Is 2014 your year to get healthy?  Many New Year’s Resolutions are focused on wellness – often in a bloated response to our holiday festivities.  However, January in Minnesota can be a tricky time to engage in new wellness activities.  Other than shivering, there aren’t a lot of obvious activities that are encouraged by the arctic tundra.

(Interesting factoid:  You can burn 400 calories an hour by shivering)

Luckily, the concept of Wellness is becoming more and more pervasive in our culture.  You may even be finding a new ally in your quest for wellness in an unexpected place – your office.

About half of U.S. companies actually provide rewards to employees who take steps to improve their wellness.   Common incentives focus on employees taking health assessments and taking action based on the results from the health assessments – like scheduling a checkup with their doctor, paying attention to their blood pressure and blood sugar level, starting an exercise program, or even being aware of their stress levels and sleep habits. (Editor’s note: St. Thomas has a program like this for employees and a Wellness Center for students.)

Take advantage of the wellness opportunities presented at your workplace.  Although you may still get the occasional email notification of doughnuts in the break room, there is a good chance you will also be getting email notifications of upcoming health fairs, gym discounts, and general wellness incentives.  Use these opportunities as a springboard to help you make 2014 your year to get healthy.  Also, steer clear of those break room doughnuts…and whatever is in that unmarked Tupperware in the back of the fridge.

Mark Johnston is a recent graduate of the Health Care UST MBA program.  He has worked in the health care industry for the past 17 years.  He currently resides with his family in Minneapolis and owns 2 pairs of boots that are rated to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.