Monday, December 24, 2012

Not Happy at the Workite - Make Friends

No friends at work? It may be costing you your health and your company's bottom line.

If you have friends at work you might be thinking how weird is that?  Not as weird as you think. You may not even think about how having those friends at work impacts your day or how the work gets done.  If this is you then you are in the 20% - 30% who like their job.  Work is a pleasant activity, an opportunity to see those you like and care about; your friends there waiting for you. You may even look forward to going to work to be surrounded by this positive work environment.

For most people this is not the case.  Research shows 60% - 80% are unhappy with where they work.  If you are in this group, you may be wondering what it's like to have friends at work.  Or if not friends to just like those your spend most of your waking hours with. You dread getting up in the morning to go to work. You would rather do pretty much anything else than to have to go into where you work one more day. You may even be thinking if a better job with nicer people came along you would take it. This thinking is not just bad, it's toxix for you and your company.

Why is this important?

Research done during the Blue Zone Project demonstrates one of the keys to longevity and vitality is having close social contacts ie. friends.  The value of friends included in strong social network can not be underestimated in impacting your personal health and wellness. If you are wondering where you stand on vitality and what else you can do check out the Vitality Compass on the Blue Zone Project website. These days people are working longer hours, skipping vacations and working during personal time making it harder and harder to establish social connections outside the workplace.

Harvard Business Review in Why Friends Matter at Work and Life  reported "once you're on the job, having a best friend at work is a strong predictor of success. People might define "best" loosely (think of this as kindergarten where you can have more than one "best" friend), but according to a Gallup Organization study of more than 5 million workers over 35, 56% of the people who say they have a best friend at work are engaged, productive, and successful while only 8% of the ones who don't are."

Financial Times online in  Friendship in the Workplace sited Jessica Pryce-Jones, author of Happiness at Work, says: “Friends can help you be more productive because people tend to achieve more when they feel supported.”

To have someone at work you feel comfortable in sharing your frustrations, disappointments and problem solve difficult situations with your co-workers and even your boss minimizes feelings of disappointment, sadness and isolation in the work place.

Having friends at work, fuels job satisfaction, knowing you make a difference in the success of your company. In short, people who have friends at work, want to go to work, are committed the quality of their work, engaged in the company goals and are loyal.

As an employer your goal of creating a culture of wellness for your employees includes fostering healthy supportive friendships at work. It will not only produce healthy, product employees, it will positively impact your companies bottom line.

Your partner in health,

Health Consultant

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stressed Out? Balance Work and Live

Just turn on the news and you'll be hearing about the latest company down-sizing, right-sizing, slow down, re-organizing, down economy or as the financial advisers say, “economic winter.”  What about you?   With all this bad news and the demand of work, you may be burned out –possibly physically and mentally exhausted.  With constant worry, increased responsibilities and more work - life becomes frantic.   Our minds become heavy with fatigue and dizziness.  This is enough not only to make you feel tired, but make you sick…really sick.

The connection between your perception of stress and your body's ability to fight off disease is so strong; some experts think stress can be "deadly".  So you're right, your job is “killing you” and now we can prove it!  Feel better? 

Stress can be different things to different people.  For most of us stress is commonly caused by a feeling of too much work, too little time, financial loss, and feeling out of control all of which contribute to thoughts which can make you feel depressed.  Everyone suffers from stress at some point in his or her life, but the real challenge is to overcome and defeat the stress developing inside you, and not let it kill you.

Stress is connected to chronic ailments such as back pain, headaches, and fatigue.  Chronic diseases such as the flu, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, GERD just to name a few, are all impacted by long-term stress. 

This is what stress feels like when it's developing inside you:

Anxiety - Gives you a feeling of nervousness often causing tension, like the fear something serious is going to happen. A feeling if impending doom. Anxiety over time can cause headaches, muscle stiffness, upset stomach, eating disorders, and constipation or diarrhea.

Fatigue - A feeling of extreme physical or emotional tiredness. This is the “sick and tired” feeling and “too tired” to get things done. Extreme fatigue can cause mental fog, preoccupation, sleepiness, a feeling of not being “100 percent”.

Depression – Mild depression is a mental or emotional mindset of perpetual hopelessness and unhappiness.   When feeling depressed it’s hard to get up in the morning, trouble sleeping or too much sleeping, muscle and joint pain, headaches, fatigue, sadness, lethargy, feelings of worthlessness, a loss of interest in work and social has great information on understanding depression. 

Stress - Stress impacts your ability to work too.  When you are stressed, you may be less productive, more accident prone, make more mistakes, get sick, or miss work.  Remember the last time you worried about that big project?  Your head was pounding, back aching, and then developed a cold due to all the stress?  Well here are six tips you can implement in your life to reduce stress and consequently, avoid those sick days. Check out this stress calculator to rate your stress level.

In fact depression which is an extreme form of stress and fatigue including work - life imbalance significantly impacts your health, your employees health and the health of your company. When considering a worksite wellness or corporate wellness program for your employees be sure to address this issue. 

6 Tips to Reduce Stress and Live Better

1. Modify your work pattern.
Take breaks, volunteer more and reduce the hours you work. 

2. Change what you're thinking. 
Change your attitude by adding exercise such as meditation or yoga. Evaluate what concerns you, ask for the help of your co-workers, and seek medical attention.

3.  Eat right.   
If bad foods give bad health, then good food gives good health.  Simple!  Good nutrition is vital for your mind and body.  Stay away from fatty foods and fast foods; instead try to eat whole foods in their natural form: fresh, raw, and organic whenever possible.  To maintain good health, avoid sugar, salt and processed foods. Take whole food supplements which are medically approved, clinically researched, and are healthy for the body.  Seek the help of a health coach, dietitian or other medical professional. We recommend Juice Plus+ Whole Food.

4. Add an activity. 
Money can buy fat, but can't burn it.  The minimum recommended amount is 30 minutes a day.  Start by increasing your time walking.  Exercise makes the body secrete the natural painkillers, endorphins; and also makes you feel better.  Increasing your activity helps keep you healthy and increases your body’s ability to combat diseases.Check out American Heart Association worksite START program.

5.  Get proper sleep.    
The National Sleep Foundation says when you sleep, your body heals itself.  Lack of sleep not only decreases concentration at work, it also reduces the ‘coping ability’ of your body and lowers immune function. 

6. Find someone to talk to.    
People who hold in their feelings are at higher risk of developing more ailments and diseases.  Find someone you can trust to share your feelings with; perhaps a co-worker, family member, friend or therapist. When you share how you're feeling with someone else, you create the opportunity to feel less alone.  You become more connected to others around you, consequently, becoming less stressed.

Your partner in health,

Cindy Cohen RN, Wellness Consultant

Small Business Tips: Increasing Your Financial Literacy

How is your company]s financial wellness? What is it anyways?  For employers,  financial wellness  is a program or set of programs desi...