It’s important for businesses to promote workplace wellness and emotional health activities with their employees. Strong emotional health and wellness is tied to employees’ ability to develop effective relationships, manage their health, and be productive. It is linked to employee engagement, morale, and job satisfaction. All things that are not only essential to individuals but can also impact a business’s bottom line. While it is suggested that businesses of all sizes have a comprehensive wellness plan, one way leaders can support emotional health without significant added costs is by encouraging self-care through the behaviors they role model themselves.
The term self-care refers to all that we do to take care of the mind, body, and spirit so that we can handle the stresses of everyday life as they arise. Self-care does not need to be time-consuming or expensive. But it is important for leaders to recognize the valuable role they play in modeling wellness and self-care activities in the workplace and creating space for employee self-care so employees know taking care of oneself is a vital aspect of the work culture.
Below are some ways leaders can model self-care with their employees.
Address Loneliness and Isolation
One of the drawbacks of the recent increase in remote and hybrid work schedules is the associated rise in loneliness and isolation. Research links loneliness and isolation to a variety of wellness problems, including negative impacts on physical and mental health. CNBC reports that the most global way a leader can help employees feel less lonely is by checking in with them. Check-ins should be authentic, empathic, and involve good listening. Checking in can facilitate employees feeling heard, valued, and included, which can in turn promote feelings of connectedness to the team, the leaders, and the company.
Mindfulness, or the practice of becoming more fully aware of the present moment, can be a powerful tool that is shown to offer many physical and psychological health benefits. The Harvard Business Review suggests that spending 10 minutes a day on mindfulness training can have dramatic effects on “how we engage with ourselves, others, and our work.” Leaders can encourage mindfulness by beginning meetings with a brief mindfulness exercise such as breathing meditation, body-scan meditation, or observing-thought meditation. Doing so may positively impact employee relationships, mood, attention, and stress, all critical to overall wellness.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a subjective term, making it challenging to achieve. However, we know that “work-life imbalance,” or working way too much, leaves little time for relaxation, which can have negative effects on employee wellness and overall productivity. Leaders can satisfy differing work-life needs by creating a flexible work environment that appeals to workers with various home-life situations. This may include allowing flexible hours, setting healthy boundaries around leaving work at a reasonable hour, and putting coverage plans in place so employees can unplug during vacations. Prioritizing a healthy culture and cultivating a happy work environment promotes work-life balance and creates space for employees to practice good self-care.
Share Lessons Learned
Leaders are human, which means that, like everyone, they will inevitably make mistakes. Being transparent about those mistakes and sharing lessons learned demonstrates a growth mindset or the ability to see failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and stretching our existing abilities. According to Forbes, leaders capable of the vulnerability it takes to admit their mistakes earn employee respect, strengthen their team, lead by example, and build a culture of trust. Further, demonstrating a growth mindset models a healthy approach to coping with uncomfortable situations, a critical element of well-being and good self-care.
Leaders looking to promote workplace wellness and self-care can do so with employee assistance programs (EAP) that are designed to make your workforce feel supported, protected, and valued. When you partner with an experienced and knowledgeable EAP provider like CMG Associates, you can be confident that your employees are in good hands. Contact us today for help designing an employee wellness program that meets the needs of your workforce.