The holiday season is kicking off, and with it comes a marathon of office parties, potlucks, and gift exchanges. Here are a few tips for bringing healthy holidays to your workplace.
Creating Healthy Holidays at Work
Ready, get set, go. The holiday season is kicking off, and with it comes a marathon of office parties, potlucks, and gift exchanges. Help employees enjoy the holidays with their coworkers. Here are a few tips for bringing healthy holidays to your workplace.
Spotting Challenges Ahead of Time
Temptation lurking around every corner – During the holidays, it seems more sweets and homemade treats pop up in the break room, on countertops, and in coworkers’ offices than during the rest of the year. It’s enough to make your employees throw up their hands and say, “I’ll wait until after the holidays to eat healthy again!”
Stress mounting by the minute –With parties, entertaining, gift-giving, and office cookie swaps, the demands on your time and wallet may seem endless. People can feel overwhelmed and have a hard time remembering why this season is supposed to be fun.
Busy calendar leaving no time for physical activity – The extra tasks make it tempting to hold off self-care with the promise to renew it in the new year. Your employees may believe they barely have time to cram in all the holiday planning and celebrations, causing them to skip workouts.
Plan How to Handle Holiday Traps
Employers are in a unique position to offer solutions to promote the health and safety of their employees. The use of effective workplace health programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for 155 million workers in the United States.
With employees in America spending more than one-third of their day on the job, your workplace health program can make a difference this holiday season. Think of it as a gift that keeps on giving year-round.
Consider suggesting ways to increase opportunities for healthy behaviors such as eating healthy foods and getting physical activity:
Offer healthy food and drink choices. If you have an office potluck or party, offer low-calorie, low-sugar options like fruit and sparkling water for everyone to enjoy. Small changes can make a difference. “For example, the benefits of shifting from white bread to whole-wheat bread, or from soda to seltzer water, can add up. Remember, every food and beverage choice is an opportunity to move toward a healthy eating pattern,” reports the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Eighth Edition.
Provide support to reduce and manage stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Workplace Health Resource Center offers a variety of stress-busting ideas. As an example, a resource called Stress in the Workplace: Managing Job and Workplace Stress suggests several ways to beat workplace stress, including:
- Maintaining or building relationships by reaching out to coworkers, family, and friends for support
- Continuing to be physically active and eat healthy to maintain strength
- Drinking in moderation, if you choose to drink alcohol
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing time and tasks to avoid making too many commitments or feeling overwhelmed.
Help employees keep on track with physical activity.
- If you have an onsite gym, consider keeping the gym open longer during the holidays or adding extra classes, from kickboxing to yoga. Physical activity can help employees feel better physically and mentally when faced with holiday season challenges.
- No gym? You can still encourage employees to take a healthy break by providing organized walks outside the workplace if possible. They can invite buddies to join them and enjoy some social time, too.