Blue collar workers have worse health outcomes than their white collar counterparts. Most wellness programs struggle to find successful strategies to help them. Overcoming U, led by valley speaker, author and executive coach Heather Sayers Lehman, has created Blue Collar Wellness to help hard workers stress less and get healthier.
Wellness at work is now a norm at most companies. Within this wellness movement, one population that’s been underserved are the employees who don’t sit behind a computer, can’t physically attend a lunch and learn or struggle with technology. Industrial, manufacturing and field workers are left out of most corporate wellness programs but one company is seeking to change that. Overcoming U – Mindful Corporate Wellness launched Blue Collar Wellness™ this fall to reach populations that rely on their physical health to make a living.
Heather Sayers Lehman understands how important health is when the longevity of your career depends on your body physically performing every day. She grew up across from a Chevy plant in Indiana and everyone in her family had a blue collar job. Surviving the work day was their greatest goal. Nutrition and exercise were never topics of discussion. Many family members never made it to retirement or weren’t able to physically enjoy it if did.
In the Gallup-Healthways 2013 Well-Being Index, blue collar workers were the least likely to have seen a dentist in the past year, have a personal doctor or have health insurance. They were most likely to smoke, be obese and feel dissatisfied with their jobs. Blue collar workers may be at greater risk for heart disease and stroke because of the stress of job demands as well as work environment. A study by researchers at Harvard University found that workers in blue collar jobs are 40% more likely to suffer and die from a heart attack or stroke than others. These risk factors can add up to expensive health insurance and workman’s compensation claims.
After spending three years as the health coach for Maricopa County employees, Heather Sayers Lehman left to create her own programs to help similar employers with numerous locations, multiple shifts and diverse populations. She saw that huge parts of the workforce were being left out of wellness. “I knew a lot of people who wanted the change but they couldn’t access the tools to do it. They were working outside, driving around and wearing themselves out all day every day. And the tools we were providing weren’t addressing the root causes of why they were unhealthy in the first place.”
Heather conducted over 3000 coaching sessions with county employees. It became very clear to her that the greatest reason why people don’t take better care of themselves is that they self-sabotage when they’re under stress. When people are overwhelmed, stressed out and burned out, they eat too much, drink too much and/or smoke too much. People know what they should eat. Nobody looks at a plate of nachos and thinks it’s actually good for them. But if they use food or tobacco to comfort themselves during times of stress and overwhelm, they’re not going to stop those habits without learning better ways to deal with stress. Overcoming U helps participants create tools for their major stressors: finances, family dynamics, kids, job demands, loss, etc. After they learn better coping skills for stress, then they learn how to make healthier choices with nutrition and cooking classes. When people solve their own problems, they become empowered to keep seeking better solutions for other aspects of their lives.
To allow employees to engage in the courses, Overcoming U leverages technology to reach people who aren’t sitting in front of a computer all day. They provide instruction and support to teach participants how to use that technology as part of the course. They work closely with their website developer to make the learning experience as easy as possible and always accessible on their phones.
Combining accessible technology with behavior change training helps hard workers change their mindsets about healthy living and develop skillsets to maintain healthy habits for a lifetime. Overcoming stress improves wellness as well as safety. When employees aren’t distracted with their everyday stressors, they can better focus on the job at hand.
Heather Sayers Lehman is the CEO of Overcoming U – Mindful Corporate Wellness. Overcoming U helps people change their underlying behavior of sabotage to create healthier lifestyles. Overcoming U’s courses, Emotional Eating Freedom Formula, Firefighter Overhaul and Blue Collar Wellness, provide solutions to employees who are struggling to change unhealthy behaviors. Employees learn how to change mindsets about healthy living and develop skillsets to maintain healthy habits for a lifetime. Heather authored “Don’t Eat It. DEAL With It! Your Guidebook On How To STOP Eating Your Emotions” and has over 25+ years of improving health, wellness and safety for our workforces. She is also a professional member of the National Speaker’s Association. To learn more, go to https://www.overcomingu.com/