for their ability to help you discover the healthiest and most effective path to meet your goals. It is a partnership that is often much deeper than a doctor/patient relationship. The approach is very future-driven and encourages you as the client to focus on future aims.
For instance, people who have had weight loss surgery may benefit from working with a wellness coach to help change their habits and overall lifestyle that may have led to their obesity. A gastric bypass patient who was studied over a 1-year period while working with a wellness coach was reported to have maintained his status post weight for up to 1 year after surgery (Schwartz, 2013).
Where Can I Find a Wellness Coach?
A great resource for finding a wellness coach is asking your medical doctor to refer you to one. There are even wellness coaches online that provide virtual counseling sessions.
Some large fitness clubs also provide wellness coaching. It is important to choose a wellness coach who you are comfortable with and who also has the right credentials.
Normally a wellness coach is a professional who works in the area of health or fitness. Doctors, licensed nurses, or nutritionists can all be great resources. The majority of wellness coaches also have a distinctive certification that reflects specialized training.
What is it Like to Work With a Wellness Coach?
A wellness coach will normally start with an overall assessment. An assessment will consist of your overall health and wellness, diet, and lifestyle.
Your wellness coach will work with you to develop goals and a timeframe of steps in order to reach your goals. Most clients work with their coaches over a timeframe of 3-6 months.
This is usually a realistic amount of time to be able to benefit from services and maintain consistency in your routine. You may even find it helpful to follow up with your wellness coach several times per year.
The commitment is entirely up to you. Many coaches offer a free consultation before you are obligated to their services. Wellness coaches provide great value if you are looking to develop an overall lifestyle change.
“The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well-being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually.”
Corporate Wellness Programs
Seeing someone out running, on a bike, or talking about going to the gym is just part of daily life. It’s a relatively recent cultural change – seeing someone dressed in athletic gear, out running, say, 50 years ago, would have been really odd.
This is partly because there was less of a need for recreational physical activity; for example, in 1960, three-quarters of the UK workforce were described as manual workers, whereas today the same proportion are knowledge workers. As the demand for digital and online services increases, the demand for physical jobs decreases, thus needing to be supplemented.
Another contributing factor is that society has learned to recognize the value of exercise for health and wellbeing, so over time it has become our ‘normal.’ The same is true of diet and nutrition. More and more we are recognizing that what we eat impacts how we feel.
Discussions about maintaining everyday mental health, however, are still rare, unlike conversations about physical exercise or the amount of carbohydrate or fat in our lunch.
Corporate Wellness Programs: How Holistic is Yours?
Acknowledging that we spend most of our time at work, business environments have started corporate wellness programs to promote the role of exercise and diet in health.
Corporate Wellness Programs are usually tailored to the individual needs and resources of the company. Typically these programs include a range of activities such as health education, health monitoring, smoking cessation initiatives and incentives for physical fitness, emotional well-being, family care, and financial well-being.
Unfortunately, proactive programs to help employees improve mental resilience or well-being are uncommon, despite our modern-day wellness needs. While our bodies are moving less, we work longer hours, at a faster pace, and the “always-on” culture coupled with job uncertainty and economic instability can generate mental stress. These can lead to anxiety and depression disorders.
The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health suggests that at any one time, one person in six experiences depression, anxiety or stress-related issues at work; with an estimated cost of £26 billion per year for UK employers. The cost of burnout and stress to both employers and employees is high, however, there seems to be good evidence to show that prevention through corporate wellness is effective, less costly and may even provide economic benefits.
Corporate wellness programs play a vital role in the workplace as the research around workplace wellbeing grows almost daily. These programs can be run internally through HR or from a specialist position and many companies choose to run their activities internally with the guidance of external wellness consultants.
Reaching the Remarkable: A Holistic Approach to Corporate Wellness
Reach Remarkable is an expert consulting practice that provides managerial and training support for a holistic approach to corporate wellness. Reach Remarkable’s aim is not just physical health but mental well-being.
Reach Remarkable offers a comprehensive range of workshops, short and long-term courses, retreats, team building activities, and worksite visits all focused on building the psychological resources needed for holistic well-being at work.
The ideas introduced and developed through activities include mindfulness at work, developing a growth mindset for boosting performance, well-being and workplace resilience, and a specific course for learning how to perform under pressure. There is also an opportunity to tailor the services to suit your organization.
“Focusing on performance improvement alone can lead to great short term results, but may also contribute to burnout in the longer term. Reach Remarkable approaches performance differently by combining performance enhancement with improved resilience and well-being, supporting sustainable long term performance and productivity.” -Mark, of Reach Remarkable
This is done through their unique five-element model focusing on the physical aspects of health and incorporating emotion, attention, mastery, purpose, and meaning.
This encourages a holistic approach to well-being at work by supporting performance and building resilience.
A Take-Home Message
The importance of corporate wellness programs is gaining greater attention as we move more towards knowledge-based working roles. While we know that well-being is hugely impacted by physical exercise, diet and health monitoring, and education, there is still a glaring gap in the way we approach wellness at work.
Holistic corporate well-being programs, like those offered by Reach Remarkable, offer a focus on mental and emotional well-being as well as physical health. In this way, companies invest in prevention, thus increasing the psychological resources needed to maintain employee health and wellness.
These programs can change company performance and offer long-term financial benefits.
Start paying attention to the holistic well-being of your employees and open a dialogue about the role of mental health and resilience in the workplace; maybe it will help destigmatize mental health, and make these important conversations a normal part of conversation and workplace life.
Get in touch with Reach Remarkable and find out how you can start your corporate wellness program with a holistic approach.
Has your workspace offered corporate wellness programs for staff and if so, what was the experience like? Please share in our comments section below.
- Offer, A. (2008). British Manual Workers: From Producers to Consumers, c. 1950–2000. Contemporary British History, 22(4), 537–571.
- The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. (2007). Mental Health at Work: Developing the business case. Mental Health at Work: Developing the business case (Vol. Policy Pap).
- Campion, J., Bhui, K., & Bhugra, D. (2012). European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance on prevention of mental disorders. European Psychiatry, 27(2), 68–80. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.10.004
- Gardner, D. B. (2014). Walking the Talk for Patient-Centered Care: An Interview with Eileen O’Grady, Wellness Coach. Nursing Economics, 32(2), 99-100.
- Schwartz, J. (2013). Wellness coaching for obesity: A case report. Glob Adv Health Med, 2(4), 68-70.