Business of Well-being

Is "Safe Living" in Your Wellness Plan?

What does wellness mean to you? Webster's describes wellness as "being in good health or living a lifestyle that promotes good health."  When we think of all aspects that are included in living a healthy lifestyle, does safe living come to mind?  For most, personal safety is never considered. Personal safety is about being safe from hurt, injury or loss. If you become hurt, suffer an injury or experience a loss, these all can impact your mental or physical health and well being.

Why is it then, that our personal wellness plans usually never include objectives to create a safer living environment for ourselves? Whether you have developed your own personal wellness plan or your company has a wellness program that you participate in, you can add your own safe living objectives. But, you must first understand what safe living is so you can then identify specific objectives to include in your wellness plan. Personal safety impacts all aspects of your environment.

Whether you are at home, in your vehicle, at work, shopping, traveling or just going for a walk, there are potential dangers that you face every day. Depending on where you are and what you are doing, there are different behaviors that reduce or increase your risk for becoming a victim. The various environments that your personal safety can be compromised may include at home, on the streets, inside a building, at the workplace, in a vehicle or on public transportation.

It can be an exhaustive list, so you need to narrow it down to something manageable to include in a personal wellness plan. These steps will help you identify specific safe living objectives to focus on.

  • Make a list of your top five to ten greatest safety fears or concerns (such as afraid of being attacked while you are sleeping).
  • Determine which environments each falls into (such as "at home" for the above fear of being attacked while you are sleeping).
  • Identify whether there are one or more environments represented.
  • Choose the environment that has the most fears or concerns relating to it (such as at home).

For your wellness plan, you have now selected an environment to establish personal safety objectives. You must now identify goals that relate to improving your safe living for that environment. Let's use the fear of being attacked while sleeping and the environment of home. You must now determine how you can improve your home safety in order to reduce your fear of being attacked while you sleep. These are some examples of possible actions:

  • Install a home security system.
  • Read a home safety book or articles.
  • Start locking doors during the day and at night.
  • Ensure all windows are closed and secure before going to sleep.

Some of the actions include behavioral changes, where others involve becoming more informed in order to increase your safety. By taking action, you will not only be improving your personal safety, you will reduce fears and concerns that you have been continually living with, which all have an impact on the quality of your life and wellness. As you complete some of the actions, you may discover more things to add to your plan.

When you read a home safety book, you may learn there are other things you need to change in order to make your home safer. These new actions can be added to your safe living wellness plan. Your safe living wellness plan should always be evolving. Once you complete your initial goals, return to your list of safety fears and concerns to select the next environment to focus on. Maybe one of your other concerns is being involved in a carjacking.

Now vehicle safety would become your next environment to establish actions for. Here are some sample wellness plan actions for avoiding a carjacking:

  • Immediately lock the doors when getting into my vehicle.
  • Through on-line research, become knowledgeable of how, when and where carjackings generally occur.
  • Never drive alone at night.

Just like any other goal, your safe living wellness plan objectives should have well defined action steps and a time frame for completing it. Perhaps you already have wellness objectives established for yourself, such as following a fitness program that includes cardio activity and strength training. Now all you have to do is add some personal safety objectives to it. If you have no wellness plan at all, start one with a focus on safe living. What are the main causes for individuals not taking measures to increase their safe living? For each person it differs. Which of these causes keeps you from taking action?

  • Not willing to face your fears.
  • Have a "nothing like that will ever happen to me" attitude.
  • Do not feel you are responsible for your own personal safety.
  • Just don't have the time or desire.
  • Do not recognize your behaviors could be placing yourself in danger.

Being safety conscious does come naturally for a small percentage of people. But for the large majority, it is not something we ever think about until we are placed in a dangerous situation. Unfortunately, this is often too late. Safe living takes a conscious effort to get informed, become aware and to take responsibility for our own personal safety. How do you become more safety conscious so your behaviors are more conditioned for safe living? Start with becoming more informed. There is a tremendous amount of information on the internet regarding safety in the various aspects of your environment. If your interest is home safety, start by typing those words in your internet search engine. You will get a variety of results and may have to refine your search to be more specific, such as "home fire safety".

Another way to become informed is to read publications on your safety topic of interest.Next, you need to become aware. Start paying attention to your own actions and notice the behaviors of others around you. Once you start noticing or recognizing the unsafe behaviors of others, you become much more aware of your own actions. Ask your family members and friends to each identify unsafe behaviors that they notice you do. This exercise can be very enlightening. The final step is to take responsibility. You and only you are responsible for your safe living. No other person is with you 24/7 that can serve as your protector. Only you can change your behavior to incorporate safe habits.

It is your responsibility to ensure you live a safe life.In order to take full responsibility for your own safety, it is critical to have effective personal safety habits that associate with each of these 6 Approaches to Be Safe!

6 Approaches to Be Safe!

1.    Be AWARE of your surroundings and activity around you.

2.    Be ALERT and avoid distractions when in public.

3.    Be PREPARED to respond to a dangerous situation.

4.    Be CONFIDENT and walk with an alert and self-assured stride.

5.    Be PROTECTIVE of yourself and property by averting danger.

6.    Be DEFENSIVE and protect yourself when attacked.Consider adding safe living as part of your plan for wellness. Start today by taking steps to identify safe living objectives to add to your personal wellness plan. Encourage your friends and family members to get involved and help one another become more safety conscious. Your personal wellness is sure to benefit.

About the Author

Kathy Hobbs is a personal safety writer and advocate whose passion is to assist others get informed, become aware, and take responsibility for their own personal safety. Hobbs is fondly known as the "Whistle Woman" because of her sense of duty to establish the age old whistle as an essential tool for everyone's personal safety arsenal. As an advocate, it is Hobbs' mission to help people become smarter about their personal safety by providing empowering tips to be safe.

In addition, Hobbs' publishes a free monthly Be Safe! e-Newsletter. Each month this publication features a specific safety topic and provides subscribers with valuable safety tips. She is an active participant in Facebook and Twitter, where she provides followers with daily personal safety tips. Hobbs uses this social media, her website and e-newsletter as vehicles to provide valuable personal safety prevention tips and tools for individuals to put into action and begin taking responsibility for their own personal safety. Hobbs will soon be offering classes and workshops on specific topics of safe living.

Kathy is one of those individuals in which being safety conscious comes second nature. In addition, Hobbs has been studying martial arts for over 15 years. She practices in the style of Shorin Ryu karate and has studied the art of pressure point defense. Hobbs is a firm believer that all individuals should take a self-defense course to gain confidence and become more aware of the alternatives people have to protect themselves. According to Hobbs, once a person gains confidence and learns the basics of self-defense, any ordinary item such as a cane, golf club or keys can become an effective weapon for defense.

Although Hobbs is a supporter of self-defense training, her personal safety publications focus on preventative actions to live safely and avoid becoming a victim. Growing up in the frigid winters of Minnesota, Hobbs and her husband, nature photographer, Rick Hobbs, moved to Colorado five years ago. Both love the scenic mountains, plentiful wildlife and the comfortable temperatures that Colorado has to offer. Hobbs enjoys spending her days writing, with her Samoyed and Golden Retriever keeping her company. When she is not writing, Kathy likes to work out in their in-home dojo where she and her husband continue to practice their mutual love of martial arts.

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