Our company started up a wellness program about six months ago. I expect they realized that when the most exercise your typical software developer gets is running to the fridge when the Mountain Dew runs out, having some kind of incentive for your employees to get in better shape will reduce your healthcare expenses in the long run. It works on a “points” system. You get points for filling out a health questionnaire, going for preventative care, and competing in “challenges,” the point of which appears to be to get you to develop good habits.
The first challenge was to keep track of your weight for 12 weeks. You got a point every week you remembered to weigh yourself, and an extra point for every week that you lost weight. Part of the initial startup was a raffle for everyone who filled out the health profile and got their vitals checked, and I was lucky enough to win a FitBit Flex, which arrived shortly before the challenge started, so I’ve been using it to track my activity and food since early October. So far I’ve lost about 15 pounds.
Today, they started the second challenge, “15 for Me.” It’s lasts for a month, and you give yourself a point every day that you participate in at least 15 minutes of stress management. They give you a list of things you can participate in, and I wasn’t really sure what to pick. Meditation is probably impossible in a house with two small boys, and Nancy is convinced that “massage” means I’m supposed to give a massage instead of get one, so that’s out, too. The only options that seemed feasible were physical activity and journaling. I figured I’d cover my bases and do both.
For physical activity, I went down to the basement and cleaned the pile of groceries and Christmas wrapping off the treadmill (which has the added stress-reducing benefit of making a path in the basement so I’m not tripping over as much stuff when I go down there), and walked for 20 minutes while listening to podcasts. This had the added bonus of burning about a hundred calories according to the treadmill. (Gotta compensate for that Mountain Dew somehow.)
For journaling, all the websites I googled emphasized that for true stress management, you should write about stressful things or events to work through them, and keep your journal private so you don’t censor yourself. Well, how about this? I’ll write on my blog, which hasn’t been updated in over a year, but I won’t censor myself, and if anything stressful does come up, I’ll work through it here. It’s not like anyone actually reads this. But just in case this doesn’t really count as “journaling,” I’ll still walk on the treadmill, too.