Well-Being At Work Is Good For Mental Health

Well-Being At Work Is Good For Mental Health

self care1When you consider that many employees spend a huge portion of their waking hours at work, it only makes sense that their well-being at work affects the rest of their life significantly. It helps to understand that there’s a lot of things employers can do to help both physical and mental health. Employers undertake wellness programs for a number of reasons. Some relate to improving productivity and reducing expense, but one important reason is that employers truly care. Employees are the core of the company and doing the best to keep the core happy and healthy is important.

Studies show that mental health issues costs billions each year.

There’s more to the cost of mental issues than just the treatment and medication. However, even that is expensive and often why health care programs reduce the amount they’ll pay for mental health care. One study showed that mental disorders were the most costly illness in the US, with a cost of $201 billion for 2013 that was higher than even heart disease or cancer. Lost wages due to mental illness are estimated at $192.3 billion.

There’s also a link between physical disease and anxiety and depression.

Not only is there a link between physical disease and anxiety or depression, the link is significant. In fact, the association between heart attack fatalities and depression are the same as they are between heart disease and diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It only makes sense to help identify the emotional problem as early as possible to prevent it from becoming overwhelming. Some of the same efforts for good physical health also apply for good mental health. Exercise and a healthy diet can reduce and even eliminate anxiety and depression.

Wellness programs can help lower stress levels, too.

Stress plays a significant role in exasperating mental health conditions. It increases anxiety and can lead to depression. Many aspects of physical wellness programs also address stress. Not only does it reduce physical and mental health issues, it can also make the workplace safer. In fact, OSHA— Occupational Safety and Health Administration—said stress was a workplace hazard. Learning coping mechanisms is important, particularly in today’s hectic world where schedule demands, deadlines and even personality conflicts can exist.

  • Workplace mental health programs provide coping skills. They also take the stigma out of having an emotional or mental health problem. Identifying a problem and seeking help can reduce unhealthy behavior as a coping mechanism.
  • Stress can cause illness. It can trigger insomnia, rapid heartbeat, muscle aches and pains—as well as high blood pressure and stomach issues. The two are linked. If you want to make the most of a wellness program, it needs both mental and physical components.
  • Not only does productivity increase when there’s a physical and mental wellness program, so does the quality of the work. There’s an improved focus when mental health issues like depression, stress and anxiety are under control.
  • A company that shows they truly care about employees to help them live healthier, both physically and mentally gives a feeling to employees that they truly matter, which tends to increase morale.

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Employee Well-Being Should Be A Priority

Employee Well-Being Should Be A Priority

employee1No matter how creative you are or how acute you are in business, if your company is large, you need good employees. Good employees are a company’s biggest asset, so it only follows that focusing on employee well-being is important. Whether its mental health, financial health or physical health, when an employee is fit in all areas, they’re more focused and productive at work. It’s one reason that workplaces have done more to help prevent chronic disease and promote a healthier lifestyle than even the medical profession. While preventing disease isn’t their ultimate goal, having a healthy workforce helps them achieve their goal of providing products and services.

Benefit programs are offered to help recruit the most impressive candidates for the job.

Companies started offering benefits, such as healthcare, retirement plans and sick leave, to attract the most qualified candidates for a position. They help to retain good employees, too. Wellness programs work the same way, but with added benefits. They help change unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and diet. It doesn’t take much to realize that once you change an unhealthy behavior, you’ll lower the risk for chronic disease and that lowers healthcare costs. Helping an employee make one small behavior change, such as eating healthier, can lower the potential for a serious, yet manageable disease like diabetes, that can send health care costs rising.

Wellness programs may focus on healthcare, but they also reap many mental health benefits.

Whether it’s eating healthier or exercising, it’s good for the body. It turns out that it’s also good for the brain. Studies show that exercising can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also helps boost cognitive thinking, so employees function better when they’re on the job. Eating healthier can help prevent those blood sugar spikes that end up dropping as rapidly as they rise. There’s also a food-mood connection with food that provides nutrients such as vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, folic acid, tryptophan and Omega3 fatty acids can also help with mental health issues and a healthier brain.

