According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a healthier workforce delivers enhanced performance and measurably lowers healthcare costs. Organizations that take steps to implement health and wellness initiatives not only slow the rise of their health insurance costs but provide the added benefit of improving the health and lives of their employees.
As a somatic-movement educator, neurofascial specialist, and manual therapist, as well as the creator of the MELT Method, I offer few tips for employees and employers to follow to start their wellness journey.
Tips to Offer Employees
- Walk outside first thing in the morning before heading off to work and if you can, open a window at work.
- Try not to look at your phone for the first thirty minutes when you wake up. Instead, spend 10 minutes thinking about what you’re grateful for and what you want to accomplish in your day. Set an intention.
- Sip water frequently throughout the day; don’t guzzle it. Consistent water intake helps you maintain cellular absorption and hydration.
- Once an hour, get up off your chair, step away from your desk, and reach your arms overhead, fingertips toward the ceiling, lift your heels off the ground and take a full breath into the stretch, then on your exhale, release your arms into a swing as you bend your knees and flex your hips. Repeat this 3-4 times to improve circulation, increase your heart rate and reduce tension along your backside from sitting.
- Get a proper amount of sleep. Sleep is the ultimate recovery, and quality and quantity matter. Use a sleep mask to block out any lights and improve REM and deep sleep cycles. Turn off the electronics at least an hour before bed as the blue light emitted from our devices signals the brain to wake up like sunshine; so, help your brain wind down before bedtime by doing gentle breathing, focusing inward and easing yourself into a restful night’s sleep.
Tips for Employers
- Do a step challenge for your team and offer extra vacation days to the top three winners.
- Distribute company water bottles to encourage hydration.
- Provide flexible hours so employees can take 30 minutes to recharge and be more productive during their workday.
- Offer digital wellness programs and exercise classes to employees.
On another note, being sincere and offering an open-door policy to your employees is vital to ensuring your employees feel like their employer sees them as a person and cares about their well-being. Employees will see the efforts and appreciate that their company is taking steps to better their workforce in every capacity.