Workplace Wellbeing

 

National Employee Wellbeing Day

      Workplace Wellbeing Day was created as an opportunity for companies and organisations to promote and display all the health promotion activities offered at their workplace, both to their employees and to the public. Ireland is the first country in Europe to set aside a day specifically for workplace wellbeing. This year marks the fifth year and it will take place on April 12th, 2019. For more information and to get involved please visit: https://www.wellbeingday.ie

     UCD offers many health promotion activities in partnership with Healthy UCD and other departments. Examples of activities include staff Sports & Fitness memberships, Marchathon step challenge, Desk to 5K, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Bootcamp, as well as other health talks and seminars.

 

 Key Health Areas For Workplace Wellbeing:  

             

 

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Mental Health

     According to the World Health Organization, mental health is a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make contribution to his or her community”. It is normal to feel upset at times, and one in four individuals will experience mental health distress in their lifetime. However, serious or long-term distress can affect our health and quality of life. According to a survey conducted by a mental health foundation, over 40% of employees are at a risk of developing mental health problems since they are neglecting aspects of their life due to work. Also, 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable due to working long hours. Therefore, arguably work place wellbeing is a key aspect to improve quality of life and reduce mental distress.  One can improve their mental health by learning coping mechanisms, taking time to destress, improving self-esteem, connecting with others, developing positive relationships and when needed seeking professional help.

 How to improve your mental health at work:

  • Go for a walk to take a break from siting at your desk
  • Bring a friend for lunch or a cup of tea
  • Try to make friends at work, to give you support
  • Exercise before, during or after work
  • Try to be organized to reduce stress
  • Join a staff fitness or yoga class
  • Eat healthy while at work, to improve your mood and energy levels

Seek additional help through the Employee Assistance Program and the new Inspire Wellbeing Employee Assistance Portal to be launched shortly. 

Physical Activity

     The HSE recommends for persons age 18-64, to take part in moderate intensity physical activity for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. A simple indicator of a moderate intensity exercise is one that increases heart rate and breathing above one’s normal level. This can be accomplished through 30-minute workouts or 3x10 minute shorter workouts. However, in Ireland 1 in 3 people are physically inactive, and 41% of adults participate in moderate to intense exercise for only 20 minutes per day. Physical activity can reduce one’s risk of developing at least 35 different chronic health conditions, including stroke, cancer, depression, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, physical activity can reduce one’s risk of premature death by 20-30%. Overall, physical activity can help, boost your self-esteem, increase energy levels, improve sleep quality, build muscle tone and strength, keep you happier, reduce stress and keep your weight at a healthy level.

How to be active at work:

  • Stretch at your desk every 30 min.
  • Research basic desk exercises                                               
  • Walk to lunch
  • Cycle to work
  • Get off the bus at an earlier stop
  • Park farther away
  • Arrange walk and talk meetings
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Join a staff fitness program

Also, the HSE (https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/fitness-for-your-lifestyle.html) and http://www.getirelandactive.ie/ offer great tips on how to maintain an active lifestyle.

Nutrition

     Throughout Ireland, according to HSE research, 62% of adults are overweight or obese. Only one-third (33%) of the population eat the daily recommended amount of fruits, vegetables and salads. Many people in Ireland, fuel their day by giving into the temptation of crisp, cakes, chocolate and other less healthy food options. Eating healthily can reduce one’s overall health, can lower cholesterol levels, help maintain a healthy body weight and improve mood. Eating a balanced diet and sticking to the recommended amounts of each food group is a great way to improve eating habits. According to Safefood’s and Healthy Ireland’s food pyramid, it is recommend adults should aim for at least 2 servings a day of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts, at least 3 servings a day of dairy, 3-5 servings of whole meal cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice, and at least 5-7 servings a day of vegetables, salads and fruit.

How to eat healthy at work:

  • Bring healthy snack options such as nuts and fruit
  • Plan your meals ahead of time to reduce stress
  • Bring healthy breakfast and lunch to work (following the food pyramid guidelines)
  • Pay close attention to the many healthy options located at the various food outlets on campus
  • Learn about safe food storage ( https://www.safefood.eu/Food-safety.aspx)

For more tips, tricks, recipes and healthy eating guides check out: Safefood and the Healthy Eating section on the Healthy UCD website.

 

 

 

References:

Health Service Executive. (2019a). Why being active helps your health. Retrieved from

https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/why-being-active-helps-your-health.html

Health Service Executive. (2019b). Why diet and nutrition helps your health. Retrieved from

https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/why-diet-and-nutrition-helps-your-health.html

Health Service Executive. (n.d.) National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland- ‘Get Ireland Active’.

Retrieved from

https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/media/pressrel/newsarchive/200920082007archive/june-2009/get%20ireland%20active.html

Ibec. (2019). Welcome to Workplace Wellbeing Day. Retrieved from

https://www.wellbeingday.ie/Sectors/NHF/WWC.nsf/vPages/About_the_campaign~welcome!OpenDocument

Mental Health Ireland. (n.d.-a). What is mental health. Retrieved from

https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/what-is-mental-health/

Mental Health Ireland. (n.d.-b). Workplace. Retrieved from

https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/workplace/

Safefood. (n.d) The Food Pyramid. Retrieved from

https://www.safefood.eu/Healthy-Eating/What-is-a-balanced-diet/The-Food-Pyramid.aspx

World Health Organization. (2010a). Occupational Health: Workplace health promotion, The

workplace: A priority setting for health promotion. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/workplace/en/

World Health Organization. (2010b). Occupational Health: Workplace health promotion benefits.

Retrieved from https://www.who.int/occupational_health/topics/workplace/en/index1.html