The Wonders of Workplace Wellness

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Gummy bears, double-stuffed Oreos, birthday cake, buffalo wings, chocolate chip cookies from Costco, Taco Bell and homemade fudge – yes please!

No I’m sorry, I actually meant to say no thank you (but in my heart I still meant yes).

These are just a few of the goodies I’ve encountered on a regular basis at work … just there for the taking. Sometimes they’re in the break rooms and sometimes I’ve walked back to my office and found a plate of them on my desk. The audacity! I’ve always wondered why no one ever leaves fresh fruit or vegetables in the break room.

I love junk food but as someone on a weight-loss and wellness journey, I had to learn to limit it.

It wasn’t always that way though, I used to indulge in EVERY single slice of birthday cake, EVERY bowl of candy and whatever else made the rounds. In addition to weight gain, I always felt sluggish, sleepy and irritable. I also worked insane hours and never exercised other than walking to and from the train station to my office.

Many of us spend so much time strapped to a computer or cell phone or rushing from this meeting to the next, that it becomes relatively easy to scarf down a bags of Cheetos, drink a gallon of coffee and forget to go outside.

Wellness is a crucial part of workplace productivity and morale, but I believe it’s something that’s often overlooked until an illness or injury occurs.

There are federal organizations that offer their employees access to a workplace wellness program. At my job, we have an Army Wellness Center that employees can visit for a variety of resources. If you’re not sure about your organization, ask your supervisor for more information and then start participating.

Here are a few tips that can help you create your own personal workplace wellness program.

  1. Get away from your desk– Eighty percent of my job involves sitting in front of a computer. I literally had to set an alert on my computer and phone to remind me to get up and go outside for fresh air or at least stand up. I was always racing to return phone calls and emails thinking I was being productive. But guess what? There will always be an email or call somewhere awaiting your attention, so go enjoy the sun.
  2. Learn to manage Stress – Unmanaged stress in the workplace can lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure and weight gain and loss. Scheduling regular breaks throughout the day, laughing, exercising, talking to co-workers/friends, listening to music and getting a good night’s sleep are simple ways to help manage stress levels. One of my favorite tricks is to come in early before everyone else and get settled. I can pray, draft my to-do list and grab a cup of tea before the madness starts.
  3. Eat your food please – Whether you brown-bag or buy your lunch, make sure you eat it (preferably away from your desk). Stop working through lunch. If you don’t have time to take 30 minutes to eat, then there’s a problem. I also pack a few healthy snacks too to prevent me from inhaling a fistful of Oreos and candy bars in the break room.
  4. Be the example– I mentioned earlier about never seeing fresh fruit in the break room, well I went and bought some. I didn’t make a big deal about it or lecture people to eat it. I also started inviting my co-workers to go walking with me. These were simple solutions that can work in any office. Sometimes when we model healthy behaviors, it can quietly encourage others around us to do the same. No bullhorn needed.

An effective personal and workplace wellness program can help reduce stress, build morale, cut health care costs, increase productivity and create long-term healthy behaviors. Decide what works for you and get busy!

Dijon N. Rolle is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Tony R.

Great advice! Thanks for sharing. I think the tip about not working through lunch is very important, not only for eating, but more importantly for taking a moment to unplug and refresh. #4 was great also.