Financial drain, emotional turbulence and tested physical limits are common challenges in the early months of the year. For employees to successfully transition out of that state towards a year of productivity, health and growth, they need to feel supported in prioritizing taking care of themselves.

One issue that commonly comes up in the early months is how people are doing on the new year’s resolutions they made in January. Research published by the University of Scranton estimates approximately 40 per cent of Americans make new year’s resolutions and fully intend to keep them. However, only nine per cent of that group will actually achieve their resolution, a fact that’s sure to lead to even more feelings of stress, depression, anxiety and isolation. While some people expect immediate gratification for their efforts, for most life-altering changes, the progress is much slower but no less impactful on their overall quality of life.

Read: CGI Group targets employees’ health goals, action plan in new year wellness program

Employees can’t leave those feelings at the office door, so it’s in an employer’s best interest to encourage everyone to dedicate appropriate time and effort to caring for themselves. That means advising employees on how to maximize the time they have to themselves and carve out more of it when required.

A few small behaviours can make a real difference in a person’s ability to get back on track. Here are three ways to encourage employees to take care of themselves:

  • Practice true mindfulness:

Most people in a state of despair will say they’re incredibly aware of what’s going on around them but they’re only focusing on problems, challenges and other negative forces. Encourage employees to acknowledge the positive factors in their situations as well, and more often than not, they’ll find balance. A practice that will benefit anyone, mindfulness is an area where employers can launch programs with no concern about missing the mark.

  • Get enough sleep:

Those who truly believe they don’t require at least seven hours of quality sleep per night in order to function at the best of their ability are kidding themselves. Unfortunately, employees aren’t the only ones affected by that disillusion. It’s likely that co-workers, human resources staff, family members and friends all notice the times their poorly rested brains and bodies fail to perform.

Read: Sleep a serious issue with major productivity costs for employers

  • Movement:

Whether through exercise, practical tasks or efforts of expression, movement creates an ideal environment for the brain and body to flourish. Physical exertion reduces stress and can combat the chemical reactions to depression in the body. Movement throughout the day keeps the body feeling engaged through improved circulation and muscle responses.

Those who can dedicate time to movement of some kind can also use it to sort through stressors. While they’re exerting effort in one area, another system can move to the forefront and provide clarity to a situation once clouded by emotion. If they can’t dedicate additional time to movement, they can try incorporating it throughout daily tasks to achieve the same results without adding further strain to work-life balance.

Encouraging movement is a particularly easy way for employers to offer support in the workplace through group or individual challenges, as well as incentives and recognition programs.

Read: Carproof focuses on self care with yoga, massages and colouring

An often overlooked piece of advice until an emergency strikes, the following expression, which perfectly demonstrates the importance of taking care of oneself, is as true in everyday life as it is on an airplane: Please ensure your own life preserver is in place before assisting another.

Karley Middleton ‎is a health and performance consultant at HUB International STRATA Benefits Consulting in Winnipeg. These views are those of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.
Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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