Lowering healthcare costs is a big reason many employers choose wellness programs.

It’s not hard to understand how wellness programs for employees can reduce healthcare costs. If you change just a few behaviors, it can lead to reducing risks of serious conditions, such as diabetes. When you consider that the cost for treating just one condition, such as high blood pressure, incur $47.5 billion each year in direct medical expense. That’s not including the $3.5 billion in lost productivity. When you include into it, other costs that are related for health care services, it totals approximately $131 billion each year. A healthy diet and regular exercise can lower blood pressure. Wellness programs that encourage a healthier lifestyle, can significantly reduce health care costs.

  • According to a review of 100 different papers, the average return on investment for a wellness program was 3.27.
  • Absenteeism is lowered when companies focus on wellness programs. Twenty-two different studies focused on that aspect and found that it saved the company $2.73 for every dollar spent.
  • When employees feel good and feel they’re important, they’re more productive. A wellness program provides both.
  • A good wellness program provides the tools to help people make behavior changes. They make it simpler, provide skills and support to motivate people to change their lifestyle and live healthier.

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Workplace Wellness Programs Are The New Thing

occupational healthThere’s been a lot more focus on staying healthy and avoiding illness in recent months, which may be one reason workplace wellness programs have risen so much in popularity. Employers provide employees with the benefit of concrete knowledge that can help them plan better in almost every area of their life. More recent programs offer information to help employees with physical and mental health issues, as well as financial issues. Helping employees with information to live a healthier, more rewarding life not only provides benefits for the employees, but also benefits the employer.

Healthier employees are more productive.

A lot of workplace health issues revolve around lifestyle. If you live a sedentary life and eat high calorie food with all the nutrition removed by processing, the potential for serious conditions rise. Eating healthier can sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Providing precise science-backed information that’s easy to access makes it easier. The easier something is to do, the more likely it will be done. Healthy foods tend to keep blood sugar level, which means fewer dips in energy. The same holds true for exercise. Not only does exercising regularly help keep employees healthier, it boosts their energy level, too. More energy, higher productivity.

Employee morale rises.

When you know you’re a valuable part of the organization and that your employer cares, that can boost goodwill and play a role in building a positive attitude toward the organization. Some employers even provide rewards for participating in wellness programs, which boosts both the effectiveness and goodwill. Not only are wellness programs good for present employees, they’re important when presenting a benefit package for recruiting the best employees.

You’ll reduce your costs.

Not only does illness create a higher healthcare cost for employers, it also increases costs in other ways. First, let’s consider programs like weight management through diet and exercise, smoking cessation and even mental health issues. Making lifestyle changes can make all the difference in reducing the risk of lung and heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Besides saving on health care and ultimately on insurance, keeping employees healthy help reduce the number of sick days and boost productivity.

  • Wellness programs address the effects of stress and provide stress management programs. Reducing stress not only helps improve sleep and improves morale, it also can improve focus, memory and emotional responses.
  • Sharing information with your employees on ways to stay healthier, despite the latest outbreak of influenza or virus, not only helps them feel more reassured, it aids in preventing the spread of the illness.
  • When wellness programs encompass all areas of their life, financial, emotional and physical, you’ll have happier employees, which leads to better customer care, problem solving and creativity.
  • Wellness programs can be a powerful tool to help employees get the most out of life. There’s nothing better than having a happy workforce, unless it’s having a happy, healthy one.

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Does Your Company Have Corporate Wellness Programs

Does Your Company Have Corporate Wellness Programs

Reduce the risk of illness and serious health conditions.

There’s a lot of information, particularly on the internet, about making lifestyle changes that can improve health, but it’s often mingled with false information. Providing your employees with dependable info that can help them make lifestyle changes that lower their risk for chronic disease can make a difference. A well-organized program can help improve overall health by providing guidance that leads to a healthier lifestyle. Whether an employee is looking for guidance or meal plans to help reduce blood pressure or trying to quit smoking, a corporate wellness program provides it. Just lowering diastolic blood pressure by one percent can reduce the risk of heart disease by two to three percent.

