As I mentioned in my article “One of the Best Health Tips of All-Time”, changing your environment plays a key role in your health and it makes sense to change the environment of places you spend the most time to be healthier. One place many of us spend a lot of time is at work. Many people for 40 hours a week or more. That’s a good chunk of time. If one is spending about 8 hours a day there, that’s one-third of a day, and that’s more than likely not including lunch, so it’s a little longer.
Now imagine if you don’t like your job or you work a dangerous job, I know some of you already do so imagination isn’t necessary but that may make work even less of a healthy environment adding more stress and unhappiness. Too much of either, over time, will wear you out on all levels. I want to help you lower your stress levels, help you feel safe, and more in your workplace. So today, I going to cover several ways to make your workplace a healthier environment for a healthier you. Mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Ask for a Better Schedule
Don’t be afraid to ask for a change in shift if you’re shift doesn’t allow you to take care of yourself or enables you from taking care of your loved ones which would ultimately stress and tire you out.
Delegate or Ask for Help
Ask for help when your workload is too much or delegate some work if possible. You may not have to do it all alone.
Workout During Lunch
If the job has an onsite gym, go work out during your break, before or after work. This may be the only time you have available to exercise if busy once home.
Utilize Human Resources
Utilize human resources to help explore your options if something seems out of line at work or just to find out what is available. Some jobs offer health incentives and/or perks for their employees.
Use your Employee Assistance Program
Make use of your job’s employee assistance program which is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems (1).
Don’t Mix Home and Work
Keep work and home separate. Don’t bring negative energy into the workplace especially if it already has its own issues. Work can be a place of refuge for you.
Confront Problems Head On
Don’t let workplace problems build up, you don’t want to be a slow-burning stick of dynamite, setting off a huge explosion when finally blowing up. Address issues in a time-efficient matter. Report people if need be, you get paid to work, not deal with nonsense.
Pace yourself when working, know when you need to pick up the pace and slow it down. Don’t burn yourself out doing too much and don’t fall behind doing too little.
Take Your Break
Take your break, you work a certain amount of time, and by law you get a break. Don’t take your breaks for granted. It’s a time to decompress and reset to get ready for the remainder of the shift. Make yourself unavailable at that time if you can unless it’s an emergency.
Keep Unhealthy Foods Out of your Work Area
Stop keeping candy and other junk food at your desk or workspace. Stash some fruit or nuts instead. Better yet, pack your food to bring to work. Get yourself a nice lunch box or consider getting a micro-fridge for yourself to keep food in if your job doesn’t a fridge for you to use. Control the food in your environment.
Offer Healthy Alternatives for Work Parties/Meetings
Be the change in your workplace to bring about a healthier atmosphere. Suggest fruit instead of donuts at morning meetings. Start a lunchtime power walk group. Be proactive about a healthy work environment.
Be Selective in Your Interactions
Some people hate it when I say this but oh well. You come to work to do work primarily, making friends is not at the top of the priority list. Know the difference between friends and associates, allies, and enemies; I think you get the picture. Keep those stress levels low by minimizing your interactions with people who are negative and increasing those with people who are positive.
Sometimes, an employee assistance program will offer this service a on limited basis for free. Don’t be afraid to seek it out. Suffering in silence is not the way to go, talk to some about what’s going on at work.
Take Time Off
I made the mistake of not doing this often enough, taking time off from work. If you have sick leave or annual leave, use it. You worked your tail off to get it so why not? A vacation or doctor’s appointment is not the only time to use leave. Mental health days a needed.
Be Honest with Yourself
Be honest with yourself and ask yourself “am I the reason my work environment is not a health-conducive environment”? Question yourself about what you could have done differently to get a more favorable result.
Get Another Job
There are times in life when no matter what you do, things will not change so you have to change something. That thing may be to get a new job altogether. I’ve been here and that’s exactly what I did and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I gave the place plenty of opportunities to incentivize me from working hard, being reliable, going above and beyond; but nothing changed so I found another job. I have a better commute, paycheck, benefits, work environment, and more as a result.
Working in a toxic, unsafe, unprofessional, and unfulfilling job will not be the type of environment to be conducive to your health and well-being. All the tips I mentioned above can be used to help lighten your burden. Don’t work somewhere for years that don’t invest in their employee’s health and well-being. No place is perfect but they should be working toward it. You could be part of the solution by being the catalyst by doing your part.
Be sure to check how to make these other environments in your life healthy:
Be Healthy, Be Balanced, Be You