We all recognise the vital importance of keeping ourselves healthy at work. Assuming a full adult working life will be from 18-67 years, we will spend 92,120 hours working. That is 35% of your total waking hours over a 50 year working-life will be spent working, taking that we get eight hours sleep a night! Considering we spend so much time working, how can we optimise our health whilst working?
Here are four of the best ways you can contribute to creating a healthier workplace for yourself and your colleagues!
Emotional Intelligence – this basically means one’s ability to understand their own emotions and recognise those of others. The more aware you become of yourself the better you are able to manage your own weakness and your strengths and recognise those of your peers. In general, if you have a good understanding of your own emotions and you are able to manage your state, this will help you with all kinds of problem solving. It can contribute to how you will relate to your colleagues, identifying their needs and fostering an atmosphere of understanding in the workplace. Whether you are a manager or an office worker, everyone contributes to the culture of an organisation! Get smart with your emotional intelligence and be the best you can be at work!
Get Moving – Exactly how much exercise should we be doing everyday? According to the The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland, adults between the ages of 18-64 years should be doing at least 30 mins of moderate activity, five days per week! That’s 150 mins of exercise per week. TILDA9 , The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, found that 34% of older Irish adults report high levels of physical activity. So what are the rest of us doing? With 65% of us travelling to work mainly by car, we are not exactly getting any exercise on our way to work! We all lead very busy lives and the last thing we want to do after a long day at work / commuting, is to head to the gym or go out in the dark for a walk. Why not try to take 30 mins (if you get an hour lunch) out of the office on your break, go for a quick jog or walk. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Park your car further away from your office, so you have a 15-min walk to and from work. Exercise not only benefits you physically but it also improves your concentration, cognitive function and mental wellbeing. If you find it challenging to motivate yourself, ask your colleagues to join you!
Positive Vibes – We all understand that someone can instantly change the atmosphere in a room positively or negatively. Focusing on the good things, lifts your mood and creates a positive atmosphere in the workplace. Try to communicate in a positive way and with a big smile on your face. According to Zajonc, putting a smile on your face can tip you in the direction of a positive feeling. You can change the energy in your workplace with just a smile, fake it until you make it!
Ease Tension – The stress response is an automatic function of our nervous system. That means that we do not have to actually think ‘I have to get stressed now’. It just happens. However, the relaxation response is not like that at all. We have to actively initiate relaxation. We have to think ‘I have to relax now!’. If we don’t allow any time in our work or personal lives for this response, stress can build to intolerable levels, which could lead to physical and mental disease. Invite a chair massage company to come to your office to do onsite chair massage. Physically it makes an individual more body aware. Helping them to realise their areas of tension and will encourage them to be more proactive about their health. This can help prevent illness.
Mahatma Gandhi put it perfectly “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”