A local health consulting practice is launching a corporate challenge to help participants “live their best lives.”
Citing the fact that during the pandemic, employers have realized the need to address employees’ physical, mental and emotional wellness more holistically, The McCahill Group in May is launching a new challenge called Make Your Move.
The Make Your Move Challenge, $300 for four weeks, will strive to inspire positive change and help participants “learn, grow and elevate” themselves to be the best version of themselves. The challenge has three pillars: daily movement, weekly well-being and social engagement.
Beginning May 2, participants on Make Your Move company teams will receive weekly challenge content on a web platform or mobile app supporting their move toward better physical and emotional health.
After participants join, they can use the platforms to log movement minutes and well-being tasks and to engage socially by posting photos and sharing comments. Logging the various aspects of the challenge will earn users points that then will be applied toward team and individual totals, giving participants the opportunity to qualify for the individual weekly and grand prize drawings.
“What we’re seeing in the industry and in the world right now is people need to connect together socially and then community-wise, and making a move is different today than it used to be,” said Peaches McCahill, owner and president of The McCahill Group.
“Your move might be, ‘I’m just going be more positive.’ Your move might be, ‘I’m going to do something for the community.’ Your move might be, ‘I’m going to connect with friends.’ It’s not just about diet and exercise. It’s more holistically where we are and what we can do in a positive way to take better care of ourselves.”
McCahill said the challenge is geared toward helping companies and their workers shift from the survival mode of the early pandemic to a place of thriving.
“We’re just coming out of this fog, I guess I would call it, right now. (It was) two years of a changing period for all of us,” she said.
She noted the pandemic had a few “upsides” when it comes to individual wellness.
“It made us step back and look at our life — you’ll see people who made some changes, like they retired early, or somebody decided to stay home with the kids and not both work, or they changed professions; they didn’t like what they were doing and decided that life is short. There were some positive changes that occurred.”
On the other hand, everyone knows the pandemic has had serious negative impacts, she said.
“It impacted our total well-being, and obviously, one of those is mental health, because of the isolation that occurred with people and the inability for us to really pivot when this was so challenging. If you look at alcohol consumption — oh my gosh, our alcohol consumption initially went through the roof. … The inability for us to cope brought out some really unhealthy habits for us.”
She added the weight gain phenomenon people initially were dubbing “the COVID 15” turned out to be more like a gain of 30 pounds after one year of pandemic life, citing a survey published March 11, 2021, by the American Psychological Association. An infographic published with the survey showed men gained 37 pounds on average, and women gained 22.
“It’s such a sensitive subject to talk about obesity,” McCahill said. “Nobody’s trying to ‘fat shame’ anybody; it’s more the fact that it relates to a lot of health risks. It means our type 2 diabetes risk is increased, we have more high blood pressure, high cholesterol — all these things that are related to diet. We’re seeing a big movement right now in culinary medicine and the impact of food … whole foods, immunity foods, that kind of thing. We are beginning to understand that food is a drug that will make us feel a certain way. I could put you on a very strict exercise routine, but if we don’t change your diet, we’re not going to see an impact.”
On the other hand, exercise — or the lack thereof — impacts mental health, she said, noting studies have shown reduced levels of movement linked to increased levels of depression.
“I think we’re moving slowly out of (the pandemic fog),” she said. “But the question now is, ‘Here we are. What do we do?’”
McCahill said it’s usually best to pick one habit at a time that you want to eliminate and replace, like sitting too much, drinking too much alcohol, eating too much, or not drinking enough water.
“Small habits move into larger changes,” she said. “(Targeting one habit) is the first thing I always recommend,” McCahill said.
She recommends people looking to make lasting change read the books, “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results,” by James Clear, and “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything,” by B.J. Fogg.
The Make Your Move Challenge also will provide motivation, tips and supporting resources for helping to change those habits.
McCahill said she also recommends reconnecting with people in person as a step to reducing the feelings of isolation — and staying away from “energy vampires” such as overindulgence in social media or bingeing TV shows.
She recommended breathing and meditation practices for better mental and emotional well-being, as well as changing up your routine by adding fun, “childlike” activities like going to an acting class, learning to juggle, or taking up a creative hobby to stimulate imagination and artistry.
“It’s finding things that are fun and create energy in yourself versus the ‘same old, same old,’” she said.
Some people may want to find a health coach to guide them through making such improvements, McCahill said, so they can become “mentally fit” for the next challenge life throws their way.
Any one of the above changes can become part of the “well-being tasks” pillar of the Make Your Move Challenge, McCahill said.
“We focus not just on diet and exercise but on other things you can get points for that help reenergize you for life,” she said.
“We’re really trying to get traction to create well-being in our community. … Hopefully people will contemplate doing something to really focus on self-care, which is really self-love — loving yourself enough to take care of yourself.”
More information on the Make Your Move Challenge and how it works is at makeyourmovechallenge.com.