The importance of workplace wellness has been on the rise and for good reason. Our stress levels are through the roof. In fact, it’s been reported that 75-90% of primary care doctor visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. And what’s the leading source of stress in the United States? Occupational pressures and fears.
What’s worse are the negative outcomes of that stress: increased absenteeism, increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity, reduced morale and a reduced bottom line.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help boost the physical and mental wellbeing of your team, which benefit you, them and the organization overall.
Encourage stretching and movement.
As everyone in a sedentary job knows, workplace demands (eg deadlines, workloads) can make it difficult to pry yourself away from the computer. In fact, some of you may even feel guilty for stepping away for a bio-break, much less for anything resembling exercise.
But if you want to improve physical and mental wellbeing, you have to move. Ideally, you should take a short walk a couple of times a day. If nothing else, try some of these deskercises.
Encourage mindfulness and meditation.
Oftentimes, the mere mention of mindfulness and meditation is met with eye rolling and claims of it being a little too “woo-woo.” But the science doesn’t lie. Mindfulness and meditation are proven to reduce anxiety, treat depression, improve cognition and help you maintain focus.
Declutter your mind, learn to recognize stress before it happens and manage your life in a healthy, productive way with mindfulness and meditation apps like Calm, Headspace and a host of others. Namaste.
Encourage rest and daily naps. (Yes, naps!)
Whether from stress-based insomnia, burning the midnight oil or myriad other causes, the majority of us aren’t getting the 7-8 hours of sleep we need. The result? We’re more likely to take longer to complete tasks and make costly mistakes—among other negative affects.
If you can’t get rest during the night, you have to make time for it during the day. So, get rid of the notion that wellness activities are off-limits throughout the workday and start taking powernaps.
Encourage trying something new every day.
Psychology tells us that we experience higher levels of dopamine (the happy hormone) when we feel like we’re leading a purposeful life. But many jobs—depending on what you do—can sometimes feel repetitive and tiring and far from purposeful.
To avoid the depression, stress and burnout that monotony can cause, try to do something new every day. Volunteer, join a book club, take a cooking class—anything to help improve your mental and social wellbeing.
Encourage wellness challenges.
When you’re physically and mentally healthy, not only do you feel better, but you’re also more productive and more likely to take fewer sick days. The rub? Sometimes it’s really difficult to find the motivation to get yourself there.
The fix? Team wellness challenges. They’re a great way to make wellbeing activities fun and rewarding, which will help you and your team stick to personal health and wellness goals. (And let’s face it. We’re all a little competitive.) You can find some easy-to-manage challenges here.
Work-related stress in America and the toll it can take on you, your team and your organization are huge. It behooves us all to place focus first on our own wellbeing and then on that of those around us by encouraging, motivating and inspiring. When we’re healthy and our teams are healthy, our organizations are healthy, too.