LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
MAKE WORKPLACE WELLBEING A PRIORITY, WHETHER IT’S A MASSAGE OR MORE TIME FOR YOURSELF
WORKPLACES are encouraged to consider worker wellbeing and ways to improve it, this Mental Health Week. One in five Australians will experience a mental illness in the next 12 months, and almost half in their lifetimes, Mental Health Australia reveals.
In the building and construction industry alone, Master Builders Australia says a worker commits suicide every second day.
For Stuart Taylor, founder of The Resilience Institute in Australia, building routines is one of the best ways to avoid burnout.
“Challenge yourself to wake up at the same time each day, regardless of when you go to sleep, so that you get the best quality sleep in subsequent nights,” he says.
“Cultivate a regular meditation or mindfulness practice – even if it’s just a few minutes – and notice how this impacts your approach to the day ahead.
“Try building exercise into your morning routine, rather than night, when your time is more likely to be taken up with other requests, priorities and excuses.”
He says workers need to listen to their body and slow down if needed. It is a message echoed by Louise McIlwraith, ex-financial planner and founder of TruCore Wellness.
After having open heart surgery in her 30s followed by her son’s diagnosis with a rare blood disease then her own diagnosis with breast cancer, she changed her perspective on life.
“(If I had my time again) I would spend more time looking after my health and wellbeing rather than just being focused on being the breadwinner and having a family,” she says. “I look back at things I used to worry about and realise it just doesn’t really matter.”
SMG Health chief executive and psychologist and management consultant Ian Shakespeare says the most successful organisations value their human capital.
“Investing in their physical and mental health and wellbeing just makes sense,” he says.
Some ways he recommends workers look after their own mental health include taking regular breaks, getting to know co-workers, making time for things they value outside of work, and reviewing lifestyle factors such as diet.
SMG Health wellbeing account manager Kritika Singh helps organisations identify areas which can improve employees’ mental and physical wellbeing and productivity.
“This might include components such as resilience and mindfulness programs, flu vaccinations or health intervention programs,” she says.
At Sunsuper, wellbeing is an important part of day-to-day operations. Spokeswoman Simone Blumberg says in the past 18 months, specific programs have been developed, such as Growth Days where staff spend a day volunteering or learning a new skill.
IN PERSPECTIVE: SMG Health’s Kritika Singh helps organisations identify areas which can improve their employees’ overall wellbeing, such as providing massages at work.