Wellness tip: Healthy sleep habits, healthy you

Burning the candle at both ends? Research says poor sleep habits could cost your health.

The term “beauty sleep” may sound like just a posh way to refer to a good night of rest, but the origins of this idiom actually relate to the restorative health benefits of getting quality shut-eye. These benefits go beyond a physical sense of well-restedness to include improved mental processing, weight management, a stronger immune system, reduced stress and improved mood1. Consistently getting enough sleep could even lower a person’s risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety2.

There are many factors that could impact someone’s ability to sleep, and they vary from person to person. Some of them are simply demographic, while others are occupational or socio-economic. Some are preventable, like late-day consumption of caffeine or alcohol, while others are caused by sleep disorders, underlying health issues, or chronic stress and anxiety. In a 2017 study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers Nicola Magnavita and Sergio Garbarino suggest loneliness could lead to problems sleeping, as well3.

“In the complex relationship between wellbeing, health and productivity, sleep impairment can act as a moderator,” Magnavita and Garbarino wrote. “Sleep disturbances may be both the cause and the consequence of reduced wellbeing and may therefore set up a vicious circle with relevant consequences for productivity and, in the longer term, the safety and health of workers.”

Taking steps to regain control of your sleeping habits could help break this cycle and set you up mentally and physically for better health and wellbeing. The National Institute of Health’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion provides several tips for individuals looking to improve their sleep1:

  • Establish a consistent schedule for waking and sleeping
  • Avoid exercising a few hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine later in the day, and alcohol right before bed
  • Get in the swing of a relaxing before-bed routine, such as a warm bath, reading, or something else you find calming
  • Avoid bright lights and loud noises (i.e. from the TV, computer or phone) in the bedroom

For those who have tried these tips and still have trouble falling or staying asleep, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has detailed common sleep disorders on its website.

In the end, research has drawn a clear line connecting healthy sleeping habits with healthy people, and vice versa. If you feel that you could be getting better sleep, try implementing small changes to your morning and nighttime routines to determine what works best for you. Or meet with a WellSpark Health Coach to find some strategies to improve your sleep habits.


[1] Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). “Healthy Living: Get Enough Sleep.” US Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed April 15, 2024, from https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep.

[2] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep.” Accessed April 15, 2024, from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/public-education/brain-basics/brain-basics-understanding-sleep.

[3] Magnavita, Nicola, and Sergio Garbarino (November 2017). “Sleep, Health and Wellness at Work: A Scoping Review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 14, No. 11, 6, p. 1347. Accessed April 15, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111347.

How to choose the right wellness program?

Cost, time and effectiveness are the factors to consider

Maybe you’ve decided that it’s time to try a wellness program to address factors that are negatively influencing the happiness, stability, and expenses related to the health of your workforce. The success of your business relies on employees who are focused on their work, show up consistently and reliably for your organization, and whose health doesn’t impose avoidable medical expenses and insurance claims. The behavioral changes that underpin these issues are what wellness programs are designed to affect. But, how do you know you’re choosing the right program—that will drive the change you’re looking for—and not investing in a wellness program that will miss the mark, not earn attention and participation from your workforce, and ultimately be yet another expense on top of the ones you had hoped to overcome?

Three key criteria should drive your research and comparison of wellness programs, and ultimately the choice you make: the cost, time and effort you must invest to earn employee interest and participation, and ultimately the results.

At this point, wellness programs appear to be a commodity. So many options are available that seemingly offer the same features, do the same thing, and are designed to deliver the same results. Shopping for the best price may seem like the logical approach to guide your selection process. But, how much you spend on a wellness program isn’t the only thing that determines the smartness of your decision. Rather, it’s whether you choose a program designed to address the issues you believe are at the core of where improvement is possible, especially among the employees you feel are most responsible for the challenges you want to overcome.

Time investment
After you’ve chosen a wellness program to implement, the real work begins, which is driving adoption and engagement from your employees. A program can’t be successful if it doesn’t earn participation from the employees who will most benefit from it. When considering which wellness program to commit to, it’s important to understand what responsibility—meaning time and effort—you and your team will need to devote to crafting and delivering the activities and communications required to earn employee participation.

