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Jamie Pollard's winning strategy for stress

For ISU's athletic director, stress became the star player in his life and career

When it comes to Division I athletics, the stakes are always high, and Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University’s athletic director, knew it was simply the nature of the job. Pollard believed he thrived in stressful situations Opens in a new window — you could say stress was his ‘right-hand man.’

“To have a successful athletics program, so much needs to fall in place. Some things you can control — many you cannot. Fans, alumni and donors — they want winners — season after season,” Pollard said.

On top of job expectations, Pollard’s life outside of work was less than relaxing. He treated exercise as a competition and rewarded his hard work with an indulgent diet. This, coupled with a family history of heart disease, was one match that was going to be a fight.

In March of 2015, a heart attack nearly took his life. He knew he needed to stop and check his priorities.

Jamie Pollard’s Story

Iowa State's Jaime Pollard puts his game face on

When it comes to your employees, there may be a number of things that attribute to their stress levels, but there's one constant source: workplace-related stress.

While some of your employees may thrive in high-pressure situations (much like Pollard) — too much can become problematic for their overall health and well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic External Site, stress is a big contributor to high blood pressure, heart disease Opens in a new window, obesity Opens in a new window, diabetes Opens in a new window and so much more.

Three tips to improve your employees' physical and emotional health:

  1. Encourage more movement. The minute your employees settle into their seat for the day, their calorie-burning rate drops. And, the solution isn’t always to bring in the standing desks—but simply to encourage more movement throughout the day. Here are a few tips for moving more around the office, home or when out and about.
  2. Provide healthy vending. What do the vending machine options look like in your office? Are they filled with sugary beverages and snacks? It’s 2018 — it’s time to kick the traditional vending machine options, and make sure to always have healthy options in the office kitchen, break rooms or company events. Check out these NEMS-V tools External Site available online through Iowa.Gov to improve your workplace vending machine options.
  3. Get on the gratitude train. Employees who practice gratitude in their daily routines experience; increased relationships, improved physical health, psychological health, reduction in aggression, improved sleep, self-esteem and mental strength. Here are a few tips External Site to get started.

Interested in learning more about how Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield can help you improve your employees’ well-being? Talk to your Wellmark representative to learn more about our programs that are designed around your company and its needs. Or email us at blueatwork@wellmark.com Send Email.