5 Simple Steps to help you look after you better

5 top tips to look after yourself at work

This is nothing new, but I hope some reminders and easy ideas that can be quickly and easily introduced into your working day that will make you feel better.

  1.  Drink more water
    How many cups of tea or coffee do you have a day?
    Could you trade 1 or 2 of those cups for a glass of water?
    Water in the human body is like oil in a car, it keeps everything moving.
    The human body is made up of 60% water, but the brain its self is actually made up of about 73% water, so staying hydrated is key to helping think clearly and ensure the brain can function to the maximum capacity.
    Don’t like water? Add fruit to help flavour the water or use a water infuser bottle; try summer berries, lemon, orange or mint and strawberry.
    It’s about making a conscious effort to start with to then make it become a habit.
  2.  Leave your desk
    Who leaves their desk at lunchtime?
    3 in 5 employees eat dinner at their desk and many employees only taking 15 minutes out of their entitled break. Take a break, by sitting at your desk to eat it only encourages you to continue working ‘I’ll just finish this’ or ‘I’ll just quickly look at that’. Give yourself a break, no more al-desko it’s time for al-fresco!
  3.  Get some fresh air and/or sunshine
    A lot of workplaces and offices can be stuffy or have air conditioning which can be dry and dehydrated; try getting out to for 5 minutes fresh air, it can feel amazing even when it is wet and cold.
    Also getting out for a short 20-minute walk can help release endorphins the happy, feel-good hormone. That’s 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back from your desk or office, when you think of it like that it’s not far but it could make you feel a whole lot better.
    Also when getting out and some fresh air it gets us into the sunshine/daylight, where it allows our bodies to absorb Vitamin D which helps strengthen bones, teeth and muscles, but it is also linked to topping up our immune system.
  4. Breakfast
    The word breakfast spells out its own meaning, Break Fast to break the fasting of overnight, the first meal of the day.
    We always hear ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but it really is.
    Earlier we mentioned about water being the oil of the body well now let’s add some fuel. Food is what gives your body the power to function and it is key to do this first thing in the morning, get your body powered up for the rest of the day.
    Do you ever notice if you skip breakfast your body starts craving sugar later in the day? It’s looking for fuel to sustain your energy.
  5.  Try to eat smarter
    Your body needs all sorts of nutrients to keep it functioning and the best way to do this is yet another cliché…Eat the Rainbow!
    By eating lots of different coloured foods it means you are getting different nutrients in your diet, therefore feeding your body lots of vitamins and minerals it needs to help it function to best of its ability.
    Also since we ‘eat with our eyes’ having colourful food on a plate makes it more attractive to eat, so try to get creative and colourful with your lunch.

4 of these tips could possibly be achieved in your lunch break; instead of eating at your desk why not go for a walk to a local shop (2 & 3), grab yourself something colourful to eat (5) and some water to drink (1). I wonder how you would feel if you start to make this your new lunchtime routine rather then staying at your desk?

Business leaders: who’s looking after YOU?

Business leaders: who's looking after you

Wow, I didn’t think I would need to write this blog myself, but apparently, I do as I couldn’t find any relevant blogs to link to.

As leaders of a business or a team, you can easily be forgotten by your employees/team members and by yourself. We can focus so much on looking after our employees, team members, suppliers, and customers that we forget about ourselves. But where would your customers and employees be if you aren’t there to steer the ship? Where would the business you’re working so hard to nurture be if you aren’t there? Yes, an organisation can survive in the very short term without its leaders, but ultimately every business needs effective senior management in order to thrive.

There is a lot of focus on workplace wellbeing and looking after employees, but we should not overlook the leaders when implementing these programmes. The wellbeing program should be led from the front; look after number one and lead by example (I love that phrase ‘Lead by Example’; I think it is very powerful and can achieve so much). For example, ensuring everyone else takes their holiday entitlement is great – it’s important that employees relax and recharge – but leaders also need that; sacrificing yourself once in a while is ok but continually sacrificing yourself for your team becomes damaging and unproductive. You can’t be an effective leader and decision maker if you are tired and stressed.

People talk about pressure from above, but pressure also comes from below and from within. Leaders have a whole team of people looking to them for direction and a pathway to achieve; it is the leader who is at the front carving those ways, constantly working away for others to follow. Leaders bear a heavy burden of responsibility, as they know that if they fail, the people below them will also fail.

Pressure and constantly putting others first can wear any leader down, and can lead to depression and ill health. So although taking time for yourself might seem selfish, it is actually vital for the health of your business. Ultimately it’s all about balance!

11 easy ways to get exercise during your working day

Get fit in your lunch break

Exercise is not just good for the body it’s good for the mind as well!

When you exercise the body releases chemicals called endorphins; endorphins trigger positive feelings within the body and leave us feeling more energised. Why not try adding one of these easy 11 ways to exercise into your working day and get those endorphins working for you.

1. Cycle or walk part – if not all – of your journey to work. Read more about cycling for beginners.
2. Get off a bus or tube stop before your destination.
3. If you need to drive, try to park further away from your office and walk the rest of the way.
4. Discuss project ideas with a colleague while taking a walk.
5. Stand while talking on the telephone.
6. Walk over to someone’s desk at work rather than calling them on the phone or sending an email.
7. Take the stairs instead of the lift, or get out of the lift a few floors early and use the stairs.
8. Walk up escalators or travelators rather than standing still.
9. Go for a walk during your lunch break – use a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you take.
10. Try to find different walks and alternate between them during the week. You could also try using the free Active 10 app to help you increase your walking activity.
11. Exercise before or after work, or during your lunch break. Your office may have a gym, or you may have access to a nearby swimming pool or squash courts.

For more information head over to NHS Live Well.

Does mental health really affect businesses?

Heads Together campaign

Did you know not talking about ‘it’ is more damaging and then talking about ‘it’…

…and what is ‘it’? Mental Health!

I don’t think there are many people who wake up in the morning and think “Today I’m going to ruin someone’s day” but many employers, managers, and work colleges do this unintentionally on a daily basis. One small comment – or even saying nothing at all – to someone who is struggling with their mental health could really make or break someone’s day. Many employees are too worried to talk about any mental health problems as they fear they may be shamed or even worse lose their job, but not talking about ‘it’ usually makes mental health worse.

1 in 6 British workers are affected by mental health issues.

The term Mental Health covers a very broad range of illnesses including depression, anxiety, and stress. 95% of employees who ring in sick when suffering from a mental health issue will give a different reason to cover the truth. Simply having someone to talk to without being judged can be enough to relieve a little pressure off those who are suffering.

Mental ill-health costs UK businesses nearly £26 billion each year and is the leading cause of absence from the workplace.

Approaching mental health issues at work benefits not only the employees but also the business, potentially saving the average employer thousands of pounds per year in sick days and lost productivity. In the last few years various initiatives have been launched to raise awareness of mental health, including Time to Change, #LetsTalkMentalHealth, the Health & Safety Executive’s Go Home Healthy campaign, and the Heads Together initiative spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Prince William recently attended the Workplace Wellbeing Conference with senior business leaders to highlight how important it is for business leaders to ensure that workers get the support they need.

Healthy staff makes a healthy business!

Here are a few great websites to help support you and your employees make a change and bring mental health out into the open in the workplace instead of pushing ‘it’ away.

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/get-your-workplace-involved/employer-pledge

http://www.hse.gov.uk/gohomehealthy/stress.htm

The Duke of Cambridge introduced Heads Together & Mind’s new workplace mental health initiative.