by Kristie Tedford, Louisville

Over the course of the past few weeks, I have observed an increased awareness from my co-workers regarding safety. I know this may not seem like a wellness topic, but in my mind, it is more related to wellness than one might initially think. The focus has been “Safety: What it means to me”, and how safety in the workplace impacts each of us. Each supervisor and manager was asked to write a short meaningful story about themselves and what safety means to them personally.

The same is true with wellness, although we all have our own reasons, the goal is to affect positive change in our lives and behaviors. The reasons and inspirations may differ with each individual, but all have a common ground.

One of my co-workers stated that safety was a concern for them because they desire to live a happy, productive life which allows them to support their family and watch their children grow. This is a tremendous and profound reflection for many. We all want to ensure that those we love are provided for and that we do not position ourselves in such a way which could prevent us from meeting their needs. We also have a selfish side which creates in us a desire to see success and happiness in our own lives. In order to achieve these goals, we must ensure that we take care of ourselves first and foremost. Only when we take proper care of ourselves are we able to truly provide for the needs of those depending on us.
Another co-worker stated that safety is important in her life because she truly cares about those around her and does not want to place anyone she cares for in harm’s way. We take precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of those around us. We make conscious decisions to ensure our vehicles and homes are safe and free from danger for those we love, much in the same way we take precautions to prevent the spread of illness. We wash our hands, cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, and in some cases quarantine ourselves when illness strikes. Wellness is more than taking care of ourselves, but also taking care of others.

As I read through the responses of several others, a resounding statement came through clearly….we all want to reach the end of the day for ourselves and for others in as good a position as when our day began or better. We all have burdens to bear, all have goals to achieve, and all have valid reasons for our own safety and wellness decisions. As we move through the course of our daily lives, whether at work or play, we must do so with all of those reasons in mind. We must strive to be the best version of ourselves so that we may best provide for those we love. We must also do all that we can to protect those we care for so that they may be able to continue to do all that they do for us and the others they care for in their lives. Wellness, as with safety, is a continuous circle. Always stretching, reaching, never ending and one which encompasses our whole self as well as those we love.