How often do you promise yourself that you’ll live a healthier lifestyle? And how soon does that fall by the wayside? Improving your health and wellness benefits you in all areas of life, especially your career.
You don’t need to overhaul your life to make a difference to your health and wellbeing. Start with small steps that can easily turn into good habits. Take a look at these 12 steps to improve your wellbeing inside and outside of work.
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Why it’s important for your career
Taking care of your health has benefits that cover all elements of your life. When you don’t look after yourself, you become susceptible to illness, as well as becoming less focused and lacking in energy – things that won’t benefit your career. Taking care of your body and mind will keep you sharp and full of energy, two things you’re going to need to excel in your job to be able to progress in your career.
Why it’s important for your employer
Employers rely on their employees to show up to work, without them the business can’t function. Employees taking sick days cost companies money, up to half a trillion dollars, it seems. Many common conditions behind poor health are caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity, which can be preventable causes of illness.
In addition to lifestyle factors, poor employee health can also be caused by the job itself. Many people battle mental health issues as a result of their jobs, with stress, anxiety, and depression occurring as a result of demanding jobs and an unhappy work environment.
12 steps to improve your wellbeing
There are different things you can do to help improve your health and wellbeing while you’re at work and while you’re at home. Take them one step at a time and focus on making permanent lifestyle choices, not quick fixes.
1. Get more sleep
Do you notice your work performance is affected after a poor night’s sleep? Sleep deprivation has a number of consequences for your body and mind, making it difficult to concentrate, while also making you clumsier and more accident prone.
Eight hours is what’s recommended, and if you’re not getting enough then it’s time to change your habits. Learn how to sleep better and start feeling more refreshed.
2. Walk around more
Exercise is important for keeping you fit and maintaining a healthy weight. When you spend all day glued to a desk, it’s easy to start feeling sluggish and even lazy, making exercise feel like running a marathon. Walking more during the day will help combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and gives you a much-needed screen break. Try to stretch your legs every hour or two and take lunch away from your desk.
3. Develop better digital habits
While digital technology has transformed the way we work and live drastically over the years, there is such a thing as being too engrossed in technology. If you spend a lot of time looking at a screen during the day, then more throughout the night, you could be causing more harm than you realize. Aside from being considered antisocial, too much screen time has effects on the body, including your eyesight.
Try spending time away from your devices and make time for other interests. Staying away from social media, in particular, for some time could help improve your mental health too.
4. Eat well
A stressful job can easily lead to some poor eating habits. When you don’t take a proper break or you work too many hours, healthy eating can go out the window in a bid to grab something on the go. Eating better at work takes some planning and willpower, but it’s a good way to boost your energy and keep your weight within a healthy range. Try bringing healthy meals into the office to avoid the lure of the break room treats and to make sure you get your fix of vitamins.
5. Practice good hygiene
Colds and other viruses spread rapidly in the workplace, but you can do your part to stop them in their tracks. Practicing good hygiene at home and at work will help you to stay healthy and avoid the illnesses that can soon take over an office. Wash your hands regularly, brush your teeth and use antibacterial products to keep your desk area clean. If you’re sick, try to stay at home to rest and recover, or see if you can work from home instead – it’s better to isolate yourself than risk others getting sick too.
6. Exercise your body and mind
Stress is a normal part of life, but it’s how you deal with it that matters. Stress caused by your job and other factors in your life can soon take its toll, but many people find that exercise helps. Exercise can help you release endorphins, your feel-good hormones, while also helping you to shift your focus on your stresses and put your energy into something positive. Some popular exercises for relieving stress include yoga, kickboxing, running and dance. Find a workout you enjoy and let it help you ease the stresses of the day.
7. Keep up with your health appointments
It can be difficult to find the time to fit in a visit to the dentist or the doctor, but keeping up with your health appointments is important – even when work is busy. A missed dentist appointment or new prescription for your contraception could lead to other health complications that will require more than a few visits off work. If you suspect something is wrong, don’t wait to find out, make that appointment to get it checked out.
8. Get help managing stress
Being stressed at work can affect your job performance. It can cause you to make mistakes and feel overwhelmed, while also leading to further health problems. Many workplaces offer resilience training, which is designed to help equip you with skills and techniques to handle stressful situations. It could be a valuable bit of training to undertake at work and will benefit you in other areas of your life too.
Stress can be difficult to handle, but it’s important that you give yourself a break from time to time to help your mind switch off and to give you a chance to relax. Make the most of your vacation days, and be sure to relax in the evenings and weekend to give your body and mind a chance to recover.
9. Set some goals for yourself
If you’re unhappy at work, you need to turn your situation around to be able to do something you enjoy and find a better work/life balance. By setting goals for yourself, you can figure out what it is you want to do and create a plan to achieve it. You might need to switch jobs, try for a promotion or simply look to get more responsibility at work to help you find some job satisfaction. Set some larger goals as well as smaller, more manageable objectives that can help keep you motivated at work.
10. Socialize with your colleagues
Loneliness at work can cause isolation, which can affect your happiness and mental health. Making friends at work isn’t always easy, but there are different things you can do to be more sociable. Accept invitations, schedule lunch with your colleagues and make an effort to get to know them. Developing relationships with your colleagues can spur you on to do better work, and makes your workplace a much more comfortable place to be.
11. Develop a positive mindset
It’s easy to get dragged down in the negativity that can plague a workplace, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Everybody complains about their work from time to time, but you should aim to see the positive side of things to help change your mindset and develop some enthusiasm for your work. Find some positive mantras you can follow and stop negativity impacting your job.
12. Remember to have a life
While work can be an important aspect of your life, it isn’t the only aspect. There is a lot of pressure to stay late, come in early and forgo your lunch break to impress management and to get ahead. But is it worth sacrificing the other areas of your life? Finding a good balance between work and your personal life will help keep your mental health in check and take some of the pressure off. If things are getting too much for you, and you’re unable to get your work done in time, consider discussing your situation with your boss, or think about pursuing a role elsewhere.
Improving your health and wellbeing is important, and making some simple changes to your lifestyle and habits will have positive effects on both your work and personal life. Focus on managing stress, eating well and staying active to help you stay fit and well, and ready to take on the world.