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Why are wellness programs in businesses so important?

I have been going into corporations over the last two years: high tech companies, law firms, marketing start ups, financial institutions and holding quick lunch hour art workshops.

It's amazing how some companies realize that their employees need a wellness program in place, and are very proactive about recruiting experts from various fields to hold workshops on company premises. Unfortunately, they are few and far in between in the Boston area (just like my former boss they don't want their employees to overindulge on their dime). But in this particular case they're absolutely wrong. It's not a nuisance or an overindulgence to create art for an hour in the midst of a busy day. On the contrary, it's a long term investment in their employees' health that only benefits the growth of the employer. I have seen hundreds of individuals walk out of my class more upbeat, rested, and excited to face the rest of their day. They have higher productivity and clarity, not to mention a playful innovative approach to their daily problems at hand.

Busy, stressed out, rushed people pile into these employer-sponsored events in order to step away and busy their minds with something entirely different, to let that other side of the brain take over. I have waiting lists for every one of these events. People crave opportunities to re-charge, to exhale in the middle of the day, to play. We all need recess, especially with the overwhelming pace of the world around us today.

My attendees are usually self-conscious at the start, almost every one of them introduces himself or herself as completely un-creative and rather stiff, clumsy even, having not done anything along these lines since elementary school. Back when they were eight or ten or twelve a 'nice' art teacher or a parent was overly critical of their work, or skeptical about their fascination with art and ever since they'd shut down their creative side to make room for the real world, convinced themselves that their attempts as a budding artist were buried in the past.

I smile, I make sure to make them all feel comfortable and ready to just experiment and let that inner child come out. Every single time I'm in absolute awe about how this short one-hour experience transforms them. People begin funny conversations, they start smiling and opening up, they feel protected and loved simply because I'm there to encourage them, to lead them along.

I'll continue next week with my unique approach to these, so stay tuned...

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