It is your responsibility to look after yourself, yet work can potentially have a big impact on you so where is the line? If you are continually expected to work long hours, sit at a desk for long periods of time or work in one of the helping professions where there are emotional pressures, what is your role and what is the role of your workplace in self care?
It is a tricky question and I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer. There are so many factors both at work and away from work that can have an impact on your wellbeing. This short article aims for bring some of these factors into your awareness and hopefully to think about how you can improve your wellbeing and the wellbeing or your workplace.
Individual factors that impact on wellbeing
Factors that you as an individual can have a positive influence on that will improve your wellbeing include:
Nutrition and exercise;
Health of relationships outside of work including intimate and friendships;
Resilience and emotional health go together to increase your ability to cope with stressors;
Mindset including beliefs and living by your values;
Money Health including financial obligations and / or spending habits and saving habits; and
Outside interests including hobbies.
Workplace factors that impact on wellbeing
Factors that workplaces can have appositive influence on to improve the wellbeing of staff as well as the organisation include:
A friendly culture that asks “are you OK?” and means it can play an important role;
Level of emotional outlay required in work and the support for staff around this;
Expected hours of work, this can sometimes be cultural; and
Opportunities for staff this may include flexible working arrangements, wellbeing initiatives, as well as relationship building activities.
Those other things that impact on an individual’s wellbeing
Sometimes it can be that you do a great job of looking after yourself and are part of a fun and understanding workplace yet you end up wondering “how did I get here?”
There are many events that you or your workplace do not have control over, or only some control over that can have a big impact on your wellbeing, some of these include:
Break down or loss of important relationships;
Events including accidents or illness;
Societal expectations or social norms;
Program funding and related job security; and
Other national or global issues and pressures.
Just one thing
Individual wellbeing can impact on your quality of life as well as how you perform at work. Sometimes the line is blurry at whose responsibility individual wellbeing is and it is an important conversation that individuals and organisations need to be having.
Go back and look at the list above and choose just one area that you can do something in today and moving forward that will improve your wellbeing and / or the wellbeing of the individuals at your workplace.
You could: get off one stop earlier and walk to work; take the bike instead; eat more vegies; practice mindfulness; ask yourself and others more often “are you OK?”....... Go on just one thing.
This is a good question, Rachel. I once was a writer and editor for a business magazine. Never was there a job I loved more...I got to write independently, with what I considered was a good income. It was full-time. However, the director of the magazine would not pay me for up to four weeks at a time. Increasingly, I was asked to do tasks that were not in the agreed contract. Rather than it being an equitable professional job, I ultimately felt taken advantage of and resigned. This was when it was beginning to affect my health. And yet there are many times I regretted it - I was paid well and it was secure..but you need to draw the line at how far the work place can push you I think.