Loyola University Health System Expert Helps Individuals and Businesses Stay Healthy
Maywood, Ill. â Recent reports show that job satisfaction rates in the U.S. are at the lowest level in more than two decades. The recession has caused employees and employers to tighten their financial belts. In many places work that was done by three or four colleagues is now being managed by one. As a consequence, stress, anxiety and job burn-out â made worse by unhealthy habits and poor communication â can devastate business results.
âPeople are worried about losing their jobs, making bank payments and keeping their families safe. Their fears are real. For companies, the economic uncertainties are impacting market predictions. Fatigue is climbing as managers and their teams cope across difficult months.
Theyâre becoming exhausted,â said Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, medical director of Loyola University Health System Occupational Health Services.
Job stress and fatigue can lead to behaviors that negatively affect health. For example, a busy working mother may cut out exercise to spend precious time with her children. Another employee may stop eating lunch to open a slot for an extra meeting. Or a worker with high blood pressure may cancel doctorsâ appointments and stop medications to bridge an insurance gap.
âDuring hardship, a healthy routine can actually be a huge help to employees,â Capelli-Schellpeffer said. âStaying well can ease stressful experiences. The healthier a person is, both physically and mentally, the better they can deal with the challenges life throws at them.â
She encourages individuals to do an inventory of good habits by considering these questions:
Are you taking your prescriptions and keeping up with medical visits? Do you get more than 7 hours of sleep a night? Is there fatty fast food in your diet? Has your regular exercise fallen by the wayside?
âIf you think youâre too busy to work out, start with 10 minutes a day for a short walk. In a year you will complete 50+ hours of this simple fitness activity! You will feel more in control of your wellness and better prepared to deal with troubles around you,â Capelli-Schellpfeffer said.
When it comes to habits during social occasions, donât forget to check alcohol consumption. âThose extra beers, cocktails, or glasses of wine will actually diminish coping ability, add extra pounds, and put you at risk of making important decisions or driving while impaired.â While advertisers may promote talking, texting, and timing activities in an overlapping fashion, Capelli-Schellpfeffer suggests itâs best to avoid multitasking.
âResearch shows that a personâs efficiency degrades when too many activities require attention at once. Regardless of your age or experience, the multiple distractions lead to mental errors. Keep focused on one project at a time: it will be less difficult to finish. When you are done, marking a completed job off your âto doâ list will give you boost to take on the next assignment.â Companies also need a wellness check during stressful periods.
One of the most important healthy habits an employer can use in the fight against burn-out is frequent communication.
âCommunication is critical to success. Thatâs always true. But itâs harder to do during challenging events because of all the ânoiseâ from bad news. Make sure your messages are being repeated and sent to employees in a variety of ways. Donât assume one e-mail is going to reach everyone,â said Capelli-Schellpfeffer. âShared messages can become an important vehicle for solidifying trust and a team perspective.â
âWhen a supervisor stops by an employeeâs desk asking, âHow are you doing?â the action makes an impact. The added bonus is that the supervisor is more likely to gain valuable first-hand information about what is or isnât working in the enterprise,â said Capelli-Schellpfeffer.
âEmployers and employees are living in the same work-world. Healthy habits and communication are basic tools everyone can use to beat business burn-out and protect productivity until the recessionâs effects clear.â
Loyola Occupational Health Services provides onsite company stress management and wellness workshops. For more information, call toll-free (888) LUHS-888.