Evaluating effectiveness
Feeling confident that a wellness program offers a mechanism for measuring and demonstrating achievement of intended results is the most important factor among your decision-making criteria. Ultimately, being able to showcase positive results will determine whether your choice and implementation of a wellness program is viewed as a success, failure, smart investment, or waste of resources. The essential first step is yours, which is evaluating your organization’s challenges and identifying exactly where you feel wellness program intervention is needed, and how the circumstances that reflect the collective wellness of your workforce will look different if a program has done its job. For that to be possible, a wellness program must come with reporting that offers the visibility you need.

Where does WellSpark fit in among wellness programs?
WellSpark is for clients seeking a holistic, integrated wellness program to drive cultural shift within a workforce, not just target a single health issue.

WellSpark focuses on a variety of measures, including disease distress and forward-looking “future cost avoidance” rather than return-on-investment, which is a measure of past performance. WellSpark seeks to reach employees who are not yet part of the “sick care” system but who have the potential to become costly members in the future if no intervention is taken.

Your healthiest most wellness-conscious employees will jump at the chance to participate in a program. But they are the ones you least need to reach and influence. To impact change where it is needed, you need to reach and engage employees who ignore or resist participation. It’s not the largest potential participation that will drive the results you need, it’s participation from those who present the greatest barrier to achieving results, and who are usually the ones most difficult to reach and engage. That’s where WellSpark’s boutique, consultative, and customizable approach truly delivers.

Holistic versus single-point solution wellness programs
Although wellness programs come in variety of forms and are delivered through multiple modalities, one distinguishing factor can help in your research, evaluation, and decision among programs. If a program is a single-point-solution, it aims to address one health concern, such as prevention or management of diabetes. So, if you have identified more than one health or wellness issue to tackle with your workforce, you may need to consider more than one solution. In contrast, holistic programs, WellSpark being one example, consider biological, psychological, and social dimensions of a person’s health to address the whole wellness picture.

Let WellSpark help you determine what type of wellness program is the best fit for your organization. Contact us today.

An employer’s guide to quashing loneliness and sowing social connection

Loneliness has been deemed an epidemic, and its effects are associated with increased health risks and reduced employee performance. How can employers cultivate a culture of connection in the workplace?

The COVID-19 pandemic may be behind most of us, but according to US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, there’s another epidemic sweeping the nation: one of loneliness. In fact, this condition preceded the pandemic, with more than 50% of American adults reporting feelings of loneliness pre-COVID, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Forced isolation during the pandemic only served to exacerbate the issue, which continues to run rampant today.

This feeling of disconnection and isolation can have serious ramifications for mental and physical health and, in turn, the health of our society as a whole. A lack of social connection can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression, dementia, susceptibility to illness, and even premature death. For example, the negative health effects of loneliness can be compared to smoking 15 cigarettes per day1.

“Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders,” Dr. Murthy said. “Together, we can build a country that’s healthier, more resilient, less lonely, and more connected.”2

In an advisory shared by Dr. Murthy in May 2023, numerous studies were cited as evidence of how social connectedness benefits all of us. Specifically for working Americans, fostering inclusivity has been linked to lower levels of chronic stress and burnout in the workplace. Additionally, connectivity has been shown to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction, creativity, competence, innovation and job performance1.

So, what can employers do to cultivate a culture of connection in the workplace? The US Surgeon General offered many suggestions, starting with prioritizing socialization at all levels of an organization1. Employers can also:

  • Empower company leaders and managers to nurture connection across teams and initiatives
  • Use existing support programs to educate employees on the power of social connection at work
  • Promote a workplace culture that addresses whole-person wellness and inclusion
  • Enact policies that respect work-life balance
  • Explore ways to keep employees connected amid hybrid or remote work1

For employers to succeed in fostering social connection in the workplace, it’s important to tailor efforts to specific work environments and cultures. Additionally, striving for continuous improvement will help ensure employees are supported through this epidemic of loneliness now and in the future.

Helping employees foster better human connections in their lives is good business. Learn how WellSpark helps employers improve the health of their workforce through employee support individual, group and text to promote a culture of wellbeing.


