Wellness is about more than fitness and nutrition. Mental health, relationships, and attitude are all essential for our wellbeing. In today’s Stories of Change, Tom opens up about struggles he’s faced, how he found forgiveness and reconciliation, and how he’s come through a stronger person because of it.

A few years ago when I was visiting the Charlotte branch, Tom stopped in my office to say hello and we ended up talking for over an hour about wellness. As the Health Coach, it’s my job to motivate employees to make lifestyle changes and provide them with resources that help guide them in making positive changes. But, after Tom left, the story of his wellness journey resonated with me and left me feeling motivated to make changes in my own personal life. I knew that if I felt this way, his story could inspire others.

When a person hears wellness, they think nutrition and exercise. But, wellness is much broader than a person’s physical well-being. It includes other areas such as spiritual and emotional wellness. For Tom, these are important parts of his overall wellness and have contributed to where he is today.

Growing up around heaving drinking and other destructive behaviors, Tom watched those that were close to him follow down the same path. As a result, he witnessed suffering throughout their lives, especially in their final years. Tom didn’t want this for himself so he chose a different path, one of forgiveness and health.

“My faith brought on forgiveness and allowed me to move forward. Because of my faith, and work with it, I wake up with a purpose.”

Recently, he and his wife have taken wellness to another level. They had always been active but he found it challenging to find activities he enjoyed due to health and joint issues. Aqua Fit and the elliptical have changed this.

“Physically, I feel like I’m in better health now that in my 30’s and 40’s. I’m sleeping better, feeling better, and enjoying life.”

Today, Tom focuses on maintaining strong relationships with his family, healthy eating, and an active lifestyle. He is very active in the Gideon’s ministry and has traveled the world helping those in need. For him, helping those who are suffering and are in need has made a large impact on his overall wellness.

“I look back at childhood and wouldn’t change it because it’s helped me choose positive choices and go in a different direction.”

With their 32nd anniversary coming up this year, Tom and his wife push each other to embrace wellness. They continue to work toward finding balance with work, nutrition, and building and maintaining strong relationships with people.

“We have many years ahead and want to spend time with family.”