Most people see their wellness as a checklist to get done throughout the day. Not Tammy Talacko. She sees it as a way of existence.

“Being healthy is not a matter simply of getting in a certain number of steps each day and saying your prayers at night,” said Talacko, nurse care manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). “It’s a way of seeing the world and being aware of what your mind, body and spirit needs to flourish.  There is not one formula or schedule for that.”

She says her focus on wellness heightened as she aged and became wiser.

“Age reminds us that our bodies are not immortal as aches begin to set in and maintaining strength becomes more of a challenge,” said Talacko. “Likewise, for many people, I think as our families grow, we start to reassess what is important in our lives and start to appreciate the people and things around us.”

The programs at BCBSNE have helped guide her along the way.

“WW (Weight Watchers reimagined) is a very good program that I would not have found time to do if it had not been offered at work,” she said. “I met a lot of people from outside of my work team, and the weekly meetings really helped to bring home the idea that we are all in this together.”

When it comes to staying active, she chooses not to hit the gym.

“I really prefer to get my exercise much more organically,” said Talacko. “I was doing some sanding yesterday on a cabinetry project, and it felt so good to be building something.”

She finds that her physical wellness goes together with her mental wellness.

“Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same sheet of paper,” said Talacko. “We need to make sure that we take care of our whole self.”

Talacko also finds the balance of this holistic wellness in her connection with nature.

“I keep a flock of chickens in the back of our large lot,” she said. “I use what used to be commuting time to be outside and tend to my chickens and to a garden in the summer. I also like to do productive physical work around our mini-farm.”

A step she is taking to focus on her mental wellness in 2021 is unplugging from technology more.

“Much of 2020 was spent glued to my phone to catch every little nuance surrounding politics and COVID-19,” Talacko said. “It caused a lot of unnecessary anxiety and kept me away from enjoying nature and family. It sucked a lot of joy out of life, and I intend to reclaim it.”

She also focuses on mindfulness and praying to make the care for her mind and body more meaningful to her.

To read more stories like this one, visit Health and Wellness.

*Wise & Well is a monthly wellness series highlighting BCBSNE employees and their dedication to health and wellness.