[1] Surgeon General’s Advisory (May 2023). “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.” US Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed March 31, 2024, from https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf.

[2] US Department of Health and Human Services (May 2023). “New Surgeon General Advisory Raises Alarm about the Devastating Impact of the Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the United States.” Accessed March 31, 2024, from https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/05/03/new-surgeon-general-advisory-raises-alarm-about-devastating-impact-epidemic-loneliness-isolation-united-states.html.

Wellness tip: Food for thought on building healthy eating habits

Developing and sticking to healthier eating patterns could be a first line of defense for preventing certain chronic diseases.

Like most things in life, a healthy diet is all about balance. And while everyone deserves a sweet treat every now and again, maintaining that balance could help you prevent the development of chronic disease later in life. Today’s food landscape is rife with indulgence, highly processed foods and copious levels of sugar. Being mindful of how nutrition impacts long-term health and wellness — and what is at stake if poor dietary habits are sustained over time — has never been more important.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), roughly 117 million Americans — nearly half of all adults — have at least one preventable disease abetted in part by poor diet, lack of exercise, or both1. These include heart disease, diabetes and even some types of cancers.

There is a plethora of research on the ineffectiveness of dieting for the general population, especially with fad diets that restrict certain types of foods or food groups. These approaches often aren’t sustainable, and can sometimes even be unhealthy. Luckily, there are also plenty of other ways to go about healthier eating, starting with some nutritional education.

One of the best things a person can do for their diet is provide variety. This involves eating foods across all major food groups — proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy — and, to take it a step further, broadening the menu to include several items from each food group2. Adding variety to your diet is an easy way to ensure your body is receiving the nutrients it needs to support your overall health.

Expanding your palate to include a greater variety of foods is important, as is limiting foods that may taste good, but probably aren’t doing your body any favors from a nutritional standpoint. For example, the ODPHP recommends a daily diet that does not exceed 10% of calories from saturated fats (butter, cheese and high-fat meats) or added sugars (sweet treats, candy and soda). Additionally, sodium, which tends to be higher in processed foods and restaurants, should be limited to under 2,300 milligrams per day for the average adult2.

These changes don’t need to be sweeping, and they will vary based on a person’s specific dietary needs and daily caloric intake recommendation. Starting small can be a way to gain confidence with healthier eating patterns. Would a sandwich hit the spot? Reach for whole-wheat bread instead of white. Feeling peckish? Try a handful of fruit or nuts, rather than potato chips. Instead of overhauling your entire diet from the get-go, start small and with intention, working yourself up as you go.

Perhaps the most important part of establishing healthy eating patterns is perseverance. This is why it can be beneficial to make healthy eating a part of your everyday routine. In the words of the ODPHP, “Think of every day and meal as an opportunity to make a healthy choice.”

Building on all this, the following meal planning tips can be a great place to start to help establish healthier eating patterns that last3:

  • Map Out Your Meals: Outline meals you plan to eat for the week and use it as a guide. Be sure to list beverages and snacks, too!
  • Find Balance: If you have veggies, dairy and protein at one meal, include fruit and grains in the next to cover all 5 food groups over the course of a day.
  • Vary Protein Foods: Choose different protein foods throughout the week. If you have chicken one day, try seafood, beans, lean meat or eggs on other days.
  • Make a Grocery List: Start by writing down all of the ingredients for the meals you plan to make. Just be sure to cross off items you already have on hand.
  • Love Your Leftovers: Prepare enough of a dish to eat multiple times during the week. Making leftovers part of your plan can save money and time.
  • Be Mindful of Portion Control and Sizes: Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. If you are trying to manage weight by reducing total daily calories, only eat half of the amount of the carbohydrates that you would normally eat.
  • Drink Plenty of Water: Avoid sugary beverages such as soda, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and tea (especially made with sugar and creamer) as well as overuse of sports drinks and juices. To stay well-hydrated, enjoy plenty of water throughout the day, with and between meals and snacks.
  • Bonus: Meal planning makes it easier to eat healthy on a budget!