Improved productivity is one result of a corporate wellness program.

Whether you’re having a problem with absenteeism and presenteeism—employees coming to work but simply not producing as they should. There is a lot of research showing a direct connection with a wellness program and lower absenteeism. The findings showed that a corporate wellness program can improve employees lifestyle choices, help control risk, aid in lowering blood pressure and glucose levels, improve cholesterol and help with weight control. One Harvard study showed that for every dollar spent on wellness programs by corporations, it helped save $2.73. People under producing cost the company 2 to 3 times more than actual health care does. Studies show that when people had a healthier diet, didn’t smoke and exercise, their productivity was increased significantly.

You’ll build morale of employees when you show you care.

Making your employees feel valued and important is one thing a corporate program offers. There’s nothing better for making morale higher. When people feel good about their employers and jobs, there’s less absenteeism, more productivity and a higher retention rate. Being happy on the job is just as important as eating healthy food. You’ll see a difference in attitude relatively quickly.

  • One study on corporate wellness programs showed that of the seven health risks factors, it improved five of those seven in just one year.
  • The lower your company’s health care cost, the lower the cost of insurance or self-insurance. Various studies have looked at the return on investment and found that for every dollar spent, it saved $3.27 in healthcare costs.
  • Some health conditions can make productivity difficult. Chronic disease, pain and even mental factors like depression affect it dramatically. Employee wellness programs can help relieve those conditions, too.
  • When you have an employee wellness program, you’re telling your employees that you care and that they’re important. That not only helps retention, it aids recruiting good candidates, too.

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Occupational Health And Safety

Occupational Health And Safety

Most people recognize the term, occupational health and safety, and have a vague idea what it encompasses. To keep it simple, it’s the field of study that looks at trends in injuries and illnesses in workers and finds ways to prevent them, whether they’re sweeping regulations or simpler, on-location changes. It’s an extremely broad field that considers toxic substances, workplace violence and even ergonomics, among other factors.

Once occupational health and safety focused solely on jobs that required manual labor, but it’s grown.

Today, all fields of work are covered under occupational health and safety. While it once was primarily focused on safety in the work environment to prevent injury, today it goes beyond that, considering other hazards, both long and short term, that can lead to both physical and/or mental issues immediately or in the future. The statistics are amazing. In the United States, almost three million people have a work related illness or injury every year. Another two million are exposed to hazards that might cause problems in the future. Claims for worker’s compensation are more than a billion dollars each week. Add to those numbers lost wages and indirect expenses, plus the toll it takes mentally and you can see the need for diligence.

When employees feel an employer really cares about their safety, there are huge benefits.

While statistics give us a picture of the problem based on numbers, that’s not all there’s too it if you’re an employer or employee. No matter who they are, every person wants to feel important and that their health and safety is a priority. That’s why a safe work environment inspires happier employees and focusing on safety gets higher productivity with less absenteeism.

Focusing on safety and going above required minimum for safety brings other benefits.

You’ll have a decrease of Worker Compensation claims, which also lowers the cost of premiums. A safe, more pleasant environment is also a draw for top notch employees and worker loyalty. The people that work for you are your most valuable asset. They determine the quality of your product, work or customer relations.

  • Cleanliness is an important part of safety. It helps remove debris that can cause safety issues. Having higher standards and a clean work environment it also improves morale.
  • Programs that use the input from employees to improve safety make workers feel they’re important and often look for ways to make the environment safer.
  • If you work with others in a subcontracting situation, your company’s safety record is important. It shows not only less chance for disruption, but also a well organized and managed company.
  • Showing concern for both the health and safety of employees improves the general public’s view of the company and can even improve business.

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Workplace Safety - How Important Is It?

