According to the International Labor Organization (2020), there are 2.3 million men and women workers all over the world who succumb to work-related injuries, accidents, or diseases annually; this is responsible for over 600 deaths happening every day. Occupational accidents accumulate to at least 340 million while 160 million are victims of work-related illnesses each year. The European Agency For Safety and Health at Work (2019) mentioned that work-related diseases include skin diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, work-related cancer, and stress and mental health disorders. Among all these, there is a striking increase in the number of workers suffering from work-related stress, anxiety, or depression (or SAD). Statistical data from Health and Safety Executive (2020) mentioned that the total number of cases alike was 828,000 which is significantly higher than the previous years at a prevalence rate of 2,440 individuals per pool of 100,000 workers. In fact, SAD accounted for 51% of all work-related ill cases. It was also found the SAD is more prevalent among public service industry employees. This includes health care workers, academic teachers, public service professionals, and all other careers from within those industries. All these individuals showed higher levels of stress, compared to all careers, which were entailed by rigid work schedules and deadlines, overload of responsibility, and lack of managerial support. Also, the national health issue on the emergence of COVID-19 also contributed to the impact on work-related ill-health data.
With job functions continuously getting even more challenging, especially in these trying times of the pandemic, many companies have been obliged by the circumstance to lay off workers. This meant, unfortunately, that those who remained are added a hefty burden of tasks to still keep company operations running while employee payroll remains the same and the cost to operate remains at a bare minimum. Imagine spending roughly one-third of your professional adult lives within the four walls of your office and surviving on a daily basis, stress can really get its way to you, and it heavily affects not only your physical but also your mental health. Fortunately, more and more companies are recognizing and imposing the practice of self-care, an advocacy that needs to be successfully committed to by their employees. Because, if workers are down, there is no way that the productivity level will go up. Companies craft both mental and physical fitness strategies to decrease employee attrition and thus achieve increased productivity rates, healthy discourse or engagement, and therefore overall success.
Certainly, keeping yourself fit and healthy is now also part of your job. As an employee, you are highly encouraged to establish self-care routines. Self-care is defined by the World Health Organization as efforts you should do for yourself to establish and maintain health as well as to prevent yourself from being ill. In other words, take good care of yourself. You can file a leave to enjoy a weekend of traveling, go camping, finish a book, start a new hobby, join a fitness class or set up a small business. Things you may find worthy of your time, give you a renewed perspective towards work and make you learn new things. There are plenty of ways that can be your roadway to being fit and healthy. It usually just involves choosing the healthier option and you can have the best of both worlds. Maybe instead of going to work in a car, try walking. Make use of AirPods and Spotify to entertain yourself while doing the minimal cardio. For lunch, instead of having heavy steak and mashed potatoes, some lean protein and greens might just be what you need. Do not make the mistake of eating too heavy and then, later on, feel bloated and lazy to perform work after lunch. Happy hour after work can still be a thing too, but perhaps you want to skip the beer and be posh enough to hold a wine glass with finesse. Healthier options do not always have to be that boring.
Employers take this advocacy seriously and provide it in multidisciplinary ways. No vendo Fridays are common wherein they discourage the use of vendo machines that you toss your last dollar in for a bottle of soda. Clean canteens are also popular in which only healthy meals are offered by the workplace lunch lady. Water breaks are often assisted by the positioning of water stations on almost every corner of the workplace. Partnerships with fitness and wellness businesses like yoga, CrossFit, and gyms are part of your incentive and benefits packages. Mushrooming of advocacy activities like bike-to-work days, sports festivals, quit the sticks, biggest loser, and 30-day fitness challenges have been lauded in various work cultures. All these are made fun, interesting, and sticking to the ultimate objective of keeping employees healthy.
As an employee, take advantage of perks provided by your employer that are suggestive of self-care. You only say you do not need them but you really do. Acknowledging the need is nearly half the journey to staying mentally and physically fit. Take your leaves and off days with utmost responsibility by recharging, unwinding, and relaxing. Exhaust your medical, dental, vision care, and even psychological care allowances. Participate in social gatherings and maintain friendly relationships with your colleagues. Through this, you are not only building a network of friends but are also being one with your company’s goal of valuing life more than just the work itself. Stress and other illnesses are truly inevitable. But by knowing how to practice self-care makes it easier for your immune system to do its job of protecting you.
Keeping an active lifestyle, drinking your vitamins and minerals, having complete and quality rest, staying hydrated, and eating healthy — are your keywords to success. Taking time to take care of your own needs makes your clients and your organization happy. If you want to get a piece of advice for health, physical or mental needs which you find hard to meet, you can always excuse yourself from work and reach out to someone who can help. Times can get tough but when you do things to keep the doctor away, you can make your life become more meaningful.
About the author: Regi Publico is a full-time writer based in Manila who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge through every article that she writes.