Posted by: healingtheworkplace | May 12, 2010

How Healthy Is Your Workplace?

Hi there, Happy Canada Health Day!

This is a day to recognize how important our health is to us and to give thanks for having such a comprehensive health care system here in Canada.

Canada Health Day is sponsored by the Canada Health Association and the Canadian Public Health Association.

The following quote is from the Canada Health Day website:

“For over 100 years, public health in Canada has helped individuals to take care of themselves, their families and communities. The major advances in life expectancy, overall health, and quality of life that occurred in the twentieth century were the result of public health initiatives – producing vaccines, clean water, pasteurization and better living conditions.”

What I didn’t find on the website was any mention of the current health crisis facing workers in North America.

You only have to look at the recent editions of  the MacLean’s Magazine and the Canadian Business Magazine for evidence of what’s happening in our workplaces.

 The cover story of the May 10th, 2010 issue of the Canadian Business magazine is, Exhausted: You’re sleep deprived, so is everyone around you—and it’s costing the economy billions. And a week later, in the May 17th  issue of MacLean’s there is a special report entitled Working Ourselves Sick. 

The main cause of sleep deprivation seems to be work-related stress caused by too much work and/or problems with your boss.

Non-stop job stress is responsible for a number of maladies including depression, weight gain and heart disease. Adequate sleep is an important way for our bodies to  defend themselves against these health problems.

Since so many of us are affected by this health crisis, which is costing our country billions of dollars in lost productivity, I’m amazed that this hasn’t become a public health concern.

The billion dollar question is, “why is there so little attention paid to this public health problem?” What do you think?

The next question is what can we do to improve the situation?

Are you sitting down?

The simplest solution, according to the sleep experts, is an afternoon nap.

Afternoon naps (also known as siestas) are common in many parts of the world.

In North American the more progressive companies have implemented nap breaks and a few, such as Mountain Equipment Cooperative, actually have nap rooms.

Of course implementing something as simple as nap time will not be an easy task in a society in which more and more  workers are doing their own work plus the work of colleagues who have been “let go”.

 Oh, by the way, today is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Happy Birthday Florence!

Talk soon,

Lesley

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