When work is stressful, it can interfere with every aspect of your life. You sleep less, you worry more, and all of this takes a toll on your health. As a workplace safety expert and the owner of my own rack inspection company, I know all too well how intimately connected physical and mental health are.
The two health disciplines are often seen as separate, but happiness and hard hats have a lot more in common than people realise. So, here’s how to stay mindful, healthy and safe at work.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HAPPY AND ENJOY YOUR JOB
People who are happy at work tend to be more productive than their stressed out and unhappy colleagues. So, if you manage the trick of enjoying your job, it’s the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you have employees who produce great work. As well as that, you have employees who don’t work themselves into stress over work, as the more they stress, the worse they tend to perform.
A workforce full of people who are relaxed and happy about being where they are has innumerable benefits. Still, it’s easier said than done, right?
Yes and no. Yes, it is difficult to make people enjoy their jobs. It might well be that the work you are doing just isn’t fulfilling to you. If that’s the case, all the job perks in the world won’t mean that you suddenly find the work you do meaningful.
Then again, there’s so much to be gained from enjoying your job that it’s always worthwhile trying. To start with, consider the fact that there are many people out there who would love the job which you do.
CHANGING YOUR POINT OF VIEW VS. MORE PRACTICAL MEASURES
If you work from home, think of all the office workers who would love the freedom to work when and where they want while listening to their favourite music or podcasts. Equally, if you work from an office, consider all the people working from home who love the comradery of an office job and all of the social interaction that comes from working in a group.
When you consider your job from the point of view of someone else, it’s easy to see how enjoyable it is with a different mindset. The trick is to get yourself into this mindset. If you can do that, everything else will follow.
If simply “changing your point of view” doesn’t work, don’t feel disheartened. It’s not a technique which works for everyone and it certainly doesn’t work when people are clinically depressed or have some other work-related mental illness. For a more practical measure, meditation and exercise are two things that you can do at work which can make you physically and mentally healthier.
GOOD ATTITUDES BREED GOOD PRACTICES
When you find yourself in a better mood — whether that’s through mindset, meditation or something else — you’ll find following best practices for workplace safety a lot easier as well. This virtuous cycle is why the British government’s Health and Safety Laboratory are investing so much in encouraging positive behaviour.
The idea is that, if people have the right mental attitude, this can have a very real effect on people’s safety. It makes sense. If you’re angry, sad, or uninspired by your work, it’s more likely that you’ll end up making a mistake with regards to safety.
Everyday safety tasks such as racking inspections require rigorousness and attention to detail. If an employee is enthused by what they do, it’s more likely that they’ll deliver this rigorousness and attention. When you consider how much of safety is about risk assessment and carefulness, it’s easy to see how bad mental health can put someone in physical danger.
The link between mental and physical health is well established. However, what is not established enough is the clear link between mental health and physical safety. By understanding that there is a connection between the two, you can begin to use mental health practices in order to make yourself an exemplar of not just mindfulness and wellbeing, but workplace safety as well.
Author bio – Justin O’Sullivan is a workplace safety expert and the owner of Storage Equipment Experts. His business provides inspections for businesses across the UK and Ireland, as well as training on how to best perform those inspections.