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Getting out of a mid-day office rut can be as easy as a stretch routine, taught by Work Well specialists. - Photo Courtesy of Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 9 years ago

Working well over the holidays

Beat the holiday bulge
by: Sarah Wilson Staff Writer

Every Tuesday morning since April, with a click of the mouse, 22 Winter Park businesses got a little bit healthier.

From the brain of Corporate Wellness Consultant Mandy Nice, sent to the contact list of Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Senior Director Marisa Worley, and forwarded from one human resource inbox to an entire company, healthy living “Tuesday Tips” have become a tradition.

Each email’s tips cover a topic geared toward healthy living in the workplace. From nutrition in the break room to stress management in the boardroom, they provide each Work Well Winter Park participating business quick ideas on how to continue working well that week.

The Chamber’s next lunch and learn session with partner Florida Hospital will be on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Dr. Timothy Spruill, assistant director of Behavioral Medicine at Florida Hospital, will discuss the concept of becoming more resilient. Find out how to apply resiliency to your life by looking at how personal outlook and practices can help you not only endure, but grow, in stressful situations. After spending the holidays with the in-laws, they say, you won’t want to miss out.

Next Tuesday morning instead of an email, many workers will wake up to cookie crumbs left over from Santa, and the smell of the sizzling holiday ham already prepping for supper. This, Nice said, makes next Tuesday and the days surrounding it some of the most trying times for her tips all year.

“The holidays absolutely include and provide more challenges when it comes to staying healthy,” she said, “but they also provide more opportunities as well.”

Having spent most of the year teaching Winter Park workers how to live and work well, Nice, Worley and the 22-wellness coordinators for Work Well Winter Park participating businesses are working to keep their trainees on task through the holiday season and into the New Year.

Wellness Specialist Mandy Nice’s top three tips for living well during the holiday season:

1) Your planner is your best friend. Make sure that you schedule time to take care of yourself during the holiday rush. Whether it’s taking a breather with a book, or the quick calm of a walk around the block, quiet you-time can really count. You want to make sure you take care of yourself, so you can continue to take care of others.

2) Have fun with it. Try new things you might not have done on your own. While the family is in town, take on a new walking trail together or each pick a new healthy recipe and give it a go. The holidays aren’t complete without some reindeer games!

3) Every little bit counts. Take the stairs at the mall while you’re shopping, and spring for an extra serving of veggies during dinner. Eat your dessert, but save that last piece of chocolate cake that’s calling your name for another day. Give yourself credit for the effort, and remember that everything’s a balance. Work to sustain healthy habits you’ve come to adopt all year long while enjoying a happy holiday season.

“It’s all about balance,” Nice, owner and president of NICE Life Fitness in Winter Park, said, and applying healthy living thoughts to your holiday traditions.

Policies already established in Work Well offices can cut Christmas-time temptations, Worley said. No-sweets zones and healthy-only catering options help limit the lure of holiday party desserts she said, by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

At home, Nice said, without policies like those at work in place, the challenge can be more difficult. But, she said, a little effort can go a long way. Nibble on the carrots collected for the reindeer instead of Santa’s cookies. Walk the neighborhood to look at lights instead of driving. Concoct a healthier version of an old favorite recipe.

“With these policies already in place, when the holiday comes in, it’s already worked its way into a habit and easier to enforce,” Nice said.

Stephanie Watkins, wellness coordinator with Moss Krusick and Associates, knows how heavy-hitting holiday snacking can be, and how little changes can make a big difference.

For more information about Work Well Winter Park, an extension of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, and how to get your business involved, visit

Before her company joined Work Well, Watkins remembers gaining 10 pounds from the holiday season alone from all the sweets surrounding her at home and in the office. Today, she’s lost the weight — plus some — and kept it off, and helped turn Moss Krusick into Orlando Business Journal’s healthiest employer of 2012.

“There’s a healthier overall culture here now…. If I eat a cookie, I hear about it,” she said with a laugh.

She credits her company’s success of cutting sweets and coping with stress to the policies put forth and provided by the Chamber through working with Work Well and Mandy Nice.

“Everywhere I go and people ask me about my wellness program, I always immediately talk about the Work Well program,” Watkins said.

From lunch and learns at the Chamber to Sneaker Friday afternoon walks, she said she and her coworkers try to take part in every effort put forth by the Work Well crew. And earning OBJ’s honor, she said, solidifies Work Well’s worth.

“We wouldn’t be here with out them,” she said.

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