By Stuart G. May, President & CEO
The average American working a full-time job spends about one-third of their waking life each year at work. Whether you work in the food service or industrial industries, outdoors or at a desk, the workplace can be almost like a second home for many of us. So it makes sense that the work environment should be a place where you feel comfortable and healthy.
Yet, 66 percent of adults say their jobs are a source of stress, according to the 2021 Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association (APA). That’s a problem, as a stressful work environment can lead to severe problems, both physically and mentally.
Health issues might include headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can also result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, and contribute to other health conditions, according to the APA.
Here at Lamoille Health Partners, we’re dedicated to serving the community, but we are also part of the community. Your wellness is our wellness. That’s why we’ve committed to our own workplace wellness in our four locations and our corporate offices by using these tips for our everyday health.
Stretch before and during work
Particularly for employees who sit for most of their workday, frequent stretching of the neck, shoulders, back, hips, elbows, forearms and wrists can help reverse the daily stresses of the workplace, according to a report by the Wellness Council of America. Stretching also helps keep blood and nutrients flowing to your body’s working muscles and tissues throughout the workday, preventing fatigue and discomfort for those who are on their feet at work.
Wear the right gear
Personal protective equipment can look different depending on your job, but it’s equally important in all settings because it helps keep you safe from injury. Just as healthcare workers wear masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns to protect themselves and their patients from illness, construction workers should wear helmets, work boots and hearing protection to minimize their risk of injury on the job. Following proper dress code is also crucial for workers in the food service industry to ensure food safety and workplace hygiene.
Drink plenty of water
Most of us already know that drinking water everyday is good for our overall health, but did you know it can also help us be more productive and improve immunity? To help you avoid the temptation of drinking too much coffee or sugary soft drinks during the workday, make sure you keep water handy whenever possible.
Take a walk
A new study by researchers in Sweden shows that taking a three-minute break every half hour to stand up and move around helps decrease some of the negative health impacts from sitting still for too long, including high blood sugar and high cholesterol. To help you get more steps in during your workday, try using the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking the long way to the lunch room. A change of scenery can be a welcome health break in any workplace.
Rest your eyes
Spending long periods looking at screens can strain your eyes and add to screen fatigue. To help reduce eyestrain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends trying the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
Clean a shared space
Particularly amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends that employees routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, clipboards, handrails and doorknobs. Doing so can help reduce illnesses. Reducing clutter around your work environment can increase safety by clearing fire exits and ensuring no falls or trips occur.
Thank a coworker
Decades of research suggest that cultivating gratitude is good for our mental health. Expressing thanks has been shown to help lower stress hormone, reduce depression and even decrease blood pressure. Talk about a healthy habit!
No matter what job you have, you can make workplace wellness part of your overall health goals. Talk to one of our Lamoille Health providers and find out how you can achieve a better quality of life with workplace wellness.