Workplace Safety – How Important Is It?

workplace safety2Focusing on workplace safety should be a top priority for any employer, or employee, for that matter. Lack of concern cause permanent injury and death, but also costs billions of dollars every year. In 2017, the cost of injuries at the workplace were $161.5 billion. Those costs include medical expense, administrative costs, productivity and wage losses, property damage and employer’s uninsured costs. That’s a huge expense that could be lowered significantly by focusing more on the problem and eliminating as many potential hazards as possible.

Health and safety programs save more than they cost.

Not only is protecting the worker the right thing to do, it makes perfect financial sense. That makes it a win-win for employees and employers. A good program can help lower injury costs, improve attendance and productivity, while also reducing turnover and raising the employees’ morale. If you have a successful health and safety program, it can reduce the cost of injury and illness by as much as 40%, according to statistics from OSHA.

Work place safety programs make workers more aware of potential hazards.

Identifying the potential hazards and making employees aware of them is of key importance. The more employees are aware of surrounding hazards, the more risk is reduced and the potential for precautionary steps to eliminate the hazard are taken. Something as simple as the proper use of tools can make a huge difference and how short cutting procedures or using the wrong tool can create a potential injury or even loss of life.

Stress, whether environmental or otherwise, can be the cause of problems.

Working longer hours for extended periods, job insecurity and excess work are three causes of stress. Sometimes those things occur, but they shouldn’t continuously. That can lead to distraction, which leads to workplace injury. Having an open policy where employees can discuss their issues is one solution to the problem. Lack of a healthy diet, exercise program or other stress management tool can often add to employee safety.

  • Encouraging breaks throughout the day and even a five minute exercise or stretch session every hour or so can help retain focus and reduce accidents at the workplace. So can providing healthy options at the company cafeteria and stress management programs.
  • A program that alerts employees of potential harm or safety issues, which includes a follow-up by employees, so they don’t simply ignore the warning, can help improve on-site safety.
  • Having the right type of safety equipment available, such as hard hats, face masks, safety gloves and earplugs is important. Making using that equipment mandatory can help lower the rate of workplace injury.
  • Something as simple as correct posture is just as important for the office worker as safety gear is to those on a more active worksite. Ensuring the furniture is ergonomic can help reduce workplace injuries and medical expenses.

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a goal without a plan is just a wish - motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

Let Your Goals Change Your Future

a goal without a plan is just a wish - motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

a goal without a plan is just a wish – motivational handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

What you focus on is often what you achieve. It’s like any type of travel, when your focus or destination is a specific city or location, it determines the path you take. In other words, your goals determine what you do on a daily basis and what you do consistently can change your future. If you’re not happy with your health, how you look or how you feel, repeating the patterns of the past won’t change that. When you set a new goal, you also create a new path to achieve that goal.

You also need to be specific about what you want.

You can’t just make vague goals. They have to be specific. Just like traveling, you don’t book tickets on a flight for someplace west or point your car in a direction and keep on driving if you have a job interview in a certain town. You name that town as your destination and then figure out how you’re going to get there. Do you want to lose ten pounds? Have enough energy and stamina to run a mile or walk five? When you make your goal specific, you’re half way to achieving it.

You need to make your goal realistic and provide a time limit.

Maybe you’d like to lose weight and need to shed 90 pounds. A realistic goal would be to lose that weight over eleven months or a year’s time or lose two pounds a week or eight pounds a month. An unrealistic goal would be to shed 90 pounds in a month. A goal also needs to function within a time frame to achieve it. If you don’t set a specific time, you’ll be setting your goal for “some time” and some time never comes. You’ve turned a goal into a wish.

If your goal is to have more energy or lose weight, you need to identify and do the things to achieve it.

Just saying you want to lose weight or increase your energy level isn’t enough. It’s not a goal, but a wish if it isn’t backed by steps that can provide that change. Creating a path or map to achieve your goals is the key. If you want to lose weight, learning healthier ways to eat and starting a program of exercise is the only healthy way to achieve it. Make the steps specific and create a way to measure your progress. If it’s weight loss, it might be the number of pounds you lose each week.

