We need options: Employee wellbeing from a working mom’s perspective

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  • Date posted

    Jun 28, 2022

  • Guest post by

    Kinzy Gillespie, Production Design Specialist at Navigate

As a full-time working mom, something always has to give. Juggling the schedules of three kids on top of my other responsibilities leaves very little room for “me time.”

Just when I start to focus on and master one area of my life, another area begins to suffer. My bed may be made, but the dishes are mocking me. If I sit down to read a book, the laundry piles up around me. The grocery order is submitted, but the toy box appears to have exploded all over the living room.

It’s a constant game of give and take and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will never emerge victorious.

I can’t do everything 100%, 100% of the time.

Work.

Parenting.

Chores.

Exercise.

Hobbies.

Life.

While a 100% success rate is an unattainable goal that I’ve since given up on, I’ve adopted a much healthier life view of let’s just focus on doing most of the things, decently well, most of the time.

Cue me dipping my toes back into the world of exercise.

I was a college athlete. I know the drill for getting in shape. I also know that when I was a broke college student with little to no real responsibilities, working out was easy. I had the time, the energy, and I didn’t have to check to see if the gym had childcare available prior to my arrival. Even better, the gym was free (complimentary with the cost of a hefty private school tuition.)

Today I don’t have those luxuries, so I started out by committing to 30 minutes a day, whatever that looked like. A walk, a jog, an on-demand workout video, a mediocre attempt at the latest TikTok dance—as long as I got my heart rate up for 30 minutes, it counted.

Then I said, ok 10,000 steps a day. Non-negotiable. Done.

Five days a week. Two rest days when I needed them.

A habit was formed.

Then winter hit and my new routine hit rock bottom right along with it.

Unable, or rather unwilling, to trudge through the snow in subzero temps to hit my 10,000 steps, all the momentum I’d built up came to a screeching halt.

Before I knew it, I was back to my old ways, sipping hot chocolate and refusing to leave the house until I could step outside without seeing my breath. Like a less intimidating bear, I decided to go into hibernation until winter ended, and subsequently into retirement from exercise (again!)

Enter our company wellbeing program

As a Navigate employee, I spent the better part of the year prior checking off items for our employee wellbeing program, and in turn was awarded an incentive for completion. On top of earning dollars from the program, I also received additional deposits throughout the year from company social events, happy hours, trivia, my birthday and work anniversary, etc. Much like a kid with $5 in their pocket, I had money to burn and the deadline to use it was approaching.

Reflecting on my previous year’s purchase of an air fryer, coffee pot with a hot water dispenser (hello upgrade), and an unhealthy amount of Bath & Body works gift cards, I decided to use the money towards one big purchase to make my life easier and cheat mother nature—a treadmill.

On January I became the proud owner of our new living room staple and subsequently assured my husband that if he assembled it, I wouldn’t use it to hang laundry on.

Personalized wellbeing rewards lead to significant results

A purchase I otherwise wouldn’t have had the extra funds for was made possible by my employer’s wellbeing incentive program. I was able to quickly get back into the swing of things. Making my workouts a priority and not having any excuse to not get it done. Less than ideal weather, kids at home, no time before or after work, whatever the excuses, they were now a thing of the past.

I reinstated my 10,000 steps rule and recommitted to 30 minutes of daily movement and have gone on to lose 20 pounds. But what’s even better are the results you can’t see. My anxiety has improved, my mood is boosted, I can keep up with my kids better, and I’m overall just a happier person.

I am grateful to work for a company who focuses on holistic health and wellbeing and allows me to select activities and learning opportunities that are meaningful to me. Recognizing that wellness is a unique and personal journey, I was able to focus on areas I felt needed improvement versus a less helpful one-size fits all solution.

Last year I perfected the air fryer chicken nugget. This year I got back into running and lost 20 lbs. Next year, who knows? With the addition of lifestyle benefits through Fringe, I may use my wellness dollars for continued self-improvement in the form of an Audible subscription or Hello Fresh deliveries.

With the variety of activities available throughout the year, I have no doubt that I will once again successfully complete the Navigate wellbeing program. In doing so, I’m afforded the opportunity to pour a little back into myself after spending most days pouring into others.

Looking for more guidance on how to boost employee engagement, morale, and overall wellbeing? Check out how meeting these three underlying psychological needs can help you get there.

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