A Health Matters Hero inspires those around them and contributes to a culture of well-being for fellow state of Idaho employees.
Health Matters Hero: Allison Palmer February 2020
Allison works for Southeastern Public Health in Pocatello and was anonymously nominated by a coworker to be February’s Health Matters Hero. Allison is an incredible model of health and wellness! Despite having had a heart valve replacement (twice!), Allison engages in physical activity on most days, be it swimming, hiking, yoga, snowshoeing, Pilates, or walking. She follows a healthy diet that is heavy on veggies and fruits (and a small daily amount of dark chocolate!). In addition, to living a physically healthy lifestyle, Allison regularly employs practices to maintain her emotional health, including daily self-reflection, goal setting, time with her Corgi (Finley) every day, and doing acts of kindness towards others every day. She picks a “word of the year” each year, which she uses to focus her actions. Last year, her word was “love”; this year it is “give.” Allison is a true model of healthy behaviors and wellness, and it shows!
WHAT IS YOUR ‘WHY’?
There are several reasons “why” but if I were to list them all, this would be a very long chapter book! 🙂 The main reason I make the choices I do is, I am very grateful to have life. As mentioned in the nomination, I have had 2 open heart surgeries to replace my mitral valve. The first surgery was an emergency that occurred when I was 18. I had a 40% chance of survival and 100% chance of suffering a major stroke, which would have left me brain dead. Several people prayed for me at the time. When I came through that surgery, my doctor even stated he was not responsible and that it was a miracle. The second valve replacement I had was in 2015. This was a preplanned surgery but I still had no control of the outcome. The physician had told me I was still at risk for stroke. Miraculously, I came through that surgery too. I will need to have at least one more surgery in the future when my pig tissue valve wears out. I choose to take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually because I am still here and just like everyone else in this world, I have a purpose. I thank God every day for saving my life multiple times!
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Almost everyone inspires me in some way! Everyone has their own story that is full of challenges and triumphs. Everyone has his or her own “why”. People I am close to, my boyfriend, family, friends, and co-workers inspire me. Even people I am not close to such as strangers I interact with at the grocery store, doctor’s offices, or on the airplane, that have courage to share part of their story, inspire me.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WELL-BEING ACHIEVEMENT?
The greatest well-being achievement I have is something that has been occurring more recently, which is achieving balance. There was a time I was rigid in how I went about my well-being. “I must do, A, B, C, all the time…”, to keep my heart healthy now and for future heart surgeries. Although those things are true, my heart also needs freedom to enjoy all the little things and blessings in life. Some of my favorite things that are good for my well-being now are: cooking, enjoying a favorite treat on the weekend, sleeping in, going on a walk with Finley and my boyfriend to enjoy the outdoors instead of hitting the gym. I have learned to be flexible and that flexibility is a better guard for my heart.
HOW DO YOU STAY WELL AT WORK?
Over the years, I have added several items to my day to stay well at work. To stay well physically and socially, I incorporate time with my co-workers by visiting and taking walking breaks together. To stay well mentally, I take very short (1-2 minute) meditation breaks and I surround myself with encouraging items, quotes, and verses. If I need to take a few minutes to laugh, I flip through some of my favorite “Awkward Yeti-Heart & Brain” comics. I also incorporate these comics in some of my staff presentations. (If you haven’t seen a Heart & Brain comic, go check it out! 🙂 ) Finally, at the end of every workday I write down what I am thankful for and tie them to a board in my office.
FREE WRITE! IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I want to thank the individual who wrote such kind words and nominated me for this. It was a very pleasant surprise and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work where I do and with this person every day.