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The Healthiest Day of the Week

BY Kadesha Washington

Stress is commonplace among healthcare professionals. However, when left unmanaged, that stress becomes a chronic condition that can lead to burnout. Research indicates that up to 50% of medical professionals experience burnout throughout their careers. While our healthcare providers and staff do a great job taking care of others, they often find it challenging to manage their own health needs.

That’s where workplace wellness programs, like the Healthy Monday Program, come in. Starting in 2017 as a pilot program for 30 nurses in Columbia’s Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, the Integrative Therapies Program and Monday Campaigns began a weekly email called “Healthy Monday Refresh.” This email focused on a recommended healthy practice and tips related to stress management, healthy eating, and exercise.

Participants reported a positive effect on their mood when they started their week with the tips they received and feeling prepared to manage stress and make healthier choices. This positive effect carried throughout the week, reducing their feelings of irritability and nervousness. Staff raved about the dancing and yoga sessions, which created a sense of fun, movement, and laughter!

Since then, Healthy Monday has grown – not only in size but also in focus. The campaign now reaches 500 participants, including administrative staff and nursing staff in the pediatric and adult outpatient oncology units and health centers across the institution. When the pandemic hit our region, the Healthy Monday campaign extended into the Department of Pediatrics’ POWER Wednesday Wellness Series, serving as a virtual self-care outlet for people working remotely or on-site.

Introducing the Division’s nurses and staff to the evidence-based practices used in Healthy Monday empowered them with tools and techniques to share with patient families. Additionally, the feelings of fun and sense of community generated by Healthy Monday vastly improved the overall culture and reduced individual participant’s feelings of stress.

The Integrative Therapies Program has its sights set on growing its delivery and reach of the Healthy Monday Program. Future plans include a 24-week wellness program that will incorporate resources from Columbia’s Office of Work/Life, NYP BeHealthy, and video content from experts from across Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. These videos will demonstrate a weekly healthy practice and discuss the benefits. This extended wellness program will introduce healthy behaviors to participants who are new to lifestyle changes or seek guidance on adopting such practices in their lives.

Hope & Heroes is proud to share the Healthy Monday message weekly on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Be sure to follow us for helpful information and easy tips to help YOU manage stress and lead a happier, healthier life!

For more information, check out the Monday Campaigns and the Division’s Wellness Corner.

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