New Year’s resolutions or not, it’s pretty tough to start healthy habits during the coldest and darkest parts of the year! But we’re betting that wellness is still top of mind, whether your intention is to avoid getting sick, to maintain your weight, or to start hitting the gym.
Proper diet, regular exercise, and healthy sleep routines are also necessary to ward off illness. Cold and flu season stretches from November to March, and infects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Businesses and employers can help to respond
We’ve got a few ideas to help keep yourself and your workplace healthier from January and beyond.
1. Launch a steps challenge! Set a daily target, such as 10,000 per person per day, or work together as a team to reach a larger steps goal.
2. Offer guided meditation in a quiet conference room.
3. Track steps with fitness trackers or pedometers. (Did you know you can get corporate discounts for bulk purchases?) Or work with IncentFit, which can also sync with 30+ apps and devices.
4. Start a yoga challenge. Try to start a habit of doing 10 minutes of yoga every day for a month.
5. Hit the gym! Offer an incentive to your employees for visiting the gym or maintaining a membership. (We can help with that.)
6. Help reduce the financial barrier to wellness with corporate gym discounts.
7. Start a stand-up ritual. Sitting can be just as dangerous as smoking! Set calendar reminders to stand up and stretch or walk around every hour or so.
8. Share this tip: Adults who exercise regularly are 43% less likely to contract upper respiratory infections in the winter.
9. Can’t go outside? Start a “winter warmer” workout group. Meet as a group inside and try 20 minutes of stretching, yoga, or light group exercise once or twice a week.
Food and Drink
10. Help your employees choose better snacks and avoid a mid-afternoon sugar crash by providing healthy snacks, seltzer, and fresh fruit. (So tempting during Girl Scout cookie season.)
11. Buy high-quality branded water bottles for your team. Drink up to combat winter dehydration.
12. Try a healthy monthly potluck. Publish a signup sheet in a visible spot, or make it digital for easy use. Encourage recipe sharing.
13. Offer non-dairy or plant-based milk for coffee. (Plant-based diets have tons of proven health benefits https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-benefits!)
14. Eat more green and orange vegetables this season. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, squash, carrots and oranges are all delicious during the winter, and rich in iron, folate and other important nutrients.
15. Overhaul the vending machine with high protein, whole grain, and low-sugar picks. Even better if you can support local vendors!
16. Publish a regular workplace wellness newsletter highlighting fitness, nutrition, and personal wellness tips.
17. Schedule a “Clean Your Clutter Day.” A clean and organized space is much more inviting for creativity and focus, and can reduce stress.
18. Host a social event and toast to your successes large and small.
19. Make it fun! Organize outdoor activities like ice skating, skiing, or even a fun run. Offer incentives or gift cards to encourage participation.
20. Share this tip: the cold season ignites our cravings for carbs and sugar, because it helps temporarily boost serotonin…but can lead to a crash. A better way to counter this is with a protein-packed breakfast and small snacks (like almonds) throughout the day.
21. Start a flu prevention campaign. The best preventative measures include an annual flu vaccine, effective hand washing and hand sanitizer use, and to routinely clean communal objects and spaces (like your desk, doorknobs, or the office kitchen.)
22. Establish a sick time and work from home policy that supports your team. Encourage people to actually take time off when they’re sick, and then practice what you preach! Don’t come into work while you’re not well.
23. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
24. Install hand sanitizer kiosks in high-traffic areas.
25. Don’t forget mental health. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects thousands of people across the United States. Remind employees of the symptoms and offer an EAP if possible.