Do's & Don'ts of Professional Wellness
14 May 2015
The following tips are given keeping in mind those who are working in a modern day setting. Stress affects all individuals but what differs is how we, (our bodies and minds) react to it, bear with it, cope, internalize or externalize it and more so, bounce back from it. This article tells you what you should do and what you can avoid in order to be a more effective at work while ensuring your mental & emotional well-being.
1. Take time out for yourself. This includes hobbies.
2. A lot of people say that they don’t have time to indulge in hobbies or exercise but often one has to make time or create a time-slot where to fit in these activities without neglecting other areas. See how you can strike a balance.
3. Make a list of things you can do, like to do, are available near by and easily. Make a judgment call whether you will be able to do those activities consistently over the long term; choose from those you can.
4. Prioritize your tasks instead of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is anxiety provoking for a lot of people and unfortunately that is the popular culture at work today. However for some who are unable to work in this way, it causes fatigue, inability to meet deadlines, distractions and avoidance of tasks.
5. Focus on one task at a time. Even if you are tempted to shift in between tasks, do something similar instead of going on Facebook or any social media for example. A drastic change is more of a distraction than shifting between similar tasks. For example, you may choose a routine task at work when you feel like you have been focusing on one thing too long and are getting burnt out.
6. Assess in what environment you are able to work best or most creatively and strive to create that kind of environment. For e.g., if you are distracted by noise or music and need complete silence, try using noise resistant headphones or ear plugs when you are on an important task.
7. Assess at what time you are able to work best or most creatively and get most of your important work done then. For e.g.,mornings are the best time to memorize and take in new information. If you are preparing for a presentation, morning will be the best time. However, this is dependent on your preference and work hours.
8. If you have a job that requires you to sit for long hours make sure you get up every 40 minutes, walk around, stretch your arms and legs if possible, rotate your ankle and neck muscles.
9. You should also monitor your posture while you sit and be aware how you sit; when you catch yourself slouching you can correct your posture. It’s best to sit straight with the spine erect for as long as possible.
10. Drink plenty of water. Keep a bottle of water next to you or on your table so as to stay hydrated while you work and during the course of the day. This is especially for those who work outdoors or in the sun or the work requires a lot of activity.
1. Drinking too much tea or coffee throughout the day can cause restlessness, sweating, increased heartbeat and difficulty falling asleep at night. These drinks have the ability to counteract the body’s natural processes and circadian rhythm. Look for other alternatives like green tea, jasmine tea or fresh juices especially in the evening.
2. Forced sleep deprivation using drinks like coffee and red bull is very common among students and professionals these days. It has an adverse effect on the heart and overall health. Side effects include (but are not limited to) feeling very disoriented and ‘wired’ the next day.
3. Food intake should also be monitored. Breakfast is a must so as to be energized for the day. Rice or heavy foods make you sleepy so have a soup and salad bowl or something light before attempting tasks that need you to be alert instead of butter, ghee and rice products.
4. Try car-pooling, using office transport or taking the bus or metro if the drive to office and back is too tiring.
5. If you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle you will be groggy but if you wake up at the end of a cycle you will feel more refreshed. Sleep cycle is subjective and varies from person to person. There are apps and assessments done to measures your sleep cycle based on movement, sound and other factors. There are also alarms preprogrammed to ring when your sleep cycle concludes. You can see if this helps you at all. A more thorough and clinical assessment will of course have more concrete results in case your issue is severe.
6. Cigarette breaks are very convenient during work but highly counterproductive and time consuming.
7. Procrastination and pushing things to the deadline is anxiety provoking for some people. However there is a small chunk that finds this stress, motivating to get work done. You can decide which bracket you fall into. Of course, if you feel like you are unable to handle the stress or produce poor quality of work under pressure, this option may not be for you.
8. When you leave work, analyze what sort of tensions you have had so as to not vent out on your partner. It is important to do this before you get home and not carry it home. Or even if you’ve had a bad day at work, make sure to communicate it to your partner/family/people you live with, in a way that it does not offend them or make them too low.
Additionally, there are steps that an organization or a business can take in order to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of their employees:
1. Policy against sexual harassment and provisions to report wrong-doing, anonymously.
2. Team building exercises
3. Regular Seminars for employee development
5. Performance assessment and reward and appreciation atleast annually
6. Counselors available for mental health needs
7. Regulating timing: Most companies do not encourage more than a 40 hour work week. More hours does not always translate to higher productivity at work.
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