Minute changes in diet can have supersized effects on overall health and wellness. In all, being more mindful of eating patterns and understanding which dietary approach works best for you — whether it be preparing meals in advance or having a plan when grocery shopping — is the key to unlocking healthier mealtimes and staving off the risk of preventable diseases.


[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th Edition. December 2015. Accessed Feb. 18, 2024, at https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/previous-dietary-guidelines/2015.

[2] Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th Edition. “How to Build a Healthy Eating Pattern.” Accessed Feb. 18, 2024, at https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Healthy-Eating-Pattern.pdf.

[3] Medikeeper. “Meal Planning Tips.” Accessed on February 16, 2024, from https://my.wellsparkhealth.com/.

Wellness tip: Understanding women’s heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Awareness of the risks and symptoms cannot be overstated.

Heart disease impacts roughly 60 million women across the United States, indiscriminate of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite being the leading cause of death for women, with one in every five female deaths attributed to heart disease in 2021, only half of American women are aware of this risk1.

Women have specific risk factors for heart health, disease and failure, many of which are caused by gender-specific hormone changes and anatomy. Therefore, more widespread public awareness about the signs, symptoms and risk of heart disease in women, as well as a more gender-equitable approach to understanding women’s heart health in the medical community, are both needed to address these staggering statistics.

Understanding signs and symptoms

According to the CDC, there are three common types of heart disease in women. The most common is coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, and poses a greater risk to women after menopause. Arrhythmia is another common heart disease, and refers to a heart that beats irregularly, too quickly or too slowly. Lastly, heart failure is the third most-common serious health disease among women1.

While some women have no symptoms, there are several to look out for, including1:

  • A dull or heavy ache or discomfort in the chest (angina)
  • Neck, jaw or throat pain
  • Back or upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Excessive tiredness

These symptoms shouldn’t be taken lightly, but in the case of no symptoms, women who are experiencing signs of a heart attack — including chest, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations (a fluttering feeling in the chest), swelling of the feet, ankles, legs or abdomen — should seek immediate medical attention1.

Risk factors unique to women

Women have long been underrepresented in medical research, including when it comes to understanding cardiovascular health and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association2. Several health circumstances unique to women can impact their heart health. These include starting menstruation or menopause early, the use of oral hormonal birth control, pregnancy complications and outcomes, and polycystic ovary syndrome1, as well as being “disproportionately affected by inflammatory and autoimmune disorders,” which has been known to impact heart health2.

According to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Natural Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, women have anatomically different hearts compared to men. Structurally, women have smaller hearts with thinner muscular walls, and smaller blood vessels than men, and are more likely to manifest coronary microvascular disease, which impacts smaller arteries of the heart and can make identifying the disease more difficult3.

There are several other risk factors unique to women’s heart health, including anemia, high blood pressure — which affects more than 56 million women in the United States1 — endometriosis, mental health problems, metabolic syndromes and obesity3. Additionally, women with diabetes and/or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, as well as women who smoke, are at a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, even more so than men with the same predispositions, according to the NIH3.

Understanding these specific catalysts, as well as educating the general public on signs, symptoms, and the level of risk, are key to creating gender-equitable approaches to women’s heart health.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Women and Heart Disease.” Accessed Jan. 14, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm.

[2] American Heart Association (May 9, 2022). “Report calls out gaps in women’s heart disease research, care.” Accessed Jan. 14, 2024, from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/05/09/report-calls-out-gaps-in-womens-heart-disease-research-care.

[3] National Institute of Health (NIH). “Women and Heart Disease.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Accessed Jan. 14, 2024, from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/coronary-heart-disease/women.

Progress over perfection

Tips and tricks for taking small steps to achieve big goals.

For many, the start of a new year comes with a new sense of motivation for self-reflection and self-improvement. We all have great aspirations come January, but typically fall off the wagon before achieving those goals, whether they are personal, professional or somewhere in between.

According to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Forbes Health, the average new year’s resolution lasts up to three months — at best — for most people1. Out of the 1,000 people surveyed in October 2023, only 5% kept up with their new year’s resolution through June.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, be more mindful, advance in your professional role, or something else entirely, it’s important to make a plan toward achieving that goal, as well as a means for following that plan. When it comes to setting goals, one common problem is shooting too high, or setting unrealistic expectations that are more likely to result in disappointment than success. According to the experts, the best approach is to start small2.

