Like life, learning is something that happens while you’re making other plans. That’s why we’re big proponents of alternative training — encouraging wellness pros to get involved in outside activities, other departments, and personal hobbies/pursuits that have nothing to do with health. You’re more likely to find answers working with people through the local theater group than in-house sessions on personality types. And it’s got to be more fun.
It’s about being well rounded, a whole person, or whatever term you choose to describe personal diversity and balance. Interests outside of wellness and your job keep you fresh, allow you to maintain perspective, and help you be more creative at inspiring health, and that’s what alternative training is all about.
Consider these ideas:
1. Public speaking
Unless you’re Abraham Lincoln, you can be better at this. Most communities have a Toastmasters International® chapter that’s a low-cost, fun way to sharpen your skill.
If taken out of the context of your job or school, writing can be fun, liberating, and good for you. Check with local community colleges for affordable courses that match your interests. Set a goal to publish a short story or some other writing ambition that has nothing to do with your job.
3. Civic duties
Seek office in your school district, on the library board, or other cause that contributes to your community but has no obvious ulterior career motive.
Occupying your hands and your mind with an activity that interests and entertains may be one of the most refreshing things you can do. Gardening and bird watching are examples currently seeing a resurgence.
Taking a timeout for alternative training
You get the idea. Alternative training can give you new perspectives, a fresh outlook, and unique ways to inspire health and well-being. So take a moment now to block out time around a significant upcoming date — your birthday, a holiday, New Year’s, an anniversary — to plan ways to train without training.
Dean Witherspoon is CEO and founder of HES and has been the managing editor of the Well-Being Practitioner (formerly the Health Promotion Practitioner) since 1992. He leads the most creative team in wellness, serving organizations worldwide with best-in-class workplace wellness campaigns.