Community Wellness –Enhance it. Promote it. Add value for little to no cost to you.
What, no gym? No area for fitness classes? Or, maybe you don’t even have a pool? No worries, because we have a list of no to low-cost ways you can add wellness promotion in to your community plan. And, if you do have a fitness center and/or on-site exercise classes, you can still use this list to add value to existing programs.
Here’s the part you will really like... rather than using money to get the wellness ball rolling, you can fund your community wellness program with the simple “power of suggestion”. “The power of suggestion describes how people use their imaginations to make realities out of the ideas that are presented to them, which can help people change their behavior.” Check here for examples of how this works.
Now, all you have to is present the idea(s) and use the power of suggestion. Here are few ideas and suggestions to get you started.
-Calculate the mileage of the walkable areas in and around your community. Make that information available on-line or on paper for easy resident reference.
-Provide a list of parks, trails and other open-air areas located in the proximity of your property where your residents can go to be active.
-Negotiate special resident rates for local wellness services like massage,acupuncture, yoga studios etc...
-Include fit tips, healthy recipes and even local historical lore in your community publications. Relating to the community and being in touch with our past are all part of wellness.
-So, you do have a pool. Post how many laps it takes to reach a 1⁄4 mile, 1⁄2 mile or 1 mile swim.
-And something else to do at the pool; free smoothie day. Grab a blender, some frozen fruit, juice and a social staff person who is willing to get some poolside fresh air, blend the bliss and visit with the residents during a peak pool time. Talk about good resident relations!
-Compile a list of local healthy restaurants. Negotiate a special resident discount program. If any of these are within walking distance, include the distance in your listing, thus encouraging folks to walk rather than drive over.
-Designate an area on the property as a serenity garden or meditation space. Call on a local scout troop looking for community service opportunities to do the landscaping. They can often secure donations from local garden centers on slightly damaged greenery. Offer the donor a small sign for exposure within the garden.
-Speaking of plants... ask that same provider if they would offer a discount or even a free small welcome plant to new residents. This encourages and helps new members of your community to create a healthy space at home with houseplants and/or a patio/balcony garden.
-Designate a space as a community garden. Divide the space equally among residents wanting to grow their own fresh fruit and veggies. Perhaps you can bring in an expert from the same garden center to meet with you and your residents about what grows well in your area and how to get started.
-Start a resident driven community walking club. Identify a community champion and give them some assistance in building a phone/e-mail chain.
-Have a laundry room? Post how many times a resident can walk around the property during a washer/dryer cycle? Or, have you thought about stashing an exercise bike in the corner? Small budget? Pick up a refurbished one from a local dealer.
-Have stairs? How many? Add up all the interior access and outside steps. Publish the total and challenge residents to walk every single one.
-Have elevators? Hang signs next to the elevators encouraging residents to use the stairs for a more healthful way of getting to and from the parking garage.
-Offer a monthly seminar series. Local wellness providers wanting to promote their business are usually willing to give free presentations. Simply give them guidelines for the presentation, any post-presentation resident contact rules etc.. so it does not turn in to an infomercial.
-Coordinate a team to walk/run in local events. Each resident pays their own way, but assign someone on staff to meet up with residents at a designated pre and post event meeting location.
-Hold a healthy potluck. The residents do the cooking, share their recipes and your staff gets to taste test everything. Yum.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inexpensive community wellness promotion, but it will get you started. Also notice that many of these will increase the visibility of your community in your geographic area and promote social infrastructure. These are very valuable side effects. Tackle even just one a month and you will have 12 value added ways to promote wellness in your community within a year’s time.