Our Pilot looked at how stress and wellness tools affect individuals, teams, and organizations. We lay out five findings and five recommendations in this Wellness Equity report. For example:
Participants judged themselves, overall, as having poor individual health. Most self-reported “some progress” over the six months of the Pilot.
Wellness was ranked on energy level, work-life balance, work satisfaction/commitment, productivity level, and physical fitness. The most significant improvements from the beginning of the pilot to the end were improved rankings with physical health and energy level, with increases averaging 12% and 11%, respectively.
Our first 60-person cohort involved the following 13 organizations:
The Advancement Project
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Florida House DC
Free Minds Book Club
German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
Justice Policy Institute
Nat'l Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
Reading Partners DC
Tahirih Justice Center
(2 unlisted organizations)
Our Pilot cohort was 82% female, 65% people of color, 52% lower-income, and 22% have an invisible disability or chronic illness.
“We had an entire retreat framed around self care and our communication has gotten a lot better. And I think our staff team, the culture has always been really positive and friendly, and with our staff now, our director prioritizes communication, self care and work life balance...That message has gotten a lot stronger since the Pilot.” (RPDC)
"[Coaching over five months] ...really helped me think through a lot of personal challenges that were creating mental blocks for me in the workplace. And then we had some really solid, specific, actionable advice for challenges." (APALA)
"The group that did yoga together, we're talking about it all week and enjoyed it a lot. Given the political climate, women and people of color are experiencing a lot of stress, and I think that it’s negatively impacting our mental health." (NLIRJ)
"And, it's okay to take time for yourself, go to the gym, go do yoga, self care, it's extremely important ... The pilot was a phenomenal opportunity to gain access to some wellness training from top-notch institutions that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise." (FMBC)
Spoiler Alert: here are the Five Recommendations of what nonprofits need:
1. Wellness Equity: those who suffer the most stress deserve the most resources
2. User-led design and inclusive structures for sustainability
3. Supporting high-stress nonprofit sectors, like K-12 education
4. Exploring the benefits of team health
5. Proactively devoting resources
The Pilot included workouts, like sweaty Pilates demonstrations with Ty Powell at FMBC. "Going through tough things together, it bonds you," says Ty. "You are tougher than you think."
The Pilot included movement, like this salsa lesson with Baila4Life.org and TJC. We also offered "Movement Dialogues" with Kelly King and workshops with Joe's Movement Emporium.
The Pilot included "community acupuncture" where co-workers received hand/ear/foot treatments in small groups (like TAP)
It's not just the destination, it's also the journey. When your movement is mindful it is good for physical AND mental health. Capital Bikeshare donated memberships to some Pilot participants.
Meeting new friends and procuring new gear are nice side benefits of a workout habit. UnderArmour helped the Pilot with both. Thanks to UA and to Patagonia for hosting classes!
"Corpse pose" is one of the most healing parts of yoga class, where cellular repair occurs and a quiet community is nurtured. Here the Latina Initiative staff experience deep rest in savasana after a bilingual yoga class.
SHOUT OUT TO OUR AMAZING WELLNESS DONORS.
Without these benefits (worth $40,000), the Pilot couldn't have happened.
Thank you to our community of supporters:
Headspace Meditation * Still Point Spa * Capital Bikeshare * BYW Wellness * Willow Street Yoga * Balance Gym * VIDA Fitness * Mind the Mat * SoulEx Float Spa * Vortex cycling * Yoga Heights DC * Bluebird Sky Yoga * YogaWorks * M Street Yoga * Joy Of Motion * EnableU Coaching * Rahim Spence Coaching * Patagonia * Six O'Clock Scramble * Roger Mack * Crunch/Sport & Health * Flywheel * Trusted Advisor * Quartz Queen Yoga * Shaw Yoga * Soldierfit Silver Spring * FoodConfidence.com * Blue Heron Wellness * Five Rhythms with Ann Kite * JRINK * Devaney Nutrition * Leslie Zucker Coaching * Andy Proctor Financial Coaching * Natalie Miller Coaching * Urban Artistry * Sandy Spring Adventure Park * Orange Theory Fitness * Takoma Bicycle * Imagination Stage * Woolly Mammoth * Gala Teatro * Sou Family Recipes * Kathy Carroll * Claudia Arango * Vicky Bonasera * Carol Mermey * Carol Collins * Kate Miller * Contradiction Dance * Walk the Middle Way * Art of Potential * After School Dance Fund * Washington Walks * Comfort Consulting * Institute for African-American Mindfulness * Mindful Schools * Joe's Movement Emporium * Under Armour
And thank you to the Greater Washington Community Foundation for hosting our Pilot Fund.
“we need to learn how to practice love such that care -- for ourselves and others -- is understood as political resistance and cultivating resilience.”
(adrienne maree brown is the author of emergent strategy & pleasure activism)
The Pilot application was open for two weeks in May 2018 (from these 100 applicants, 60 were chosen).
51 Mindfulness or Meditation Support
48 Financial health (coaching, training, investment advice)
45 Workplace team health (assessing learning styles, healthier team events, group-building)
43 Right brain therapy (tickets for visual arts, theatre, musical events)
40 Counseling/therapy (relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, eating, substance abuse)
33 Spiritual retreat or self-awareness workshop
6 Self-medication: What you need to know about alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, vaping & vitamins
41 Nutrition counseling
39 Ergonomics at work (posture, standing/sitting desk setup)
37 Studio fitness classes (spinning, barre, Pilates)
36 Yoga classes
36 Fitness/Health Coaching (interpersonal and online memberships)
32 Gym membership
24 Dance or Martial Arts classes,
9 Running: new gear (shoes, bra)
8 Cycling: new gear (such as helmet, lights, bike, lock)
6 Sports team or program (equipment, coaching or race registration fees)
54 Mindfulness class (with guided meditation)
48 Walking tour, ropes course, hike (or other physical, team-building activities)
48 Tasting party: vegetable/fruit/protein juices
42 Financial health (retirement, savings, tax return basics)
40 Healthy cooking demonstration or nutrition class
34 Yoga class
31 "Take Five: Why 5-minute Breaks Bring Productivity & Joy" (lunchtime workshop)
30 Workout class (physical trainer)
28 Community (feet-and-hands-only) Acupuncture / Acupressure Session
25 I would attend a (free) Meetup for nonprofit workers at a local gym/studio
19 Gardening How-To workshops (working in nature bolsters mental health)
We are working with schools to bolster educators' immune systems and soothe their stress levels. We'll focus on DC but share our successes (and failures) freely nationwide via YouTube and social media. And of course we preach "Team-care" more than Self-care (which is never enough, especially for teachers). Please support our new nonprofit by giving a tax-deductible gift that supports school wellness in this challenging year.