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Workplace wellness is within your grasp

Do you ever check in with yourself at the end of a work day when you’re on your way home to get an idea of how you truly feel from a wellness standpoint, beyond basking in the gratification of accomplishing things at work?

Chances are, if on a normal workday you exercise before work after getting a good night’s sleep, and then fully unplug during your lunch break while consuming a healthy lunch choice, ideally outdoors, and then take some timeouts from sitting at the computer to stretch, and later make time for a 10-minute meditation session when you are in need of a recharge, you might head home feeling much better than if you hadn’t done any of the above.

Accomplishing the ideal wellness-centric workday takes a lot of effort and commitment, which is much easier to accomplish if your employer creates a culture that embraces each employee’s well-being, so you can more easily keep your wellness practices intact or be encouraged to create new ones.

Wellness tools

Since not all companies are implementing these practices as of yet, there are ways you can incorporate some wellness tools into your own work life. Doing so can help you to get more pleasure out of your work since you’ll likely feel better as a result, which will in turn give you a better chance of keeping your mental health intact.

According to Jeff Laubach, a licensed professional counselor based in West Lawn, some of the best wellness practices a person can incorporate in their work life include those that center on mindfulness.

“Simple mindfulness activities, such as breathing exercises or brief meditation sessions, can reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace,” Laubach said, adding some businesses turn to virtual Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs that include things like meditation and yoga to improve overall well-being.

“More and more people are turning to things such as standing desks, active workstations or reminders to stop and stretch on a regular basis,” he said.

Keeping your wellness practices in check at home and vice versa can give you a higher chance of achieving success.

“Gratitude journaling is a proven way to foster a positive mindset,” Laubach said of one activity that can be done at home.

Getting adequate sleep and having a healthy diet free of processed foods will enable you to feel more optimal.

Work/life balance

While self-care is something that’s talked about much more now than in the past, it’s still something we all have to make a concerted effort to include in our lives. Laubach finds there are certain aspects of life that, if neglected, can lead to a poor work/life balance, which then leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction in the workplace when all of our needs aren’t being met.

“When we neglect personal time we can end up feeling resentment and burnout,” he said. “I spend time with clients trying to help them reconnect with what’s important to them and figure out how to make time throughout the day, even if it’s 15 minutes, to focus on those things.”

Laubach said that when at work, it’s easy to feel swamped with deadlines and tasks that we sometimes feel powerless over.

“It’s OK to ask for help and turn to colleagues and/or supervisors for support,” he said.

A holistic standpoint

As people gain a broader sense of the importance of ensuring that their mind, body and spirit are getting equally nurtured during their work day, so too are companies realizing the benefits of creating wellness cultures in the workplace to serve as a preventative approach rather than a reactive one.

If an employee’s mental health is in check, they are more likely to be happy, healthy and productive workers. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, beyond offering health insurance there are evidence-based practices and strategies that can help employers support the well-being and mental health of their employees.

Implementing such programs these days can serve to not only attract new employees, but also retain the ones you have.

“Workplace wellness goes beyond health insurance coverage, a fitness room and a safe working environment,” says Johns Hopkins on their Bloomberg Public Health website. “It’s an overarching workplace culture that sees each employee as a whole person.”

Workplace culture

Bloomberg explains that it’s not just a program in need of being implemented, but a culture that evolves in a workplace, with the help and direction of top leadership at a company.

“They have the authority and power to provide that kind of culture, with funding, with strategic planning, with program and environmental supports, and the most important aspect is measurement and evaluation,” states Bloomberg.

Their best practice and benchmarking studies have shown that the programs that work most effectively center on three categories: psychosocial, organizational and environmental.

“Psychosocial includes things that you can control — eating healthy, getting enough physical activity, not smoking, not drinking excessively, not using illicit drugs, driving safely, having regular preventive exams with your doctor,” they state. “The organization can support all that by providing healthy food in cafeterias and vending machines, for example. They can provide access to fitness centers; they can have ergonomic workstations, no-smoking policies, insurance coverage for screening and preventive exams, access to medication and services at low or no cost.”

A healthy environment

On the environmental side, Bloomberg said it means protecting employees from toxins, hazards and illnesses.

“It also includes other elements of the physical space — healthy air, healthy water, not being too hot or too cold, having sufficient light, having the space being designed in a way that allows you to focus and concentrate but also socialize with other people in the workplace,” they state.

Laubach emphasized the importance of people checking in with their workplace well-being on an ongoing basis.

“If we don’t maintain a healthy work/ life balance, it takes a toll on us physically, with high blood pressure, heart disease, poor immune function and mentally, with anxiety, depression, poorer memory and decision-making,” he said. “We are not as productive, tend to have more conflicts at work and home, and tend to be less satisfied with our jobs.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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