WellBeing has been a buzz word for many years and many business leaders just skim over the basics to tick a box on their company profile while other companies take it very seriously and really implement a plan that increases the true wellbeing of their employees.
The main reasons we feel a health and wellbeing program should be embedded into the culture of a business is that it really does increase the productivity, lessens sick days and decreases stress levels so “Burn Out” is preventable which in turn is a nurturing and motivation factor that helps with staff retention and positive company culture.
The 4 main pillars that need to be looked at are nutrition, exercise, work/life balance and mindfulness with sub categories of sleep, motivation and self-development, meditation and fit living in general.
Pillar 1 – Nutrition
57% of UK women are now over-weight whilst 67% of UK men are now over weight, up from 48% for women and 57% for men just 10 years ago!
For simple tips on Nutrition:
- Drink plenty of water – You’ve heard it before: we’re composed of 70 to 80% water – it’s true! Water plays a myriad of roles, so aim to drink around 1.5 – 2 litres a day.
- Eat plenty of fruit and veg – High in fibre, essential vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants, fruit and veg are without doubt the healthiest foods on the planet!
- Buy local produce – Not only does this support the local economy, but the produce is likely to be fresher and richer in nutrients than produce shipped half way round the world!
- Try a fish dish – As well as providing us with nucleic acids needed for our cells, fish naturally provide oils that neutralise harmful free radicals in the body.
- Cut down on dairy – Research shows that cows’ milk – while extremely good for baby cows – can be acidic to humans causing allergies, acid reflux and weight gain. ‘But what about calcium?’ Don’t worry, we get it from the same place that cows get it – leafy green plants – for cows the plants are grass, for us they’re green leafy vegetables!
- Cut down on sugar – Sugar can damage health because it imbalances the levels of minerals in the body and suppresses the immune system.
- Cut down on saturated fats – Equally destructive are saturated fats and oils, such as those in animal fat, as well as ones in junk, processed and fast foods. The end product of their digestion is free radicals, which can cause a disease of civilisation like heart disease, obesity, diabetes or cancer.
- Avoid food additives – The majority of additives provide no nutritional benefits, just cosmetic ones like changing the colour or taste of food, and they can actually be quite harmful.
- Cut down on salt – We get all the sodium we need from a balanced diet. Unfortunately, the extra that we get from prepared foods is unnecessary and can increase blood pressure and the chance of a stroke.
- Strive for an alkalising diet – The body performs best when slightly alkaline (a pH of 7.4), but most Western diets contain an abundance of acid-forming foods like cakes, chocolate, crisps and fast food. Try to consume alkalising food like fruit, vegetables, millet, cracked nuts and seeds.
Pillar 2 – Exercise
Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
- up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- a 30% lower risk of early death
- up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- up to a 30% lower risk of depression
- up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
These statistics alone are enough to inspire me to get out of bed 15 earlier each morning to exercise!
Choose an exercise that you like so you’ll happily add it to your diary so you can do everything possible to avoid some of the above mentioned illnesses.
Pillar 3 – Work/Life Balance
Whilst occasional stress is normal for every job, burnouts are certainly not. According to The Help Guide, burnouts occur “when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands”. The negative effects of a burnout impact every area of your life, including your personal and social life. Work life balance is important as it allows you to separate work and home, meaning that the stress of work should stay at work, and not follow you outside of office hours. Allowing work stress to infiltrate your home life is one of the primary indicators that you are not achieving a work life balance.
Pillar 4 – Mindfulness
Mental health problems at work are common. At least one in six workers is experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression according to the charity MIND.
You might not be talking about it, because mental health is still a taboo subject. And many people feel scared and confused about confronting the issue at work. But there are small, simple steps you can take to look after yourself and make your workplace mentally healthier.
There are many statistics that support the implementation of a corporate wellbeing program within any company whether it being a start-up with 1-5 employees to a global brand with thousands of employees some facts are staged above in each pillar which under writes one main fact that we as Britons spend a total of 12 years at work during our lifetimes, and 15 months of that will be over and above regular contracted hours.
But for the equivalent of four years, we will be talking on the phone at the office, say researchers at London Metropolitan University.
So with that in my mind, why not enjoy every minute of your career and take care of yourself during this time so we can also enjoy our lives which we cherish with our families and friends.