For example, in the book Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear, he suggests every goal or positive habit can be boiled down into a two-minute version3. If your goal is to run three miles per week, you could start by tying your shoes, or referring to yourself as a runner in casual conversation. These tactics might sound ridiculous, but science shows taking small steps like these over time can lead to significant results toward achieving a larger goal.

Clear also argues that a goal is only as good as the system used to achieve it. This is why it’s important to be intentional and methodical in your goal setting endeavors.

In a 2020 study published in PLOS ONE, Martin Oscarsson and his fellow researchers suggest approach-oriented goals are typically more successful than avoidance-oriented goals4. Approach-oriented goals refer to maintaining a desired outcome, while avoidance-oriented goals are centered around eliminating bad habits or undesired outcomes. So, instead of setting the goal of “losing weight,” changing your perspective to “eating healthier” or “exercising more” — in essence, taking steps toward a positive outcome rather than spending time and energy avoiding a negative outcome — could result in a better success rate.

Aside from starting small, the American Psychological Association also suggests focusing on one goal at a time to get the best results, as well as sharing your progress (and setbacks) with friends and family to keep yourself accountable2. Most importantly, seek support when you need it, and remember to give yourself grace. It should be about progress, not perfection.


[1] Forbes Health. “New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2024.” Accessed Jan. 8, 2024, from https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-statistics/.

[2] American Psychological Association. “The secret behind making your New Year’s resolutions last.” Accessed Jan. 8, 2024, from https://www.apa.org/topics/behavioral-health/new-year-resolutions.

[3] Clear, J. (2019). “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results.” Penguin USA.

[4] Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., and Rozental, A. (2020). “A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals.” PLOS ONE, 15(12), e0234097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234097

Taking a whole-person approach to obesity support

Anti-obesity medication paired with healthy lifestyle skill building could be the answer to sustainable weight loss.

In 2018, 30.7% of adults in the United States were considered overweight, 42.7% had obesity, and 9.2% had severe obesity1. Obesity is linked to several life-threatening medical conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some types of cancer. From a healthcare perspective, obese adults paid $1,861 more on average in medical costs compared to adults at a healthy weight2.

These statistics point to a nationwide obesity crisis. According to Silver Fern Healthcare, the issue has stemmed from inadequate healthcare approaches to obesity, as well as a “flawed national dietary prescription for obesity,” referring to calorie counting, a focus on low-fat eating and smaller servings, combined with exercise and better willpower and accountability3. The pervasive presence of ultra-processed foods in today’s restaurants and grocery stores have only exacerbated the issue.

Many have tried traditional weight loss methods with little, or short-lived, success, but recent pharmaceutical advancements have presented us with a new plan of action — anti-obesity medications (AOMs). According to Silver Fern, AOMs could play a crucial role in response to the national obesity crisis4.

Clinical studies of AOMs on the market today have resulted in between 18% and 22% weight loss on average4. These medications act on gut hormones to make patients feel fuller faster and reduce hunger, among other things. However, AOMs target biological symptoms of obesity and do not address the root causes. When a patient stops taking an AOM, the hormonal and metabolic benefits cease to exist, and — without ancillary support — any weight lost is likely to return.

AOMs aren’t a silver-bullet solution, as there are several individual factors that lead to and enable obesity. A whole-person approach to obesity care should consider more than just medical and dietary interventions; it must also consider overarching cultural influences, lifestyle choices, health inequities, mental health, and personal pressures stemming from a person’s work, social and family life3.

According to Silver Fern, these behavioral and psychosocial factors are the driving force behind 60% of obesity intervention outcomes, which should put them at, or at least near, the top of the list for tackling sustainable weight loss. While AOMs may be an excellent tool for kick-starting weight loss, they are most effective in the long term when paired with a whole-person approach, which could include programs like health coaching and healthy lifestyle skill building.

