Amy Eksteen

Wellness Series Part 7

I can’t believe we are already on part 7 in our Wellness series this week!
The wellness dimension that we will be discussing today is an aspect of our well-being that plays such an important part in our overall health and quality of life – our Occupational Wellness.

Our careers, the work that we do as well as our overall working experience are all important aspects in our lives. Our occupations are meant to be meaningful, enjoyable and are meant to align with our personal values, personalities, talents and skills (Iowa State University).

Occupational Wellness is about helping one to find a balance between work and leisure time. It also involves addressing and learning about different topics such as workplace stress, burnout, the value of good communication skills, conflict management skills and how to build happy and healthy working relationships with colleagues (to name a few) (Iowa State University and UCDavis).

Occupational Wellness is said to be largely based on our outlook and attitude towards our work. We owe it to our overall health and outlook on life to do what we love and love what we do. When we do what we are meant to do, while also feeling as if we are contributing to the world and using our unique gifts, it can help us to find a sense of purpose and meaning as well as experience positive mental and emotional effects. Our occupational health therefore begins relating directly to our other wellness dimensions (Iowa State University).

Occupational Wellness ultimately encourages us to strive for work and/or a work environment that is healthy and satisfying. We spend a big portion of our lives dedicating our time and effort to our work, therefore the way that we experience and feel about our work and working environment has a direct affect on our overall health and well-being (UCDavis).

Prioritising our occupational wellness therefore allows us to learn about and explore different career options/opportunities in the process – it is important for us to discover different occupational opportunities, specifically which opportunities will personally be the most beneficial to us. This is important because choosing our careers is a very important life choice. Our occupational wellness dimension, in particular, helps us to acknowledge the importance of satisfaction, enrichment and meaning through our work, throughout our lives (UCDavis).

Looking after and developing our occupational wellness can also help us to communicate our values, views and opinions in the place that we work, helping to define and refine who we uniquely are as individuals. This also allows us the chance to have that individuality recognised and appreciated. Our occupational health, as a whole, can allow us the space to develop our talents that can have long-lasting personal and professional benefits and rewards (UCDavis).

Signs of Occupational Wellness:

  • Doing work that you find inspiring and interesting
  • Understanding how to balance personal life with work life
  • Working in a way that fits into your personal learning/working style 
  • Communicating and collaborating positively with others
  • Working well independently and with a team
  • Feeling positively challenged by your work/workplace
  • Feeling good about the work you are doing or have accomplished (University of New Hampshire).

Employee Wellness is a significant aspect of occupational wellness – it is vital for individual and company success. Employee wellness directly affects workplace culture, resources and productivity. How employees feel, mentally and physically at work, is crucial for business growth, stability, strength and sustainability. It also helps employees to stay loyal to their workplace and motivated about their work (Weinhold, 2018).

Employee Wellness is also about reducing absenteeism from work by addressing factors such as stress and burnout that can cause various mental and physical problems due to overworking or having a toxic work environment. Employee health aims to promote healthier lifestyles and attitudes, at home and at work. It prioritises the employee, while encouraging choices that will benefit them personally and the atmosphere/environment in which they work. It ultimately looks at health promotion and prevention of illness – it helps employees to realise that they have control over their own health and that they have the power of choice in their personal life and in their work life, which often continuously affect each other (Weinhold, 2018).

Workplace Wellness ideas:

  1. Encourage connection/building of relationships between employees
  2. Encourage skills like preparedness, organisation and time management
  3. Encourage rest
  4. Encourage relaxation and meditation
  5. Encourage physical activity and physical movement
  6. Encourage breaks
  7. Encourage pets
  8. Encourage greenery and aspects of nature in the workplace
  9. Encourage personal development and self-awareness
  10. Encourage prioritising mental health and talking to a counsellor (Glassdoor team, 2017)

15 ways to prioritise Occupational Wellness:

  1. Create career goals – short and long-term goals
  2. Find various sources of motivation
  3. Prioritise time to relax before, during and after work
  4. Create connections with your co-workers
  5. Find ways to talk about mental health/the importance of occupational wellness with your colleagues
  6. Attend workshops or read about the signs of burnout
  7. Eat lunch with one of your co-workers outside
  8. Have team building exercises with the people that you work with
  9. Share something encouraging at staff meet-ups or at meetings
  10. Prioritise acts of self-care when you identify that work may start becoming overwhelming for you
  11. Seek help from a counsellor if it is needed
  12. Write out a list of positive things about your job
  13. Read books/attend workshops that can help develop your talents, skills and coping strategies in the workplace
  14. Add plants and lots of light into your work space
  15. Have and encourage healthy lunches and snacks (University of New Hampshire)

Occupational Wellness self-care goal setting: Think of one main, long-term goal you would like to focus on in your personal self-care plan. For example: “I would like to find more of a balance between my work life and personal life”
Now, think of two short-term goals/acts of self-care that you can incorporate into your day-to-day life in order to reach your main goal. For example: “I will only spend 1 hour after working hours finishing work from the day or preparing for work the next day as I will dedicate the rest of my time to my personal life and I will take some time during my working hours to relax”

Occupational Wellness challenge for the week:

  • Monday: Write out a motivational quote for the week and stick it up in your office or somewhere you will be able to see it often
  • Tuesday: Sit and have lunch with your co-worker/s
  • Wednesday: Stretch for 5 minutes during your lunch time at work today
  • Thursday: Think about 1 short term and 1 long term career goal
  • Friday: Prioritise an act of self-care after work today
  • Saturday: Read through this blog posts self-reflection questions
  • Sunday: Think of 1 thing you would like to accomplish at work for the upcoming week

Self-reflection Questions:

  • What did I just read about?
  • Do I feel as if I am currently looking after my occupational wellness?
  • Do I feel as if I have balance between my work and personal life?
  • Am I showing any signs of burnout?
  • Am I able to cope with stress during working hours?
  • Did I learn anything from this blog post?
  • Do I ever feel overwhelmed by my work?
  • Am I satisfied with the work I do?
  • Do I experience more positive emotions than negative emotions during working hours?
  • How did this blog post make me feel?
  • Do I have healthy working relationships?
  • Do I get to show and develop/refine my skills and talents at work?
  • Do I feel recognised and appreciated at work?
  • How can I begin to prioritise my occupational wellness into my personal self-care plan?
  • What can I keep in mind for the future from this blog post?

I hope that my readers have enjoyed spending some time every week reflecting on each wellness dimension, their goals and maybe trying out a bit of our challenge ideas here and there.

Prioritising acts of self-care are so important for our minds, bodies and spirits! We all deserve to be happy and healthy.

Next week we will be discussing part 8 of our Wellness series – our Intellectual Wellness!

Until next week xx

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