Did you know that one in six working people suffers from burnout? On top of that, lots of people miss work every year due to chronic illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes.
The good news is that you can take charge of your own health to a large extent.
Genes are not the only determining factor in illness: the majority of conditions can be prevented through lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and exercise are part of this, and so is reducing stress to make sure it cannot lead to a burnout.
How to stay fit and in vibrant health
In other words, there’s lots you can do yourself to stay healthy. You can go a long way by watching what you eat, making sure you get plenty of exercise, addressing any issues at home, and taking care of what goes on inside your head. If you suffer from stress over a longer period, you’re at risk of overworking yourself, or you’ll develop all kinds of physical symptoms such as cardiovascular conditions, serious migraines or backache.
Here’s what you can do yourself to stay fit and in vibrant health
- Choose the right foods
This is probably one of the simplest things you can do. Avoid eating too much sugar or cut it out altogether, have no more than two cups of coffee a day, cut back on meat, eat wholewheat products instead of refined grain and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Moderate your alcohol consumption, and finally, don’t forget to drink two litres of water a day!
- Start exercising
We spend too much time sitting down these days, and that means we don’t use our muscles anywhere near enough. Sitting down for long periods doesn’t do our brains any favours either, and hampers our immune systems too. Your body needs to move to make sure that all processes can run optimally.
If your job is more physical, you’re likely to be moving around quite a lot already. You might think you don’t need any more exercise than that, but nothing could be further from the truth. The movements you perform as part of your job are often monotonous. If so, it’s important that you keep using your other muscles as well. Strength exercises are a great way to do so. On top of that, it’s very important that you carry out your tasks the correct way to make you place as little strain as possible on your back and knees, for example.
If you’re sitting down for long periods, it’s high time you start exercising. Download a step counter onto your phone and try to get up to 10,000 steps a day. Leave your car at home more often, go for a walk at lunchtime and go get your own coffee instead of having a colleague bring it to you. You’ll soon see the extra steps start to rack up!
- Get plenty of rest and sleep, and take care of your inner self
Stress is the biggest silent killer of all. In the Netherlands, one in six of us — that’s 1.2 million people — suffer serious physical symptoms as a result of stress. We’re constantly worrying, we’re biting off more than we can chew, and we’re not getting enough rest. There can be all kinds of reasons for this: all might not be as well as it should be at home, or you might not be happy at work.
Unfortunately, these things often lead to a downward spiral, which can be very hard to get out of. You might start eating less healthily as a result of stress. Those hamburgers, pastries or pints might offer a bit of solace that’s hard to turn down, but they’ll only make you feel worse in the long term. You’re not getting enough sleep, and sleep just happens to be one of the main things you need to keep your immune system in good shape.
If you’re experiencing any mental stress, take action now. Don’t underestimate what’s going on. If something is wrong at work, discuss it with your manager. If you’re working for us, talk to your account manager. You might be able to move into a different role for a while, or take a training course. Find out what’s needed to make you feel better, because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself at home, unable to work, before you know it.
- Invest in your social environment
People are social animals. Family, friends, a loving partner, colleagues: they’re all hugely important to our wellbeing. We want to feel connected, so it’s important that you invest in the people around you. Go out and see friends, and make the effort to talk to people. You genuinely need that attention.
You may think this is a load of nonsense, and that you’re doing just fine without. Regardless, lots of studies have demonstrated a link between a good social environment and a long and healthy life. Did you know, for example, that men in relationships live four years longer on average than their single counterparts? That’s what social contact can do for you, so make sure you don’t overlook it. It’s one of the building blocks of good health.
Start working on your health! Don’t hesitate to talk about it
The first step towards change is becoming aware that things need to change. Every one of us can do something to improve our fitness and stay in vibrant health. In essence, it’s really not that difficult. That said, it is absolutely essential: if you feel well, everything goes more smoothly, both at home and at work.
If you’re struggling to take action alone, talk about it with your GP or manager. In many cases, a coach will be available to help you. Your health insurance is likely to be able to pay for this too, subject to certain conditions. The most important thing to remember is this: don’t ignore any issues, but take action to change them.
After all, your health is the most important thing in your life, so take good care of it.
AB Werkt believes it is important for its employees to be, and stay, fit and in vibrant health. Vibrant health translates into better performance at work. With this in mind, we offer our employees a vitality budget. The budget is intended to encourage them to take a proactive approach to their health and wellbeing. Sometimes, we all could do with a little help here, from a coach for instance.
So, we pay our employees EUR 100 (net) per year if they get help. This could be to stop smoking, for instance, or to work with a lifestyle coach to help with stress management. Maybe you’d like some support with losing weight, or need preventive physiotherapy to stave off future issues.
Want to know more? Simply get in touch with your AB Werkt contact.