Stress can be overwhelming. It’s a feeling most individuals have had – and if not, it’s coming.
Jayme Sweere decided to tackle that feeling in the workplace with Stressed Out Humans LLC.
Stressed Out Humans offers functional fitness and one-on-one coaching programs for workers who spend most of their day in sedentary positions.
“One that’s pretty common is the down and forward sort of T-Rex arm position in front of a computer,” Sweere says, sitting on her yoga blanket in a Rountree Neighborhood studio.
Her business model has Sweere traveling to offices around town for on-site training.
“One of the main things we’re teaching is the skills and sense of adaptability,” she says. “It takes about 40 days to create a new habit.”
Sweere has provided programming in office environments, co-working spaces like Cast and the efactory, senior living centers and nonprofits.
She said the concept and the name came at the same time.
“The name sort of came from just being to the point about who it was for,” she says. “I could see so many ways these tools could be adapted into every environment to be of service to people.”
Movement and mindfulness are the key elements in Sweere’s toolbox. She often starts with a deep breathing exercise.
“A nice, smooth, deep, even diaphragmatic breath that moves the diaphragm through its full range of motion in a comfortable way, and learning how to connect into that diaphragm is a huge part of the stress benefit of the mindfulness and movement practices,” Sweere says.
She says her exercises counter the repetitive movements of a particular job.
Misti Parker went through a Stressed Out Humans program through her employer, Christenson Transportation Inc.
Parker was having back problems, and she says the program brought relief to her back, shoulders and neck.
Parker and her co-workers went through a monthlong yoga program involving stretches and deep breathing with Sweere on-site during their lunch hour multiple times a week.
“I was a little skeptical doing yoga at work,” she says. “I came out with a total different clarity.”
Parker, who works in recruiting and marketing, says the program gave her awareness to pay attention to posture, and she’s continued techniques at home.
Stressed Out Humans handles the internal marketing to engage employees, Sweere says, by using surveys to determine the techniques that would be helpful.
“I would make a proposition to whoever is organizing the wellness programming for what the program would look like,” Sweere says, before she’ll inform employees of what will be offered and the benefits to them.
For instance, the functional fitness program is usually six weeks and costs $1,500-$2,000.
“The functional fitness is the introductory package that would lead into packaged wellness challenges that we can do within an organization,” Sweere says.
Mental focus and breathing, juxtaposed with movements, are the crux of how Sweere guides workers during the challenges provided in the program.
“An organization can decide how often they want to offer these challenges,” she says.
Once the organizer and Sweere pick a practice, she comes in to teach in the office.
She drops in halfway through the challenge to check up on the participants, then again at the end to talk about how the newly learned tools can be utilized in daily life.
Fit for work
Sweere’s background is fitting for leading Stressed Out Humans.
She was a strength and conditioning coach at Wichita State University and previously played basketball at Southern Illinois University. As a graduate student at Wichita State, Sweere was working toward a master’s in business administration in sustainable development.
“It was kind of combining the training world and the business world,” she says.
Sweere isn’t alone at Stressed Out Humans. She has two part-time teachers in two different states.
Essie Titus is a firefighter in Kansas City and a certified yoga instructor. She works with the Missouri Department of Mental Health staff, the Kansas City Fire Department cadets and Kansas City Police Department officers to be more in tune with their bodies.
“I have the practical application through my work; she’s got a degree in business,” Titus says of Sweere. “We work well together because we bring our strengths to the table.”
Sweere’s other teacher, Stele Balaban, is based out of Arkansas.
The trio also can do one-on-one coaching for movement and lifestyle assessment to create a personal practice prescription.
“We’re trying to present it in a way so you can do it every day, and it doesn’t feel like a chore,” Titus says.
On the higher end, Sweere and company can organize one-day retreats to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which costs between $1,500 and $4,000 per company.
“Retreats would really be about creating an environment for creativity and problem solving,” Sweere says.
Sweere wants to hire more yoga therapists while she expands program offerings.
“One of the hopes for the future is to be a sort of an agency for wellness practitioners,” she says, declining to disclose first-year revenue.
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