Five Simple Practices Promoting Mental and Physical Health and Wellness in the Workplace
Oct 1, 2019 | Health and Wellness|
In 2019, health and wellness programs are becoming more prominent – but what if your company doesn’t offer any formal wellness benefits? Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy office gym or sleep pods to encourage and maintain workplace health. Employees know that when employers are aware of everyday stressors in and out of work, they can build their own ‘DIY’ health and wellness tools to keep everyone happy and productive.
If work is fast paced and employees rarely have time to sit with their thoughts, they may struggle with keeping a consistent practice. Shared wellness exercises can be adjusted according to individual work schedules and the time employees have throughout the day. Make sure they take advantage of break times. Encourage they check in with themselves to make sure they’re feeling their best so everyone can do their jobs properly.
Health and Wellness for Employees
“Wellness is a connection of paths: knowledge and action.” – Joshua Welch
Are you having a hard time establishing health and wellness practices at work? Let’s break down five simple exercises to try with workers this week to help everyone stay mindful, grounded and laser focused.
1. Brain dumps
Have employees take a piece of paper and write down everything on their minds. From work tasks to home chores, dreams, goals and worries, they write it all down on paper. This will help them decompress by expelling thoughts and putting them in a format they can see. When they’re ready, they can turn this brain dump into a to-do list and check items off as they go.
2. Walking away from the desk from time to time
Most of us (in and out of HR) eat lunch at our desks or don’t stand much at all for eight hours a day. This can be detrimental to our health. Lead the charge and take your lunch away from your work area. Go outside if possible! When you separate work time from relaxation time, you’ll see more productivity and less stress. Have you thought to try standing desks? According to The Washington Post, "A study, which monitored 167 employees in a Texan call center over six months, found that employees using stand-capable desks were more productive than their colleagues in standard, seated desks." Set up a trial with volunteers and see what they think. If budgeting concerns mean they’re not an option, make sure you and your workers get up once in a while to grab a cup of coffee, to get the blood flowing, to recharge the mind.
3. Encourage healthy snacks at work
You may not think eating fruits and vegetables helps with relaxing or being more productive, but people feel the difference! Encourage cutting out excessive sugars and sodium so workers don’t feel bogged down or crash before the day ends. Reference the basic food pyramid when picking snacks for the break room or cafeteria. Advocate for workers to bring healthy snacks in their lunch packs. When you feed your body good foods, you’ll see the clarity in your mind and feel energized and ready to tackle the day.
4. Be aware of mood and stress levels
Make sure you’re mindful of your stress levels and give yourself a mental cue when these feelings arise. And remember, everyone else gets stressed too. Understanding the signs of strain in yourself and others can help you avoid conflict (or diffuse it when it does creep up). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing and focus on another, less stressful task. When you’re feeling anxious, stand up and stretch for two minutes. When you pay attention to these moods and feelings, you can gain control again. Promote these tips among your workforce and help everyone become more aware of their moods and stress levels. Knowing what you’re feeling can help adjust behaviors and attitudes more effectively.
5. Develop strong support systems in and out of work
Set up ways for coworkers who want to improve their overall wellness to find and help each other on their journey. Make it easier for them to take walks together on breaks, to be a listening ear, to help each other with stressful projects and support each other through it all. For those who work remotely, you can set up a digital space for them to engage with others at work with similar wellness interests and goals. Remind workers of the benefits of having supportive friends or family members who allow venting but are also a positive outlet for when they aren’t at work. Build an environment that facilitates the supportive and positive energy that can help improve optimism, motivation and morale.
So, now that you have the tools to create personalized wellness practices at work, put them into action. Start by incorporating one of the exercises into your workday this week and when the work week comes to a close, reflect on how these changes made you feel. When you find ones that work for you, share them or try implementing them on a larger scale with your workforce.
There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for maintaining your health at work but when you find something that works for you, you can be more successful in and out of work. Even the best health and wellness benefits can’t cover or tailor everything. Share these simple suggestions to help your workers help themselves on a daily basis.