I was looking through some documents and came across a series of notes I’d made for a presentation I was to give to Cochrane Town Council, during their Health and Safety week. The title of my talk was “Look After Yourself, Look After One Another.”
I was aiming to convey the importance of taking care of your own health, both mind and body as well the well-being of those around you, whether those people be at home or in the workplace.
Reading them through, I realised that the messages I was sending are still as relevant today as they was then. For that reason, I thought I would use the headings as a basis for this week’s blog:
Look After Yourself
H - Healthy minds are as important as healthy bodies.
E- Eat a well-balanced diet, everything in moderation.
A- Achieve your goals, one step at a time.
L- Listen to your body.
T- Take time for yourself and learn to relax.
H- Help yourself and you’ll be helping those you love.
Look After One Another
S- Set an example in the workplace, by following guidelines.
A- Actions by you will affect others, so think of your co-workers.
F- Follow your instincts and use your initiative.
E- Experience counts, pass on your knowledge.
T- Teach your family safe practices, both in and outside of the home.
Y- You can make a difference!
All are important aspects to consider, but I’d like to concentrate on two specific areas.
The first is mental health. Fortunately, people are becoming increasingly aware of how mental wellness is as important as physical wellness and I’d like to share some suggestions from the UK’S Mental Health Foundation as to how to improve mental well-being:
1) Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
2) Keep active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
3) Eat well
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
4) Drink sensibly
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
Drink in moderation.
5) Keep in touch
There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!
6) Ask for help
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are also there to help you.
7) Take a break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.
8) Do something you’re good at
What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem
9) Accept who you are
We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
10) Care for others
‘Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.’ Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.
As this is, primarily a blog aimed at the field of business, my other area of emphasis is on the workplace.
In 2017 Julie Copeland CEO of Arbil, recognised that “The foundation of any successful workplace safety effort is one that encourages employees to identify unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement while also making well-informed safety decisions during daily routine tasks” and went on to post, on their website, “Top 10 workplace safety tips every employee should know.”
1) Be aware of your surroundings
This step requires knowing the particular hazards of your job or workplace. Once you’ve learned these risks, you are able to keep clear of potential hazardous areas, and potential hazardous situations. Also, always be alert of machinery.
2) Keep correct posture to protect your back
If you work at a desk, keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid back problems. If you’re picking things up, use correct form so your back doesn’t get hurt. Avoid stooping and twisting. If possible, always use ergonomic designed furniture and safety eqiupment so everything you need is within easy reach.
3) Take regular breaks
So many work-related injuries and illnesses occur because a worker is tired, burned out and not alert to their surroundings. Taking regular breaks helps you stay fresh on the job. One trick to staying alert is to schedule the most difficult tasks when your concentration is best, like first thing in the morning.
4) Use tools and machines properly
Take the proper precautions when using tools, and never take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts is one of the leading causes of workplace injury. It’s a huge safety risk to use scaffolding as a ladder or one tool in place of another for a specific job. Using tools the right way greatly reduces the chance of workplace injury.
5) Keep emergency exits easily accessible
In case of an emergency, you’ll need quick, easy access to the exits. It’s also recommended to keep clear access to equipment shutoffs in case you need to quickly stop them from functioning.
6) Report unsafe conditions to your supervisor
Your supervisor needs to be informed about any workplace safety hazards or risks. They are legally obligated to ensure their employees have a safe working environment and will take care of the unsafe conditions and make them safe for you and your coworkers.
7) Use mechanical aids whenever possible
Instead of attempting to carry or lift something that’s really heavy in an attempt to save a sliver of time during your workday, take the extra minute to use a wheelbarrow, conveyor belt, crank or forklift. Too many injury risks are involved with trying to lift something that weighs too much.
8) Stay sober
Around three percent of workplace fatalities occur due to alcohol and drugs. When a worker’s ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration or alertness is compromised, this leads to any number of risks for workplace injury and fatalities.
9) Reduce workplace stress
Stress can lead to depression and concentration problems. Common causes of workplace stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts with coworkers or managers. Take your concerns about workplace stress to your supervisor to see how they might help you address them.
10) Wear the correct safety equipment
If you’re not wearing the correct safety equipment for a task, you may get injured. Depending on the job, equipment like earplugs, earmuffs, hard hats, safety goggles or a full-face mask greatly reduce the risk of workplace injury.
Keeping safe and well is important because if we don’t it can have an impact on not only ourselves but those around us, both at home and at work. Some illnesses and accidents may be unavoidable, but if we try to be vigilant and actively work to take care of ourselves and others, at least we know we’ve given it our best shot.
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.