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Lee Health Coconut Point Team Models Health and Wellness

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

April 6, 2022

Annual Wellness Challenge Encourages, Inspires Healthy Habits

As a facility, Lee Health Coconut Point has a lot to offer our patients and the community, especially when it comes to inspiring healthy habits and wellness. There are programs and services, yoga classes, the teaching kitchen, a walking path, a garden, and a team of people who aim to model health and wellness, too.

For the past few years, a facility-wide employee wellness challenge has kept team members motivated and encouraged in their own health journeys.

Carrie Bloemers, director of education and navigation at the Healthy Life Center, says the challenge runs the whole month of February. This strategic timing aligns with when many people’s motivation to stick to their resolutions is waning.

“The challenge is meant to be encouraging, and Jamie Hoover [personal health advocate] does a great job coordinating activities and weekly email support,” Carrie says. “Jamie keeps everyone engaged with tips she shares every weekday during the challenge – from ‘Motivation Monday’ messages to information on nutrition, exercise and hydration. On Fridays during the challenge, we set up in the teaching kitchen in the Healthy Life Center to offer healthy snacks and new recipes to try.”

Participants also are invited to use the Tanita scale for weekly weigh-ins if they’d like to track their progress with weight and body fat loss.

“We recognize that making (and maintaining) lifestyle changes require focus, motivation and support,” Carrie says. “The annual wellness challenge helps provide some external motivation to help us all focus on our healthy habits.”

Wellness challenge awards may serve as a bit of motivation, too. Jamie tracks the participants and presents awards for the greatest percent decrease in weight, most engaged participant, most transformational wellness story (which is a story written and shared by participants if they choose), the department with the most participation and leadership champion.

This year, about 50 people officially signed up and participated in the challenge. The ED took the award for the department with the most participation, and their leader, Terry Beasley, earned the leadership champion award.

“I promoted participation in the challenge, but all of the credit goes to Amanda Meulenberg, RN,” Terry says. “Amanda chairs our practice council and really got everyone excited and engaged to do this. Everyone was interested in eating better, and there was a lot of conversation around the snacks they got to try; they encouraged and reminded each other to drink water. I appreciate Amanda taking the lead on this – it was great to see our team focused on their health.”

Pamela Durbin, a supervisor in Registration Services, has participated in all of the employee wellness challenges and received the award for being the most engaged participant this year. After back surgery, she hasn’t been able to push herself as much with exercise, but she committed to walking, using resistance bands and focusing on her mindset.

“For the challenge this year, I really dove into my motivation – my why,” Pamela says. “I went into the challenge wanting to push myself, but I was still restricted in what I could do physically. So I honed in on what I could do – 5-10 minutes of movement at a time instead of feeling bad if I couldn’t do longer sessions. Even on busy days, I would grab my resistance bands and use them during conference calls. I realized, too, that just sitting still and breathing for a minute helped so much. My why changed so much from the beginning of the challenge to the end – it shifted from working on my physique to working on my mindset.”

Pamela says by the end of the challenge, she’d lost weight and felt better. She recognized how much stress her team was feeling, so she drew on what was helping her – focusing on mindset – and began sending her team daily affirmations to help lift their spirits, moods and perspectives.

“This year’s challenge helped me realize that wellness is about the whole person – mind and body,” Pamela says. “The employee wellness challenge is such a cool opportunity to take care of ourselves and support each other. Jamie does such a wonderful job providing a wide gamut of reading materials, YouTube videos and ideas to keep us motivated. I still go back and look at the emails when I need that extra boost to focus.”

I was so impressed by this employee wellness challenge. Congratulations to all of the award winners and wellness challenge participants. What a great way to boost morale, support one another and model health and wellness.