4 Key Takeaways From My Time at the 2020 National Wellness Institute Wellness Conference

21.08.20 03:46 PM By Motion Connected

I recently had the opportunity to attend the virtual, 45th Annual National Wellness Conference. It was a great 2 days filled with inspiring speakers and thought-provoking viewpoints. There were four key takeaways that really stood out to me as I left the event.


1.  We need to do work on inclusively


‘If we’re going to be inclusive, we have to look at our narrow framework and do work.’ (Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., PHD presenter from The Privilege Institute).  

Diversity in corporate wellness is lacking and everyone has work to do. Dr. Moore provided key action items, and steps to take to program ‘wellness’ to those different than myself.  “If you have a lot, you should do a lot.”  Thank you Dr. Moore for the motivation and specific items to start the work.  

2.  We need to make mental health part of the overall wellbeing strategy.


By making mental health part of an overall whole-health approach, it decreases the stigma and takes ‘mental health’ out of its silo.  Mental health is no more or less important than physical health, nutrition, sleep quality, etc.  They are all interconnected and mental health is the center of whole-person wellness.  This leads directly to takeaway number 3 . . .   


3.  It’s okay to not be okay

‘It’s ok to not be ok’ (Tramaine El-Amin, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, National Council for Behavioral Health).  We aren’t just living life right now, we are living life during a pandemic.  ‘Life’ is harder. There are many decisions to make and there are many unknowns and increased stressors.  All feelings are valid and taking the time for self-care is critical.  A couple self-care techniques I am trying to incorporate into my own routine: 


·  Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises

·  Personal ‘time-outs’ to move, stay active, engage with others and/or take a break from everything.

·  Educational podcasts

·  Dance breaks


4.  We need to focus on decreasing preventable deaths.

One notable speaker was U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams. To have him, a leader that ‘gets wellness’ and understands the impact health and well-being has on not just the individual, but a community and a nation, was highly motivating. 


Dr. Adams highlighted the need to focus on decreasing preventable deaths, a common goal of all of our wellbeing programs.  He mentioned several call-to-action initiatives, and two that stood out were:


1.  Wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance.

2.  Make hypertension control a national priority. 


Here’s more information from the U.S. Department Health and Human Services:


1.  Everyone can do their part to stay healthy by following a few simple instructions that will in turn, help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. #COVIDStopsWithMe

Dr. Adams calls on all Americans to:

·  Follow federal, state and local guidelines

·  Take extra precautions if you are at higher risk for severe illness

·  Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly

·  Stay six feet away from others when you can, and wear a face covering in public when you cannot social distance.


These steps are critical for everyone to take, because although everyone is not at equal risk for a severe case of COVID-19, everyone risks being infected with the virus that causes the disease and then spreading it to others.

2.  More than 75 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, but the scary part is that around 11 million remain unaware and untreatedTreating patients with uncontrolled hypertension dramatically reduces their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Many Americans with hypertension visit their health care providers regularly but remain undiagnosed. Million Hearts® has made blood pressure control a critical national priority and has developed clinician and patient resources to help you find patients with hypertension who are “hiding in plain sight” in your system or practice. Visit the Million Hearts® website for more information.


Wellbeing programs that offer access to blood pressure monitoring and encourage physical activity challenges can also assist with identifying employees with high blood pressure and lowering blood pressure by making the heart stronger.  A stronger heart pumps more blood with less effort thus lowering blood pressure.


In short, I came out of the past two days motivated, inspired, excited and fulfilled with a long list of action items that I am still trying to wrap my head around.  I can’t wait to apply these takeaways to Motion Connected’s client programs. We can make the most of 2020!