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Mental Health Strategies for Work

Carpenters Benefit Plans | May 24, 2024

Workplace wellness helps create work/life balance

An average person spends 90,000 hours, or one-third of their life, at work.1 It would be safe to say that your work environment can impact your quality of life.

Worksite influence in action.
Jobsite culture is extremely important to your overall health. If you don’t feel well physically, or if you don’t feel heard or supported at work, it will influence your interactions with others, as well as your total body wellbeing.

Sometimes, though, it’s the things outside work that you carry with you to your jobsite or office that can impact your workplace wellness.

What pulls for your attention?
Life events are inevitable, whether good or bad, and they will most likely influence your mental health at work! These might include the birth of a child, a death in the family, a crisis beyond your control that affects you or a loved one, a graduation or wedding, a soured relationship, or just a busy season with family or friends. When you need additional support, remember, you have access to professional resources through our health plan.

But there are other types of distractions that can disrupt our day-to-day if we let them. These are quiet pulls for our attention that we may not recognize and include:

  • Phone/technology
  • Social media: consider turning off notifications during the workday, unless you are on break or lunch
  • Lack of movement throughout the day or week; movement improves our brain function and improves physical health!
  • Processed oils in food, such as canola, or any seed oil, which influences brain health
  • Processed and fast foods, which includes a lot of the above oils
  • Caffeine, including too much coffee, energy drinks, or soda
  • Excess processed sugar (>24g added sugar/day), which can give you a brief sense of energy, but then create a sudden drop in blood sugar creating fatigue as your body quickly processes the sugar
  • Lack of social support at home

Recognizing distractions is just the beginning. Being conscious of our day-to-day “squirrel” moments can be helpful, and often finding solutions, such as those listed below, may help us to stay on task.

Distraction support.

For every action, there’s a simple reaction…

  • Limit technology2: excessive phone or use of other digital technology can become a large stumbling block for your physical and mental health
    • anxiety
    • irritability
    • depression
    • isolation
    • mental clarity
    • productivity
    • sleep
    • healthy social interaction
    • creativity
    • physical health, including back and neck pain, obesity, hearing loss, and more.
  • Limit access to you through technology – such as the 24/7 expected response
  • Turn off technology notifications (when it makes sense)
  • Get outside! Add sunlight and fresh air to your daily schedule.
  • Everyday consider including at least some movement or exercise
  • Include real, whole foods in your day-to-day menu
  • Always drink water! 75% of U.S. adults suffer from chronic dehydration!3 The recommended daily dose of water should be at least half your body weight of water in ounces consumed throughout the day. For example, a 200 lb person should work toward drinking 100 oz of water per day. It may sound like a lot, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just start with one more glass each day and work your way up. Water improves your health by4
    • bringing nutrients to cells,
    • protecting joints and organs,
    • maintaining body temperature,
    • eliminating toxins,
    • helps maintain blood pressure,
    • boosts skin health, and
    • cushions the brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
  • Social engagement and support
  • Leadership support

A friend or coworker may be a good partner to help you through distractions, helping to keep you accountable to your own wellbeing; however, if you’re looking for a trained resource, Keondra Harris, Carpenters Wellness Centers’ health coach, would be an exceptional fit! Find out more about how Keondra can help.

Sources:
https://www.gettysburg.edu/news/stories?id=79db7b34-630c-4f49-ad32-4ab9ea48e72b#
2 https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/mas/news/technostress-how-too-much-technology-effects-mental-health-2054999 
3 https://health.ucdavis.edu/blog/good-food/why-its-important-for-you-to-drink-water-and-stay-hydrated/2022/07#
4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814

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