Your health at work: information and advice for employees
It is essential to look after your own health so that you can enjoy life both in and outside of work. In healthcare settings, working safely and staying healthy means you are able to care for others.
Putting your health first
Find out more about putting your health first:
- Looking after yourself
- Staying fit
- Quitting smoking
- Healthy eating
- Drinking sensibly
- Drug use
- Risk of stroke and heart attack
- Recognising stress
- Helping yourself
- Getting professional help
Looking after yourself
- Sleep is a basic human need. If you get regular sleep you will be more resilient to everyday stresses. Try to get into a bedtime routine and this will help you to get a good sleep
- Eating healthily and at regular times helps your body to work well
- Organise your time so that you can manage what you do, and say 'no' if it is too much
- Make time for the things you enjoy. If you aren't doing pleasurable things at the moment think about taking up a hobby or a new interest
- Keep in contact with friends and family as they can give valuable support
- Keeping calm. Worry is something that we all experience from time to time. It can be a normal response to a situation that we see as threatening, for example, taking an exam or going into hospital. How much we worry varies from person to person but it is important to try to stay calm so that we can manage the situation and our worry. Recognising stress is important so that you can do something about it at an early stage.
Keeping active has many benefits. It increases your energy levels and improves your physical health and mental wellbeing.
NHS Choices is a good resource for finding out more about the benefits of regular exercise, how to get started and how to make sure you get the recommended 150 minutes of activity per week.
We all know that smoking is bad for our health. You can find practical support and help with quitting on the Smokefree website.
What we eat can affect the way we look and feel. Healthy eating can give you more energy and help you to maintain a healthy weight. If you would like help with weight loss we recommend the NHS Weight Loss Plan, which provides a healthy and effective way to steadily lose weight.
Are you drinking alcohol sensibly? Find out using the Drinkaware unit calculator.
You can also try tracking your drinking using the NHS Choices drinking self-assessment tool.
If you need to help with cutting down, try Down Your Drink, which helps you to make a plan and shows you how to stick to it.
Drug use can change your mood and behaviour so that your life becomes more difficult at work and at home. If you are using drugs, you can learn about their effects and how to get help.
Risk of stroke and heart attack
If you are aged 40 or over, the OHS can assess your risk of having a stroke or heart attack and advise you on the action you can take in order to reduce this. We offer a cardiovascular risk factor screening programme to staff as part of the service level agreement with some employers. Our programme follows national guidance and assessments can be done either in our office or at an onsite clinic. To find out more please read our leaflet, Caring for your heart.
Stress is the word that many people use when the demands of life become too great to cope with.
Stress can affect the way that we feel, think, how our body works and also how we behave:
- How we feel: irritable, anxious, low mood, low self-esteem
- How we think: constant worrying, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, imagining the worst, going over and over things in your mind
- How our body works: headaches, muscle tension and pain, feeling dizzy, chest pains, breathlessness, dry mouth, dizziness, bowel and bladder problems
- How we behave: temper outbursts, increased drinking and smoking, problems sleeping, continually on the go, talking more or faster
If you feel stressed you can tackle it by reducing the demands made on you and increasing your ability to cope with life, or you can ask for help.
There are many ways that you can help yourself but a good place to start is by looking after yourself in the ways listed above. Talk to someone who can help and support you, such as your family, a friend, your manager or a human resources advisor at work.
Getting professional help
If self-help does not seem to be working for you, find out if your employer has an employee assistance programme (EAP) which can give you advice on how to tackle your difficulties and improve your health. Alternatively, occupational health can help. Your employer may also also have a workplace counselling service. Your GP can recommend further therapies and give advice on managing your symptoms.
Read our booklet on stress and worry for more information and advice on how to recognise stress and how to manage it. This booklet also provides information on how to seek professional help if needed.
Useful websites for further information
- NHS Choices Moodzone: gives useful information about common mood problems and what you can do about them
- Mindfulness: uses meditation and breathing techniques and reduces stress by paying attention to the present moment
- Free online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): self-help resources are available at Moodgym and Living Life to the Full
- In an emergency, The Samaritans will give immediate support on 08457 90 90 90
- For doctors, Health for Health Professionals provides specific information and sources of help for doctors.
CNWL Occupational Health Service can also offer you advice and information on the following: