UFG Insurance’s Virtual Wellness Fair: Crush COVID Kick-Off Event

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UFG Insurance Employee Virtual Wellness Fair launched with a “Crush COVID Kick-Off” Thursday September 17, 2020 LIVE from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The wellness fair is scheduled to continue for a few weeks with participants weighing in and setting goals for physical activity, weight loss, improved mood and mental health, and boosting immune systems.

Lindsay Olson, UFG’s Corporate Fitness And Wellness Coordinator

This powerful initiative was led by Lindsay Olson, UFG Insurance’s Corporate Fitness and Wellness Coordinator and supported by the leadership of UFG. Check out their channel called UFit for some powerful workouts you can do at home as well.


Three keynote presenters spoke on topics of the importance of rest and recovery, fitness coaching, diet, gratitude, immune building and more.

Session one that led the kick off was hosted by Farm to Health Organics founder Alissa Gardner on the topic of rest and recovery. Although 2020 has brought a myriad of obstacles that we didn’t see coming, Gardner focused on the opportunities and pointed out that we all have a choice in how we look at things and also how we react. As a mother of 5, I can “dig a hole and live in it, or I can get a good night’s rest, wake up refreshed and remind myself that His mercies are new every morning.”

Gardner presented LIVE from her hemp field in Rowley, IA

Gardner shared details of her last 18 months journey of rest which included leaving a successful 15 year career in real estate to rest.

In relation to rest, Gardner left the UFG workforce with her Top 5 things that they could do to get on the path of good mental health.

  • Say “no” more often. She says that “I was the queen of overcommitting , but what I have found is that when I say “no” more often, that my “yes” really means something now.”
  • Turn down the lights in your home in the evening. “…don’t use devices and screens within 45 mins of going to bed (read Gardner’s article on rest here)
  • Stop with the stimulants. (or at the very least don’t use them after 4 pm) Espresso, Monster drinks, coffee, Redbull, Rockstar…we are an upper/downer culture as if we don’t remember Elivs.
  • Be proactive in resetting your circadian rhythm and maintaining a routine at bedtime. Our mental health is in jeopardy here! We are creatures of habit and we do not honor that most days.
  • Get outside. Gardner stated “I’ve yet to meet a person who’s come to our farm for some fresh air, sunshine, and a campfire that didn’t leave renewed, strengthened, and refreshed.

Session two was led by Shelby Marsh of Serenity Strong Coaching.

Shelby Ann of Serenity Strong Coaching

Marsh, who has a masters degree in kinesiology started her presentation by discussing a “good strong plate” as she called it. Discussing foods like veggies, carbs, good fats, and proteins and discussed how food is fuel and our energy source for daily life. “It gives us the ability to think, talk, walk, and be present.” Marsh said.

Transitioning from diet to exercise Marsh taught on how to “build a body that is hard to kill” and stated that she prefers resistance training over other training methods.

In addition to Marsh’s own podcast Serenity Strong, she also recommended Optimal Daily Living Podcast as well.

Our favorite part of Marsh’s presentation was her portion on reflecting and planning. Marsh suggested taking time daily to reflect on what went good and what could have been better. Followed by time to plan for the days ahead.

The final session of the kick off was led by Nate Weber of Back in Line Chiropractic. This firecracker of a presenter made an impact in delivering wisdom on practical ways to become better versions of ourselves.

Nate Weber of Back in Line Chiropractic

Weber quoted statistics on the impact of stress on our bodies immunity and overall health and wellness. “Our society is the most stressed it has ever been. 60-80% are “chronically stressed.””

Weber also discussed the epidemic of loneliness which is up 300% in Western countries. This skyrocketing number affects our health more than obesity and smoking according to Weber.

Weber’s remedy? A shift needs to take place. Transitioning self identity from scarcity to abundance by changing little habits along the way. He also recommended the book: Change Your Brain Change Your Life  and quoted Abraham Lincoln “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Weber concluded with three ways to improve energy.

  • Gratitude. Tell 5 people what you are grateful for. This will elevate how you think.
  • Set intentions for tomorrow and write down your wins. It’s important to pay attention to our internal dialogue and the stories we tell ourselves.
  • Exercise. In Weber’s words “unmessing ourselves” Exercise is as effective as medications when it comes to anxiety and depression. Physical exercise and mindful exercise increase brain function by growing new neurons. This leads to increased dopamine, serotonin, and muscle mass. It also improves immunity, bone density, and insulin sensitivity.

The overall consensus of the kick off was a smashing success. Participants stated “best meeting ever”, “love this…great content…thank you” “thanks everyone, this was amazing…very motivating and informational.”

UFG employee feedback via group chat

As a presenter, I would like to mention that I think that the leadership and mindset at UFG Insurance is uncommon in traditional corporate settings. I applaud UFG for showing care and concern for their workforce by talking about deep issues that affect their physical and mental health.

UFG’s employees who participated in the kickoff tuned in from UFG locations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Los Angeles, California; Rocklin, California; Westminster, Colorado; Pennington, New Jersey; Webster, Texas, and Metairie, Louisiana.

United Fire Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries provides property and casualty insurance and life insurance. The Company markets fidelity and surety bonds, reinsurance, ordinary life, annuities, and credit life products. United Fire also underwrites and brokers a limited amount of excess and surplus lines insurance.

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