A Plan for Wellness

Today, Talent in Logistics shines a spotlight on wellness, with the TIL Wellness Action Plan. But what is a wellness action plan, and how can it help? Read on to find out.

Wellness is something of a workplace buzzword these days, but before you scratch it off your bingo card and move on, you would do well to give wellness some deeper thought. Too often, wellness is either left by the wayside as a nice idea that, in practice, we don’t have the time to pursue; or worse still, dismissed as an HR gimmick.

Even if we acknowledge the mountain of evidence that wellbeing is crucial to both productivity and job satisfaction, it takes a shift in habits and perspective to put that knowledge into effective practice. On an individual level this often requires a step change in the way we see not only work but ourselves.

Wellness action plans are a means of doing just that. They offer a simple, structured approach to addressing wellness that focuses firmly on practical action. And no, you don’t need an extant mental health condition to benefit. All you need is an open mind, and to put aside a little time to consider your habits and circumstances.

In the TIL Wellness Action Plan, we ask you to start by thinking about these questions:

  • What are the key pressures and obstacles you find yourself dealing with right now?
  • How are they affecting your sense of wellbeing/mental health?

Don’t worry about writing anything down just yet; simply mull these questions over in your mind and see what you come up with. Answers to the first question might include issues with work from home, for instance, whether that means a sense of isolation, difficulty with self-management, or a hectic home environment you find it hard to work out of.

Answers to the second question might be more nebulous, but try to take into account not only how you feel right now, but the general trend over the past weeks and months.

Now we’ve considered obstacles to wellness in general, lets do a more thorough analysis. Our objective here is to identify both specific problems and the practical steps that can be followed to solve them.

Grab a piece of paper or pad and write out detailed answers to the following questions. Aim for more than a few lines: anything up to about half a page is good; more if the situation demands it.

  1. How would you describe your sense of wellbeing/mental health right now, over the past few months, and in general?

If it is difficult to answer this question, try keeping a journal for a week or two in which you jot down thoughts and feeling a few times a day. This can be an eye-opener, revealing patterns or changes you might not otherwise be aware of.

  1. How would a period of poor mental health/wellbeing negatively affect your life at home and at work?

You know yourself better than anyone, so the best placed person to predict the kinds of obstacles, symptoms and repercussions of poor mental health is you. Remember, everyone experiences difficulty differently. There are no right or wrong answers.

  1. Are there any early warning signs you or your colleagues/managers could use to identify when a period of poor wellness is approaching?

Think about both behavioural changes others can look out for, and thought processes/patterns you can spot yourself.

  1. What are the key issues which cause you stress and difficulty? Consider both present moment obstacles and general triggers which can cause you to feel pressure.

Again, journaling can help to track and monitor this, too, so consider looking into the question on a rolling basis over time.

  1. How might you adapt your habits and working environment to alleviate specific problems?

The key here is to focus on the more diagnostic questions above and what you learned from answering them. Pick specific problems, especially ones which cause your pressure levels to spike, and consider practical, SMART targeted solutions.

These might include changes to the layout of your workstation, creating a ‘quiet period’ in your household at a certain time of day, taking a healthy walk over lunchbreak, or setting an alarm to remind you to eat a nutritious breakfast, for example.

  1. What can your employer do to help minimise triggers and provide support when things are tough?

Prevention is often better than cure, so try to consider how problems can be headed off before they arise. Nevertheless, it’s important to recogise that this is not always possible, and that there is no shame in asking for or receiving additional support should the need arise.

Now you’ve analysed the potential problems and solutions, the final stage is to communicate. Consider using this wellness action plan as the basis for a conversation with your employer, or even providing them with your written responses. Above all, check back in regularly with yourself and your plan. A wellness action plan can be a powerful weapon when you are struggling, but it is not a fire-and-forget solution. Revise your plan, answers and approach as and when things change.