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Financial Stress Physiological Stress

Financial Stress – An Integral Part of our Health and Wellness Programs

Financial stress …..   We are what we think.

We have all had sleepless nights worrying about something…chances are, though,  it was about our finances.

financial stress in wellness programs BestInCorporateHealth.comAn April 2017 study by CreditCards.com ( a credit card comparison company) showed money is causing 65% of Americans to lose sleep at night.  Healthcare & insurance costs overtook retirement savings as the primary source of anxiety, for the first time in a decade. This is a 3% increase in sleepless nights since 2015.

Credit-debt surged passed the $1 trillion mark, according to Federal Reserve data released earlier this month

High tuitions and student loans are also a major source of stress with 34% of respondents losing sleep over educational costs.

Stress about healthcare costs have risen 9% in the past year…

High financial stress levels and concerns over debt are associated with increased risk for ulcers, migraines, heart attacks, and of course sleep disturbances, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), and those conditions are “ just the beginning of how your money affects your body and mind.” As a result of financial stress, people adopt poor coping mechanisms, lifestyle choices. In this study the APA found 69% of Americans were stressed about money, and the most common coping mechanisms included binge eating and excessive alcohol consumption and depression is a common result of financial stress.

The APA recognizes financial stress as the leading cause of unhealthy behaviors like smoking, weight gain, and alcohol and drug abuse. Other behaviors linked to financial stress are gambling and overextending credit balances. When employees turn to these coping mechanisms, the APA concluded that the stress strikes back with an even greater intensity.

Financial stress is accepted as a major cause of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes, and combine that with binge eating? A recipe for metabolic mayhem. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to a number of other chronic illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis……Cost-related nonadherence  (CRN) to diabetic protocol, is estimated to impact 20% of all patients in the United States.

SunTrust Bank: Finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a financial stress as a source of relationship stress Best In Corporate Healthsurvey of people in a relationship or partnership. 35% of all respondents experiencing relationship stress said money was the primary cause of friction.

A 2013 study found that the greater the financial stress – regardless of personal income – the poorer a person’s  performance was on an IQ test….Well – we all know when we are worried about finances – it is hard to think and focus on anything else.

The 2017 study from PwC The Employee Financial Wellness Survey found Financial stress is negatively impacting employees and costing employers. Stressed employees are found to be less productive, take time off from work to deal with their finances, and are more likely to cite health issues caused by financial stress.

Another very interesting finding of the PWC study was only 44% of those surveyed believe that their employer cares about their financial well-being ….and…..54% of millennials said that their loyalty to their employer is influenced by how much their employer cares about their financial well-being.

A Feb. 2015 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suicide rose 40% since 1999, the sharpest rise started in 2007. The researchers concluded the economic downturn of 2007-2009 was a contributing factor, boosting depression and anxiety among many Americans who faced job layoffs, declining home values, household financial difficulties, and reductions in retirement savings. These “external economic factors” were tied to 37.5 percent of all suicides in 2010 — rising from 32.9 percent in 2005.

where do we even start…..

Our greatest stressor is when we feel we lose control of a situation.

Financial wellness  is intricately attached to health and wellness. A financially stressed financial stress and workplace productivity Best In Corporate Healthemployee could have a number of potential health and productivity issues. Financial stress leads to an avalanche of other well known health & workplace productivity issues.

What can the employer do?

In January 2017, SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) said 2017 should be the year of employee financial wellness programs…….

