Skip to main content

What the Wellness Subsidy Means to Me

Mary MacDonald
Mary MacDonald

Senior Technical Writer

Welcome to 2024, friends.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve changed my thinking about what being healthy means. I’ve gone from the mother of a teenager to an empty nester and military mom. I’ve entered menopause. I’ve progressed in my career. I’ve celebrated my 50th birthday and my 25th wedding anniversary. A lot has changed, including the ways I work to keep myself healthy. There are different battles to wage on different fronts—my blood pressure is a giant diva; sleep is a thing that happens to other people; maybe sarcasm shouldn’t be my default state? After doing some thought homework, I settled on using wellness as my guiding principle. Wellness is something you pursue. Health is just a state—a snapshot of how you are (or aren’t) feeling. I realized that I wasn’t really pursuing wellness if I was using my workouts as punishment for what I ate. I want my exercise to be a celebration of what my body can do, and I want to be happier. Surely, those things can be the same thing, can’t they?

Turns out they can. D2L provides us all with an annual wellness subsidy. Over the almost nine years I’ve been an employee at D2L, I’ve used the benefit for my gym memberships, to subscribe to a weight management program, and for a summer swim pass for the outdoor pool down the street from my house. I decided that in 2023, I was going to have more fun.

But wait, what does that look like? I talked to my husband about my quandary—wanting to do something active that I’ll actually enjoy and look forward to doing. Not something that feels like punishment. A while ago, as we were coming out of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I read an article about how, if you want to have more happiness in your life, think about the things you enjoyed doing as a kid, and do them again. There are certainly fun things that kids do across each generation—riding a bike, skipping rope, swimming, playing soccer, or shinny with the neighborhood kids. I was a kid in the 70s and 80s and that means one spectacular thing: roller skating.

As it turned out, in May 2023 the SUSO Skate Company set up a glorious two-month popup in the ice pad in the Cambridge Mall. On the day that it started, I bought a skate pass for the summer. Honestly, I’m not the lithe confident skater that I used to be, but I looked forward to my Friday night skate. This was the perfect use of my wellness subsidy. Something novel that I enjoyed doing; something truly fun.

Now, we find ourselves in a new calendar year, which means a newly refreshed wellness subsidy available to each of us. What fun thing is in store for me this time? The City of Cambridge is offering Bhangra dance classes. A friend of mine is taking an adult introduction to tap dance. Perhaps my husband and I should re-join the ballroom dance school and brush up on our rhumba, cha-cha, waltz, foxtrot, tango, and swing. My sister (who lives five provinces away from me) suggested that we run/walk/bike the Scooby Doo Virtual Challenge.

I challenge you, friends, not only to use your wellness subsidy but to use it for something fun.

Written by:

Mary MacDonald
Mary MacDonald

Senior Technical Writer