Last month, you may have noticed more people briefly stepping away from the rigors of work and school, in any number of ways: savoring a midday snack, heading out for a nature walk, or practicing breathing exercises.
The occasion? World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 and the launch of TAKE15, part of our consumer-facing health engagement campaign, Feed Your Potential 365. The TAKE15 program encourages all our clients, customers, staff, and students to take 15 minutes to unwind and recover from stress.
The program is part of our suite of solutions that support a culture of health and wellbeing in the locations we serve, as well as in the communities where we live and work. We reach millions where they work and study—and that poses both a responsibility and an opportunity to make a difference. Empowering healthy lifestyles is an important part of our commitment to people and the planet.
“Our work goes far beyond making it easy to eat well,” shares Dan Wainfan, Vice President of Health, Wellness and Nutrition. “Today’s health and wellness programs must also recognize the role of stress on our health.”
A Sign of the Times
While daily stress is inevitable, our ability to manage it is critical for emotional and physical wellness—not to mention success in our personal, professional, and academic lives.
“With so much time spent in the workplace and on campus, it is important for us to encourage employees and customers to also relax,” attests Elbha Purcell, Director of Dietetics and Wellbeing, Northern Europe.
Ample evidence supports the benefits of TAKE15, as one of many habits that can promote mental and emotional wellbeing. Short breaks have been shown to improve memory, boost energy, reduce stress, improve overall health, and boost performance and creativity. “TAKE15 is really about taking small steps toward big impact,” adds Purcell, who created the program back in 2016.
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Gaining Global Traction
What began as an employee-focused campaign in Ireland and the UK—spearheaded by Purcell and her team—has grown into an international effort. Now in its sixth year, TAKE15 is renowned across our client locations in Northern Europe.
While the intent remains the same, we take care to implement TAKE15 in culturally relevant ways in each country where it is launched. For example, in Canada TAKE15 coincides with Blue Monday (so named because it falls in mid-January, once the joy of the holiday season has worn off). This year, our Canadian team produced videos, blogs, and e-newsletters with practical tips representing the three TAKE15 pillars: physical activity, mindfulness, and relaxation. To foster participation, we invited Canadian employees and guests to spend their 15-minute breaks enjoying a cup of coffee—on us.
TAKE15 expanded into U.S. colleges and universities in 2021, just in time to help students navigate a fall semester like no other. We rolled out a toolkit of digital and social messaging and in-unit promotions to inspire our students to take their 15-minute breaks. For Stress Awareness Month in April 2022, another program element—on-site engagement games and activities—will be added.
“College students face stress and pressure even in normal times, and stress levels were dialed up even higher with the pandemic,” Wainfan says. “Our higher education teams understand this first-hand, being on campus every day, and they welcomed the TAKE15 program with open arms.”
TAKE15 has even greater digital reach now that it has been integrated with Feed Your Potential 365, which has long delivered nutritional news, healthy lifestyle insights, and chef-inspired healthy recipes and cooking tips online. “Tackling stress, and its many impacts, was a natural next step for Feed Your Potential,” Wainfan explains.
A Timeless Message
As Purcell sees it, TAKE15’s success is a product of two complementary factors: simplicity and broad applicability. Employees, clients, and students alike gravitate to the straightforward message—because almost everyone can make room for 15-minute breaks in their daily routine.
TAKE15 activations may center around specific awareness days or months in each country, but the ultimate goal is to inspire lasting behavior change.
“It just shows there is no bad time to support our employees’ and guests’ emotional wellbeing,” Purcell notes. “We know people are overwhelmed with information. That’s why it helps to focus on simple, positive healthy behavior changes—and practice what we preach.”
Learn more about TAKE15 at FYP365.com/take15.