  • If a financial wellness program is in place – are employees participating? If not, why?
  • Create a curriculum, which will install confidence in the employees as to the success – alleviate fears over potential frustrations with the program. Survey employees, all ages and stages of life as to what will best help them. Give them a selection – many employees might not know many of the options are even possible.
  • Technology friendly: include sites, apps for employees to engage in, build knowledge over the many financial topics, helping them identify what will be most useful for them
  • Access to financial professionals you have screened  – saving the employees the exasperating, daunting task of choosing a financial professional. There are a number of national, regional, private…..organizations specializing in helping employers help employees in financial turmoil.  Just as in health programs, we have to help employees differentiate between professionals who have a hidden agenda- marketing products for their own ulterior motive, vs suggesting products that truly fit the employees needs. Again, when people are stressed over a sensitive topic – they need unbiased help in making decisions, implementation and follow through
  • Keep tracking adherence – the last thing we want is people quitting – feeling helpless
  • As someone who offers webinars regularly, I get very picky over webinar presentations. With webinars and coaching – I insist on live and interactive. Prerecorded are only for follow up. Engagement is just too important, especially when we are talking about people who could be stressed. It is almost cathartic to people when they realize there are others in the same situation. I always have various provisions for people to ask questions anonymously, but team support can be therapeutic here. The loneliness of watching webinars alone ……not my choice. Sure, follow up coaching – one on one – great. A well lead live, interactive webinar can be a great way to put people at ease, to deal with a situation.

And… I am going to add to that…… health and wellness programs  that include addiction recovery components. Nobody ever wants to think of themselves as an addict….harsh label…however as we have seen financial stress often leads to addictive behaviors.  Example: we saw binge eating is a common byproduct of financial stress. Providing healthy eating programs…..will not cover the binge eating. Undoing coping mechanisms is a behavioral issue. Stress and depression programs and/or counselling may very well be necessary as well.

Fitness programs are very often a central part of addiction recovery, especially binge eating, smoking  and drugs & alcoholism, frequently associated with financial stress. I have seen the results, read the studies,  the success of wearable devices for adherence to these very specific recovery programs is key to recovery, that feeling and proof of accomplishment, and gaining control to conquer the black cloud from the financial stress. My preferred health tracker for incentive programs, amongst its lengthy list of biomarkers is releasing an add on later this summer (at no extra charge) that picks up on blood alcohol levels. In the case of addiction recovery, a health tracker that can monitor the most possible biomarkers is preferred. Fluctuations in a number of biomarkers can relay significant data.

Financial wellness in workplace wellness programs....Best In Corporate Health

Although I personally do not lead financial wellness programs, I do have very experienced financial professionals, with thorough understanding of the human heart, mind & self respect, that do offer these webinars for my health and wellness programs. I know I cannot claim to offer complete wellness programs without offering financial health. I get very irritated when I hear people use cliches such as “money doesn’t matter”, “money isn’t everything”. Reality check…..we can’t pay for the groceries by kissing the cashier. We all want to provide for our loved ones. We all agree health is a wealth, but undeniably, wealth is a part of health.

Chief Health Enthusiast – Best In Corporate Health

Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack – The Corporate Happy Place medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Medical Exercise Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist

Employee Wellness Toronto, Ontario – But offered worldwide!

  • Shira is regularly consulted by Naturopaths, oncologists, health coaches on cancer exercise and exercise adherence.
  • Has assembled over 20 health and fitness professionals with varying specialties to bring to corporate wellness programs
  • Platforms include: Speaking, One-one/group health coaching, Retreats, Course development for in house delivery, Metrics to measure success available, Partners always included
  • Now offering live interactive webinars, just as if each participant has a personal health coach – making corporate wellness programs affordable to all.
  • Shira has been interviewed & published in hundreds of resources over the last 12 years:

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Medical Fitness Network, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Willow (Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support),Myeloma Canada, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer, Sirius XM Doctor Radio

Employee Engagement-Effects of Alcohol

Employee Engagement – The Role of Oxidative Stress ?

Institute for Employment Studies report quantified employee engagement: Organizations increasing engagement investment by just 10% can increase profits by approximately US $2,100 per employee, per year.

With all of the possible best efforts by an organization to create a culture of employee engagement, health and wellness, it can easily be sabotaged by the effects of …….oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is rarely addressed, and if it is usually only once again by addressing the outer being. Truth is, this can sometimes create more oxidative stress on the body.

