By Evan Nelson
Ensuring your team is healthy on the shop floor is an important part of preventing burn out and decreased productivity. While numerous training videos have no doubt shown you some of the ways your team can be healthy and stay safe in the autobody industry, there are only so many things a WHMIS information video can teach you. Below you’ll find some simple and innovative ways that you can maintain your health while working in the autobody industry, without having to overhaul your entire way of life.
When you think of healthy eating, images of raw fruits and vegetables might come to mind. But there are many ways that you can make small, lasting changes in not only what you eat at work, but how you eat it. The Public Health Agency of Canada says that high-fat foods can negatively affect your appetite, body weight, and gastrointestinal system. But the food itself is only a small part in eating healthy. Consider some of these questions when thinking about your workday lunch routine: Do you eat in a rush? Do you eat alone? Do you eat too little during the workday, and/or too much after work? Do you consume a lot of caffeine from coffee, tea, energy drinks, or soda? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, answering yes to any of these questions may mean you are putting additional strain on your body.
But don’t worry! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a major shift in your lifestyle. It can be as simple as sitting down with a coworker for lunch. If your lunch breaks are short, consider bringing a lunch from home to avoid wasting precious minutes waiting in line. If you do plan on eating take-out or fast food for lunch, try making it a Friday treat, and supplement it with healthy snacks from home. Consider asking a coworker or two to make these healthy changes with you, so that you all feel inspired to keep up the good work.
Get the Team Involved in Workplace Safety
This might seem obvious, but staying healthy at work starts with being safe at work. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has a number of helpful fact sheets for those wondering how they can improve the safety of their workplaces. While some of these fact sheets include detailed checklists for management, many of them are more accessible to the everyday worker. Its “Checklist for General Inspection,” for example, gives ideas for how workers can be more mindful about the physical space they work in. Consider areas of your workplace such as stairwells, floors, and storage areas. Are certain areas more cluttered than others? Are supplies piled too high? Are there ways that you could store your tools and supplies in a safer or more efficient way? Are spills and leaks dealt with quickly? Being mindful about the physical space that you inhabit can help you make it a safer place for you and your coworkers. Even something as simple as grabbing a wet floor sign when you see the need for one can help to keep the space safe for everyone, as well as keeping you invested in the wellbeing of your workplace.
Staying healthy at work doesn’t have to be a herculean task. Being healthy is about making small, meaningful changes that you know you will be able to turn into positive habits. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try asking your coworkers if they would be willing to jump on board with you. But regardless of whether you tackle these issues alone, or as part of a group, these changes should ultimately help make your work easier and more enjoyable.
Light Excersie and Mindfulness
Yoga might seem like an overwhelming or nerve-wracking experience, or it might just seem like something that isn’t for you. For your first few classes, this might even seem to be true. Andrew Jobes, a yoga instructor from Peterborough, Ont. says that oftentimes the first few classes can be awkward as you learn how your body moves within different poses. But, as he explains in his article “I Can’t Do Yoga Because...” that is no reason not to try. “Self-acceptance and courage—acting despite our fears—are not only huge contributors to taking that first class, but are also developed and reinforced as we continue our practice.” In an industry where your body spends so much time working for you, it might be nice to return the favour. According to the Cleveland Clinic of Canada, you can expect improved posture and flexibility, reduced stress, and an increase of overall body and core strength as a result. You can even choose which form of yoga you’d like to try: many wellness centres such as the YMCA offer classes in multiple forms of yoga. Try calling your local wellness centre to find out which classes might be best for you.
But if yoga still seems like an impossible feat, perhaps meditation or mindfulness could be a less daunting alternative. Platforms such as YouTube have a near-endless supply of guided meditations available for those who feel they may not be ready to step into a meditation class. According to the U.S National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation may help to reduce blood pressure, alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and lessen anxiety, depression, and insomnia.