Employees who are taking AOMs and have access to comprehensive obesity support programs with personalized wellness strategies are likely to see the best — and most lasting — results. While AOMs may be a promising new tool in obesity treatment, they aren’t cheap. According to Silver Fern, first-to-market Wegovy costs as much as $17,976 per year, and emerging competitors are expected to price their solutions similarly4. For employers, covering the cost of AOMs necessitates preemptive action with benefits partners to ensure sufficient program options are available. Helping employees find a path to sustainable weight loss and better wellbeing is good business. Learn how WellSpark helps employers improve the health of their workforce through employee support — individual, group and text — focused on removing barriers that prevent lasting change.


[1] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Overweight & Obesity Statistics.” National Institutes of Health. Accessed Sept. 30, 2023, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Adult Obesity Facts.” Accessed Sept. 30, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html.

[3] Silver Fern Healthcare, LLC. “Traditional US Obesity Programs Have Failed Us — But New Science Provides Hope and a Path Forward.” Accessed Sept. 30, 2323, from https://blog.silverfernhealthcare.com/traditional-us-obesity-programs-have-failed-us-but-new-science-provides-hope-and-a-path-forward/

[4] Silver Fern Healthcare, LLC. “Want to Ensure Your AOM Spend is Worth the Investment? Create an Effective and Affordable Obesity Program.” Accessed Sept. 30, 2023, from https://blog.silverfernhealthcare.com/want-to-ensure-your-aom-spend-is-worth-the-investment-create-an-effective-and-affordable-obesity-program/.

Wellness tip: Putting the ‘health’ in healthy relationships

Social connectedness is crucial to survival, and keeping these bonds strong can also benefit physical and mental health.

In 1995, two social psychologists posed the argument that the concept of belongingness is a basic human need1. Since then, the dawn of the World Wide Web and social media as we know it today has made social connectedness easier in some ways, and harder in others.

According to The University of Arizona’s Telemedicine Program, feelings of loneliness are linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety, heart disease and heart failure, stroke, dementia and premature death. What’s more, the effects of sustained loneliness have been equated to smoking 15 cigarettes per day2. Luckily, building and maintaining strong social connections is one way to combat these deleterious effects.

How does one measure social connectedness? The CDC defines social connectedness as reflecting the number, quality and diversity of relationships people have that cultivate a sense of belonging, value and support3. This could also mean cultivating a sense of community.

Staying social can have shockingly positive outcomes for health and wellness. These connections make us stronger, figuratively and literally — according to various sources, strong social bonds can help to prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, depression and anxiety3.

PositivePsychology.com offers five ways to enhance social well being, including: expressing gratitude to others, performing random but consistent acts of kindness, practicing loving kindness meditation or LKM, sharing positive experiences with others and reflecting interest in others’ positive experiences, and seeking and maintaining high-quality relationships4.


[1] ResearchGate. “The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/15420847_The_Need_to_Belong_Desire_for_Interpersonal_Attachments_as_a_Fundamental_Human_Motivation. Accessed Nov. 26, 2023.

[2] University of Arizona, Telemedicine Program. “Why is Social Health Important for Our Overall Wellness?” https://telemedicine.arizona.edu/blog/why-social-health-important-our-overall-wellness. Accessed Nov. 26, 2023.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “How Does Social Connectedness Affect Health?” https://www.cdc.gov/emotional-wellbeing/social-connectedness/affect-health.htm. Accessed Nov. 26, 2023.

[4] PositivePsychology.com. “What Is Social Wellbeing? 12+ Activities for Social Wellness.” https://positivepsychology.com/social-wellbeing/. Accessed Nov. 26, 2023.

A more enduring path to employee wellbeing

Employee engagement is suffering, from entry-level workers all the way up to company executives. A transparent and empathetic approach could be what’s missing. To combat suffering engagement in today’s fast-paced workplace, company leaders will do well to take ownership of — and advocate for — their employees’ wellbeing as well as their own.

The power of taking a personalized approach to diabetes self-management

Employee engagement is suffering, from entry-level workers all the way up to company executives. A transparent and empathetic approach could be what’s missing. To combat suffering engagement in today’s fast-paced workplace, company leaders will do well to take ownership of — and advocate for — their employees’ wellbeing as well as their own.

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