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Health, Wellness, and Self-Care in the Workplace.

It is April 2019, people have attempted their New Year’s Resolutions by now, and often, a significant number of those resolutions include something related to health, wellness, or fitness. This is for good reason, since South Africa was recently ranked the unhealthiest country on earth.

When you think about it, people set resolutions with the understanding that this is not a rapid-response process, it takes more than a couple days of working out or eating right.  To the same tune, when you consider your own health and wellness, it only makes sense that these, too, are not going to come from refraining from that slab of chocolate for one day, or taking the stairs instead of the lift for a day and expecting results. In 2019, it’s time to focus on a wellness year, rather than a wellness day.  Real progress comes from lifestyle changes, not instant gratification.

With the incredible resources out there provided by modern technology, you can open an app, log your calories, and discover an entire fitness routine right at your fingertips.  Because of access to such technologies, there’s been a lean toward self-improvement and self-care, incredibly different from what’s been seen before. We have to see this change happen, because the numbers can be daunting.  One study in South Africa noted that on a daily basis, 15 out of 100 employees did not make it to work, while another 27 out of 100 were less productive, showing the financial and emotional strain of preventable health issues and how they affect the workplace (OCSA 2017). 

When it begins to affect your lifestyle, when it affects your ability to do your job, it’s time to take notice.  From an employer prospective, it is something that not only affects the quality of work their employees are putting out, but it also affects their finances.  A number of companies across the world have been looking to improve this among their employees, by offering resources, consulting, support, and incentives.

Programs incentivizing weight loss, or financial incentives for attending a nutritional seminar or having a yearly physical, discounts for local fitness programs or gyms, incorporating healthier nutritional choices in the office, are all included in the efforts that some companies or businesses have taken to encourage this state of betterment among their employees. 

The idea of “self-care” has been a trending topic in 2018, noted by the fact that Apple’s “App Trend of the Year” was categorised under “self-care”.  The dangers of failing to take care of ourselves, and the financial, emotional, and physical impact it can have, are no longer worth the sacrifice.  People are actively wanting to improve the quality of life, and work to live, rather than live to work.  But no one’s alone in this, because of the global recognition of its importance, the technological advances supporting health and wellness, the availability of resources online, the development of support communities, and industry recognition of the benefits of providing these resources and technologies to employees, and incentivizing employees to take advantage of them.

We’ve finally started to understand and appreciate that once we take care of ourselves, emotionally and physically, greater things in life start to fall into place!

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