According to The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, cold and flu season begins at the end of August or early September each year, and runs through the fall and winter seasons. Drastic changes in temperature during this time can weaken your immune system, which makes you and your colleagues much more susceptible to all kinds of illness.
A sick staff leads to time out of work, decreased production and a dreary, unhappy atmosphere in the office—which isn't fun for empoyees or employers.
So, how can your office remain happy and healthy this season? Here are a few tips on how to keep your organization healthy:
1. Be Proactive: Take Charge of Your Health
Maintaining a healthy office is a collective effort that starts with you! Reguarly monitor your individual health and wellness, and make responsible decisions that will reduce your exposure to illness.
Evaluate your choices, identify unhealthy habits and adjust your actions to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
If you're unsure of where you can improve, consider keeping a journal for a few weeks. Take five minutes a day to note the following:
- Hours of sleep.
- Any foods eaten: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
- Exercises completed.
- Any instances that brought you stress or anxiety.
- Your overall mood and energy level that day. Consider a 1-10 scale.
As an employer, consider how your organization impacts your employees ability to remain healthy. Do you enable a work/life balance? Are there ways you can offer healthy food options or reduce stress in the workplace?
Use this information for your overall wellness assessment and take action.
2. Customize Your Solutions: Diet, Exercise and Relax
As you evaluate your current lifestyle, areas for improvement may become more apparent. Look over a week's worth of entries, and ask:
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are the foods you eat on a regular basis the most healthy options available?
- Could you add more exercise into your routine?
- Are you taking part in activities that cause unneccessary stress and anxiety?
Note your leading insights, and adapt routines accordingly. Baby steps are a good start.
Make Better Food Choices
You may be a very healthy eater, or you may find that your choices reflect the health problems you experience. A variety of diet options can help steer any set of taste buds in a better direction, such as:
Look into your options, browse a few healthy recipes and use these options as a guide toward healthier dietary choices. It could be as simple as cutting a few unhealthy items out, choosing to consume leaner meats, or adding more fruits and vegetables.
Start a New Workout Plan
Like your diet choices, exercise plans vary from person to person. Discover what works best for you.
Run, walk, swim, dance your heart out at a Zumba class, or give weight training a try. Test out a few types of exercises, and see which resonates best with you and your particular personality. Once you find a combination of exercises that works well for you, you may also discover a few natural pairings to build on your practice, such as yoga for runners.
Push The Stress Away
Speaking of yoga—take a deep breath. Some situations can naturally bring on stress and anxiety. Take time to realize what is in your control and what is not. For those that are not, you’re doing yourself more harm than good in letting your blood pressure rise.
Build on your existing diet and exercise programs to include those activities that promote a clear and calm mind. For some, it’s a few minutes of careful meditation or a yoga practice; others may best relax with a long run.
Stress-management activities often involve deep breathing exercises that force you to focus on breath and forget all the rest. These will open up and cleanse your mind to a much clearer state as they restore your blood flow to its natural pace.
3. Get a Second Opinion: Consider Specialized Care
While your diet and exercise choices are truly your own, you may decide to seek advice from a professional for a second opinion, or for confirmation that you’re on the right track.
See if friends, family, your existing healthcare providers, or employers know a wellness professional they would highly recommend—such as nutritionists, trainers, or health and wellness coordinators.
At Westfield, we recently introduced an on-site health and wellness coordinator through our partnership with UnitedHealthcare (UHC). Our UHC nurse liaison serves as a resource to our employees, providing them with access to additional education, coaching, and treatment referral.
We believe that employers should look for opportunities to improve overall wellness in the office by offering a variety of health and wellness services/programs. Employees appreciate access to additional resources that contribute to healthier living, and in turn, will likely be happier and more productive in the workplace.
Bring your ideas to the table, and pair it with professional advice to create the lifestyle plan you feel is best. You’ll feel better from the start knowing you can commit to a happier, healthier you.
One of the hardest parts to starting a new routine is making the decision and commitmenting to it. But why wouldn’t you want to put your best foot forward to improve your health, wellness, and happiness? Your future mind and body will thank you.
What measures do you take to lead a healthy lifestyle? Let us know in the comment section below.