Safety Journey Begins With a Healthy Mind and Body
In early May 2019, I received a call that at the time I didn’t realize would change my life. It was from a friend, a former co-worker that had a question for me: “What would you think about coming to Wisconsin to check out our organization, and consider joining it?” That’s all it took was a trip and an informal conversation that led to a new journey that I refer to as my “Faith Journey.” Not only did I start a new job with Faith Technologies Incorporated (FTI), but I also committed to relocating to a new state, a state that I had never been to, where I had no family and no friends. Talk about stress.
Soon after I started, the world was just beginning to learn about COVID-19 and how it could impact people. I suffered from two of the health conditions, obesity and asthma, that if I contracted the virus could potentially cause serious consequences. I realized I needed to make a life change.
I remembered FTI’s wellness and benefits programs that were mentioned in my original two-day orientation. Our company uses Virgin Pulse, a web-based rewards program that helps connect employees with health and wellness plans and resources to help them and their family members take a proactive approach to managing their health.
I also reached out to the organization’s employee assistance program (EAP) to identify a counselor that would help me navigate all the new feelings I was encountering with the new job, relocation, and being away from family. It was during the counseling process I learned how important a positive mindset was to maintaining good mental health. Beginning my day with a heart of gratitude not only set the stage for a great day, but it also helped my mind focus on the good that was happening within and around me. As a safety director, these are things that we know are also critical to job-site safety for our team members, and I began to be living proof.
It was also during that process I learned that I was an emotional eater. Armed with the information I learned from my FTI resources, I began being intentionally active. Every time I felt feelings of anxiety or depression, I walked and began tracking my healthy habits through the Virgin Pulse app. I was beginning to have fun with it and moved from walking to riding a stationary bike and incorporating free weights. I started to notice a difference in how I felt; the harder I worked out, the better I felt the next day.
Then I began slowly modifying my eating habits. I stopped eating out as often, and I make better choices when I do. I started choosing healthier food and beverage options at home as well, and while I still have my sweets, I have those things in moderation.
Through my FTI journey and the resources available to me as a team member, I’m living a healthier lifestyle and starting my day with a heart of gratitude, and the results have been life changing. I’ve lost over 90 pounds, and although I still have lots of work to do, I am close to being in the best shape of my life, physically and mentally.
An organization’s most precious resource is its employees. Providing meaningful work that stimulates employees’ minds and provides a sense of purpose and direction socially connects people to their communities and provides the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society. To accomplish this, it’s vital that we protect our precious resources by providing health and wellness programs that promote both physical and mental health.
Healthy, engaged employees are more productive, have the energy to do what they need to do and have the ability to deal with the challenges in their lives, and I’m proud to be a real-life example of this to our team. I encourage other organizations to ensure they are addressing their team members’ total health and wellness needs, and I also urge everyone to take advantage of the wellbeing services offered by their companies.