JANUARY 25, 2022 — So, you’ve made your New Year’s resolution(s), and you’re on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Or perhaps you’ve decided to improve your work and home life balance, and spend more time with family. Maybe you’ve decided to pay off debt, or save for something you’ve wanted for a long time.
Whatever your goals, if they make a better you, then they make a better U.S. Army Sustainment Command, and a better U.S. Army. That probably wasn’t your initial motivation, but healthy, happy employees and Soldiers and their families are at the heart of ASC’s Line of Effort 4, “Develop and Empower a Professional Workforce.”
It’s also directly tied to ASC’s parent command, the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s Line of Effort 1, “Soldier, Civilian and Family Readiness.”
“We are fortunate to work at a command that promotes a culture of wellness and offers so many opportunities to the workforce,” said Mary Ann Wicks, Resilience program manager and a Master Resilience trainer with ASC G-1 (Human Resources), adding that healthy employees are part of a deliberate command focus.
“Encouraging health as part of our mission not only emphasizes the value it puts on its people to be healthier and happier,” she said, “but their return is that it also makes us more productive at work.”
Matt Sannito, deputy to the commanding general of ASC, concurs.
“Better work, positive attitudes, and increased productivity are all reasons why we champion this initiative as it has huge positive effects, and ensures we thrive as an organization.
“The well-being of the ASC team is an imperative, and plays a vital role in ensuring we’re ready to meet the needs of the Army,” he added.
It takes willpower and focus to make life changes, according to Wellness program manager Linda Ottman, who’s also a Master Resilience trainer. Ottman said it doesn’t just have to be at the beginning of a year.
“Any day is a good day to choose a healthier lifestyle and it begins with goal setting.
“Setting goals and action planning can promote healthy behavior changes, positively impacting overall wellness,” Ottman explained. “Setting a specific, reasonable goal is a fundamental component to maximizing behavior change.”
Wicks echoed Ottman’s sentiments.
”I personally don’t make New Year resolutions,” Wicks said. “People tend to jump in full force and make goals that may be too unrealistic and then fall down the rabbit hole when the plan starts to fall apart.
“If we think about our health every month and start with baby steps,” she added, “it will be easier to incorporate the changes into our daily life. It is never too late to jump on the health wagon and start making healthy lifestyle choices.”
Making positive lifestyle changes, both physical and mental, can be challenging. Even more so over the past two years, as the Covid-19 pandemic has isolated many people from friends and family. Just making an effort to reach out to others can make a big difference emotionally, which can then positively impact our physical health.
“Connections with others improves our social, emotional and mental well-being,” Ottman said. “Studies show people with strong social relationships have a higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, and are more trusting and cooperative.”
She also said the benefits of reaching out to family and friends include a stronger immune system, promoting resiliency and improving the quality of your life.
Wicks agreed. “Pick up the phone. It is nice to hear a voice on the other end of the line and not have to respond to another text message,” she said. “With COVID and winter we tend to hibernate and not leave the house. Making an effort to keep in touch and continuing a friendship will be worth it”.
Wicks and Ottman are part of an ASC team that takes health and wellness seriously, and it reflects the focus of the command. Positive changes impact employee’s work habits, promoting mission readiness.
Consider LOE 4 as a win-win situation for Soldiers, Civilians and the command. That’s how ASC sees it, and it’s why there are ongoing programs to improve an individual’s mental and physical health year-round.
For more information on what programs are available, and for health and wellness questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Greg Wilson