To set up a workplace that promotes wellness, you need to make sure your employees are happy and productive.

A Mediclinic expert explains why it's important to encourage a healthy attitude towards work and gives tips on how to do it. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become more aware of their mental health, says clinical psychologist Harsha Maharaj, who consults at Mediclinic Sandton. “Many corporates have introduced mental health initiatives into the workplace, offering wellness days or mental health days, when you can, for example, set aside time for a group bonding activity, see a counsellor, or take a day off.”

Set your boundaries

To have good relationships and promote wellness at work, it's important to set clear boundaries. This means understanding what's expected of you, what you expect from work, what's allowed, how much you can handle, and when to say no.

Take regular breaks

It’s also valuable to set limits on time spent at your desk. “Take breaks throughout the day to get up, stretch, go for a walk, or do breathing exercises. These small things can make a huge difference in keeping you sane and healthy, giving you time to switch off and process,” says Maharaj.

“There are some excellent apps out there that I recommend to my patients, such as Calm or Headspace. You can set them to remind you to take a break every 45 minutes. Alternatively, use your smartwatch or phone for this purpose. Even if you just take time out for as little as five to 10 minutes, this sharpens you up before you resume work, so you’re more productive.”

Adopt a healthier lifestyle

When you don’t take breaks and push yourself too hard, you may become irritable and frustrated. This anxiety can filter into depression, warns Maharaj. “Incorporate other healthy practices into your daily life. It’s all about making small, positive changes in your daily routine.” She suggests:

  • Going to the gym or take a walk/run.
  • Drinking a glass of water between coffees or teas [no more than four cups daily].
  • Eating healthy.

Just breathe

Deep breathing is an easy stress-release tool that everyone has at their immediate disposal. “Just one minute of breathing calms and grounds you, so you can think more rationally,” advises Maharaj. “Simply take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for as long as it is comfortable and then breathe out through your mouth. Repeat as many times as you want; you are sure to feel calmer afterwards.”

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.