  • Long term goals need to be broken down to multiple short term goals, such as changing a 90 pound weight loss into losing two pounds a week for 45 weeks.
  • Breaking a larger goal down to smaller goals provides more motivation, since you get to achieve those goals quicker. It also can help you make changes if you find your present program isn’t effective.
  • Always track your progress. If you’re exercising, track the number of repetitions you can do, how far you can run or even your measurements. Keeping track helps you see your progress.
  • No matter what your goal in life, fitness or otherwise, it normally requires you change some of your behaviors. There’s a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. That’s true about achieving goals.

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Fitness For The Idle

Fitness For The Idle

lazy idleIf you’re one of those people that think it’s rude to grunt, moan and sweat in the gym or simply don’t like the idea of doing the same boring type of workouts everyday when there’s so much to share on social media, you’ll appreciate these tips to help you achieve fitness. Fitness for the idle isn’t new. People have been hunting for easier ways to look fabulous and feel great without working out for centuries.

Start by working out during a commercial.

Are you a TV watching fanatic or are binge watching your favorite shows? If you have a subscription that has commercials, you’re in luck. There’s no use wasting that time by watching that little clock count down when you can be doing a few exercises. Even if you don’t have commercials, let the intro play every time you watch a new episode and use some of that time to do a few lunges, push ups or planks. Just laying on the couch and stretching your leg straight in the air or doing bicycles as you lay on your back increases your exercise time. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Did you know there are exercises you could be doing while sitting?

Just stand up and you’ll be getting exercise. Going from seated to standing, then back to seated and repeating the process ten times provides good exercise. It makes your butt look better by working the glutes and also works the front of the thighs. Keeping your feet flat on the floor in seated position and with the heels on the floor, pointing your toes toward the ceiling is a good stretch for the calves. Simply pulling your stomach in tight and holding it can strengthen the abdominal muscles.

Lower your blood pressure and build your forearms and grip.

When Dr Ronald Wiley was asked to help the air force prevent loss of consciousness in fighter pilots in the F-16, due to fast acceleration and a G-Force that made it hard for the heart to pump, he developed a hand grip they squeezed. The pilots who did it while flying to maintain consciousness, but something else came from the study. Those who practiced it frequently, raised their blood pressure enough to keep flying, but also lowered their resting blood pressure rates overall after a few weeks. Just squeezing a tennis ball in one hand for 60-90 seconds, then repeat in the other hand. Repeat three times.

  • Doing a plank is easy and you can still watch TV while you do it. Lay on the ground on your stomach with your legs extended. Your forearms should be under your chest. Now lift your body with the weight on your forearms and hold.
  • Isometric exercises, ones that are simply tighten and hold exercises, don’t involve the gym or sweating. While you still need regular exercise, a program of isometrics can be done anywhere and don’t put wear and tear on the joints. It also helps lower blood pressure in the process.
  • While you’re watching TV or at the office, you can do two exercises that will not only help you shape up, but make you feel better. Rolling your head front to back and side to side can help loosen you up and relieve headaches. Lifting one leg as high as you can and pointing your toes is another stretch.
  • Try some ideas to boost your endurance, like parking further from the stores, taking the stairs rather than the elevator and walking to lunch, rather than driving.

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Eat, Drink And Be Fit

Eat, Drink And Be Fit

SaladIf your motto has always been “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow is another day”, maybe you need to modify it a bit. That’s particularly true if that other day has arrived and found you out of shape, overweight and in need of help for your health. It’s time to eat, drink and be fit, while also still being merry. You don’t have to give up everything you love and may even find things you love even more when you consume a diet of healthy food and drink.

Start with what you drink!

Most people hate me when I suggest they give up colas and soft drinks, but it can make a huge difference in your weight and in your health. Studies show that even drinking diet soft drinks can cause fat to build up around your waist. This fat, visceral fat, is the most dangerous type of fat because it crowds internal organs. It’s also the toughest to lose. Try switching to water or if you want to be elegant, try infused water. You can infuse flavor into water with berries and other fruit, herbs and even vegetables, such as cucumber. There are a number of recipes for it that taste delicious, but don’t add health risks or calories.