Employee Engagement Effects of Alcohol employee wellness Best In Corporate HealthChronic inflammation is a wildfire raging in the body. The blood vessels and internal organs and systems are affected. This inflammatory process leads to free radical damage and oxidative stress and is a culprit in aging, mental focus, depression & all of our chronic diseases. Our focus must be on addressing the cellular level of health.

There are hundreds of oxidative stressors attacking the body each day. What we need to do is to implement a plan to reduce exposure to the stressors, and strengthen the body to protect itself from bombardment.

Oxidative stressors weaken both physiological and psychological function in a number of ways, and are accepted as the root of chronic disease and ultimately longevity.

A thorough health & wellness program is one that helps employees over time with realistic

Corporate wellness programs from the cell with Best In Corporate Health
Employee wellness programs usually focus on the outer 2 layers. Inflammation and oxidative stress attacks the Cell-Being

implementation and integration of healthier lifestyle strategies. In a fast placed workplace environment combined with the challenges of balancing family, stress, anxiety and mood disturbances are the norm. Facts are not enough – in fact feeding a list of facts, “shoulds” and “should-nots” is irritating. Unfortunately, people frequently turn to the immediate “fixes” such as alcohol, poor food choices, sedentary activities which increase the oxidative load on the body… leading to more stress….more fixes…….the path of addiction. The insidious part, people rarely see this cycle, until they the body has been weakened by an illness.

Some of the more common oxidative stressors, that we can control include:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • UV
  • Certain medications
  • certain food choices
  • lack of exercise/the wrong exercise/
  • chemical exposure
  • pollutants

This is a very general list. Oxidative stress is not simple and straight forward, and of course will affect different people based on their own body’s ability to neutralize.

Consider alcohol: According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism & National Survey on Drug Use and Health 52.7% of the population fall in the range of moderate drinking+.

A recently released study (Society for the study of Addiction) Finally has labelled alcohol as a “cause” of cancer, not just a “link”. The myth of drinking “a glass of wine a day for health” has been proven to be incorrect. Alcohol and cancer is finally accepted as fact. The meta analysis was carried out in New Zealand and published in the Journal of Addiction. Alcohol-induced oxidative stress, happens with a single drink, and sobriety is no indicator of damage.

However, we are not helpless, there are a number of ways we can lower our overall, cumulative oxidative stress load.

Health & wellness programs need to reach far beyond the preaching of eating healthy and exercising. Helping each individual person identify oxidative stressors in their life is the missing link, even in those who have the very best intentions following the healthiest of lifestyles….

Creating a positive, motivating workplace environment is of course a part of employee engagement. However, the ability of an employee to “engage” is within that individual person.

Employee engagement = Corporate Culture + Employee culture (aka cell health)


Shira Litwack, Corporate Program Designer
Shira Litwack: BSc Psychology & Chemistry, medical fitness professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , holistic nutritionist, medical exercise specialist

Shira Litwack calls herself the “CHE – Chief Health Enthusiast” of Best in Corporate Health. Shira has assembled over  30 health and fitness professionals to bring you unique corporate wellness programs designed around your employees. No more one size fits none corporate health programs, no long guilt lists of shoulds and should nots – fun, engaging programs where “installation” is an integral part of all programs. The health coaches cover a wide range of specialties from nutrition, exercise, balancing lifestyle, family harmony, addiction recovery, disease prevention and recovery…..contact us to plan your corporate wellness solutions

     Webinars         Speaking         Retreats              Health Coaching

Remember, BICH processes include partners at no extra charge and are measurable!

Shira has been interviewed on: City TV, CTV, National Public Radio, Sirius XM Dr. Rehab Dr. Jonathan Whiteson & The Sports Medicine Show, Living Cancer Free, Web Talk Radio, Voice America, Obesity Control Center, Investment Executive.

Employee wellness Best In Corporate HealthArticles Featured In: FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) Willow, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Medical Fitness Network, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer, ROW – Recovery on Water for Breast Cancer