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8 Tips for Employee Wellness at Work

· Wellness,Wellbeing,Workplace Wellness,Healthcare,PopHealth

Whether you sit at a desk or drive a forklift all day, you can improve wellness with a few simple adjustments. Here are ten tips to find more employee wellness at work.

  1. Blood flow

Blood is the fount from which all life flows. Circulate it to raise your energy, happiness, and productivity. Try these:

  • 10 minutes of exercise - Adding 10 minutes of exercise to your day adds more healthy minutes (and 10 fewer in front of a screen) of pumped blood, oxygen, and metabolism. Do it in the morning before work, or late afternoon when you need that pick me up. Walking - Power walk around the company facility, outdoors in nature if possible. Studies show that walking among the greenery reduces depression. Vitamin D-rich sunshine’s good for you too. Walk the first 5 minutes of your lunch break to get the juices flowing.

  • Yoga - Rather than checking your phone first thing in the morning, take your sleepy eyes to the mat for a slow 10-minute stretch. Or do 5 slow sun salutations and call it a morning. Even a forward bend held for 10 to 20 breaths gets blood flowing.

  • Acupressure - Get a little tension-relieving, blood-pumping pressure point self-massage at your desk. Just close your eyes and press into the base of your cheekbone for half a minute to 3 minutes to loosen tightness in your face and brighten your complexion. Or free your neck and shoulders by massaging the skin between your thumb and forefinger. Rub your temples rhythmically in slow, easy circles to relax the nervous system.

  • Jump! - Jump in place for 3 to 5 minutes. Do 10 jumping jacks.

2. Bones

Love your bones. Respect them with good posture.

  • Posture - Align your shoulders, straight back and neck when sitting or standing. The slouch not only impairs spinal health but also prevents the feel-good hormone, like serotonin, from energizing you. Good posture improves your mood.

  • And jump! - Jumping in place for as little as ten jumps builds bone density in hips and legs, which is crucial to aging adults.

3. Mind/Attitude

Small mental breaks do wonders for wellbeing.

  • Meditation - Meditation both relaxes and declutters the mind. Whether you start your day with 5 or 10 minutes of stillness over a soothing tea or lay your head down on your desk and close your eyes in the afternoon, your wellbeing benefits from a little down time.

Try a themed meditation by focusing on a thought or intention. You can repeat a mantra or simply inhale to the word “I” and exhale to the word “am.” Let the stray thoughts pass and return to the repeated words.

  • Flow activity - Focused activities/projects that absorb you and make you lose all sense of time suspend worry or mindless chatter.

  • Intention - Set an intention before getting out of bed. Decide you’ll be more grateful or compassionate today--and focus on how that feels.

  • Windows - Concentrate on relaxing your body and breathing slowly as you gaze out a window into endless sky or nature’s green.

  • Phone break - Instead of checking your phone (resist!), close your eyes and be still for two to five minutes.

  • Breathe - Find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and breathe slowly, counting your inhales for six counts and your exhales for eight, pausing after each. Count 20 slow breaths to slow your heart rate and relax muscle tension.

  • Yawn - It’ll make you more alert. Don’t resist.

  • Laugh - Laughing improves mood. Watch an afternoon funny cat video. But if you can’t laugh, try a huge smile tossed at your coworker or a passerby, especially when you’re feeling stressed. Even a fake smile lowers your heart rate.

  • Visualization - Take five during the day to close your eyes and visualize inspirational people, maybe mentors or others who truly matter to you. Imagine them nearby spreading the good vibes.

4. Compassion

Exercising compassion improves wellbeing and eases suffering.

  • Empathy - Coping with a difficult co-worker, you might visualize the person compassionately, perhaps exploring possibilities of their pain and struggles too. Imagine yourself flipping the switch of irritation to warmth and compassion. It may not mend relations, but it may slowly change your reaction to them.

  • Personal interaction - Answer that text or email by phone or in person. It’s too easy to hide behind electronics. Delivering an email or text response in person not only gets you out walking, but is more personable.

  • Volunteer - You want to live longer? Those who volunteer regularly lower life-threatening illnesses by 24% according to a Carnegie-Mellon University study on aging adults. Being helpful boosts feel-good oxytocin levels and reduces stress-producing harmful chemicals.

5. Gratitude

Sounds cliché, but gratitude is a mood lifter.

  • Take inventory - Try changing your response to tough circumstances with a thankfulness inventory.

  • Daily intention - Before you step out the door, remember one thing that you’re grateful for, and try to return to it during the day. Make lists of three good things that happened during the day, big or small (a fine cup of tea or great parking spot). Make a gratitude habit. You’ll feel better about your life over time.

6. Food and Drink

Sure, eating more fruits and veggies, and less fats, sugars, and red meat will improve your health. But you don’t have to tackle it all.

  • Less sugar--The best place to start eating better is simply being aware of your daily sugar intake. Choose no or lower sugar options. You’ll lose weight and gain energy.

  • Supplements - Take probiotics daily to ward off colds and stomach upset. Yogurt with live probiotics (lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) also strengthens bones.

  • Peppermints - For upset stomach and an afternoon lift, suck peppermints.

7. Drink

Your energy level depends on sufficient hydration.

  • Water - Drink more. Warm or cool water with lemon is refreshing, energizing, and vitamin C boosting. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for improved digestion and lower blood sugar levels.

  • Afternoon tea - Preparing and drinking a cup of tea takes loving time for yourself. Drink it before your afternoon walk around the workplace.

  • Coffee - Drink a few cups a day to lower risk of depression, dementia, and tinnitus. Add a little coconut oil for energy and appetite suppressant. The antioxidants also help burn calories when combined with exercise.

8. And These

Finances - Prioritize saving before paying anyone else, even if it’s only 5 or 10 dollars a week. Money and peace of mind adds up over the years.

Safety/cleanliness - Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down your door knob, and sneeze or cough into your shoulder to reduce spreading cold germs.

Small additions for big changes to employee wellness, try a few.

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