Start a meal or make a meal of a salad.

Want to upscale your meal and be in with the in crowd? Try salads using more exotic choices than iceberg lettuce, such as radicchio, arugula, kale or spinach. Toss in a few seeds or nuts and some Craisins for added sweetness. Mushrooms are a nice addition, so are mandarin orange slices or grapes. As you can tell, your salad can become quite exotic and delicious when you step out of the normal confines and eat healthier.

What’s for supper?

If finding out what’s for supper (lunch or breakfast) involves ready a menu at a fast food restaurant, it’s time to make a change. You’ll find loads of healthy recipes you can make at home and freeze so all you do is heat them when you’re ready to eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be part of everyone’s dinner and making sure you have a salad of leafy greens to start is important. You’ll be amazed at how good baked, broiled, grilled or boiled food can taste when it’s accented with healthy herbs.

  • While most items on a fast food menu and many on a regular restaurant menu aren’t healthy or low in calories, some are. Find ones that are and sample them, like salads with baked chicken or baked fish.
  • Get rid of processed foods, particularly those that contain added sugar. It’s the toughest part of eating healthy, but worth it. After a few weeks, you’ll really start to taste the sweetness of fresh fruit!
  • Don’t ruin everyone’s good time by bemoaning you can’t eat the food, if you’re at a party that has all junk food. Just don’t overindulge. Find the healthiest food available. Even if there’s none, eating unhealthy food once in a while is still okay.
  • You’ll be amazed at how good healthy food tastes and how much people love it when they actually get great food. I remember taking one of my favorite healthy dishes to a family dinner and everyone asking for the recipe. I didn’t tell anyone about its health benefits. Why spoil their enjoyment?

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Wellness Rediscovery

Wellness Rediscovery

commitmentIt’s easy to know when you’re sick. You may have a fever or show other signs like digestive issues or a sore throat. However, there’s a difference between being sick and not being well. Lack of good health indicates being at your best. Having the energy to get through the day with ease and feeling good. Sometimes, people who seek wellness rediscovery find that once they achieve wellness, they actually realize just how bad they felt before they began the search for wellness.

Wellness begins with making lifestyle changes that help your body run at peak efficiency.

A lot of things affect your overall energy level and how good you feel throughout the day. What you eat, the amount of sleep you had, whether you exercise regularly and even whether you’re hydrated are just a few of the things that make a difference. There’s also a difference between good health and wellness. Achieving wellness focuses primarily on preventing illness and preventive care. Good health is the lack of illness.

Wellness focuses on achieving good health.

Wellness includes more than just physical health. It includes learning how to make choices that keep you healthy and making those changes to achieve your best health, physically, emotionally and socially. In fact, going out of your way to get to know coworkers and appreciate them could be considered an act of wellness. Quitting smoking, eating healthy and regular exercise are all wellness activities.

Rediscover wellness to achieve good health.

There’s a lot you can do to enhance your life and use wellness to make it better. Are you burning the candle at both ends? Do you find yourself stressed out at the end of the day? Are you overweight or out of shape? When you rediscover wellness, you find activities and make decisions to help you achieve good health and address those issues. Regular exercise or even mastering meditation can help with stress.

  • Something as simple as focusing on drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water every day can be part of your wellness program. Mild chronic dehydration can affect your overall performance and good health in many ways.
  • You’ll be surprised at how other factors besides diet and exercise can affect your weight. For instance, lack of sleep increases the production of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, and decreases the amount of leptin, the one that makes you feel full. It’s harder to lose weight without the right amount of sleep.
  • If you aren’t ready to adopt a full-fledged wellness program, start by working on one area and making changes. You can begin by simply eliminating junk food and sugar from your diet until it becomes a habit and then work on the next step.
  • You’ll find lots of information on how to make other wellness changes to your life. Once you experience how much better you feel, you’ll want to do everything possible.

For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim