Health and Wellness for Organizations

Organizations can support their workforce by creating a workplace that energizes and motivates employees and clients to participate in health and wellness practices. When staff in health professions model healthy behavior, it reinforces positive messages to clients. 

Any given health-promoting tool or strategy may work differently for each individual. We each have unique combinations of health conditions, social and physical environments, and ethnic, cultural, and personal history. Employers should strive to create recovery-friendly workplaces to support workers who are in recovery.

Health disparities exist due to factors like racism, poverty, wealth distribution, food supply chains, access to healthcare and education, environmental risks, and more. Wellness opportunities should be equitable, respecting a variety of practices and cultivating inclusion.

Organizations with a staff wellness program can have an edge in recruiting and retaining their workforce.

See Health and Wellness Dimensions»

Mindset

  • Mental strength based on inner resilience and a self-affirming outlook on life.

  • World view that shapes the your approach to decision making and level of resilience.

  • Positive mindset is the foundation for positive thinking and the mental strength to self-regulate, move forward with goals, and accept change as part of life. 

  • A positive mindset cultivates a positive recovery-oriented path and approach to sustaining recovery practices and directly addressing potential relapse challenges or triggers.

Mindset for Staff

Implement reflective supervision practices and workforce development strategies that aim to support positive rapport and mental agility among staff.

  • Provision of wellness benefits with flexibility for individual practices.
  • Promotion of professional and personal development practices.
  • Acknowledgement of individual and team achievements that value level of effort and commend staff strengths.
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Mindset for Administrators
  • Support and model a positive work culture by empowering positive organizational perspectives and attitudes.
  • Affirm solution oriented perspectives, and model organizational change with minimal negative impact on workplace culture.
  • Create an environment that energizes the workforce to move forward with personal and professional goals.
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Nutrition

A focus on what we feed our bodies, what is healthy, the food-mood connection, and simple food preparation. The intention is to bring awareness to how we nourish our bodies, to offer some education about ingredients and balanced diets and explore healthier choices and empower individuals to choose for themselves.

  • People with SUD may be malnourished and can gain excessive weight while in treatment. May not eat balanced meals and may tend to consume large amounts of processed foods, and caffeine, particularly energy drinks.
  • Benefits - What we consume affects the functioning of the mind, body, and spirit. Choosing to eat balanced food can be conducive to feeling strong, alert and energized, while simultaneously supporting serenity and relaxation.
Nutrition for Staff
  1. Provide healthy food options within the workplace (e.g., break rooms, meeting rooms, vending machines).
  2. Integrate the discussion of nutrition in the counseling and program activities- including how attention to what you are eating can help one feel better in body, mind, and spirit.
  3. Catered events and program activities are planned with a balanced diet focus and provide healthy food options.
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Nutrition for Administrators
  1. Model an organizational culture that supports balanced nutrition, eating mindfully, and healthy metabolism.
  2. Balanced nutrition through healthy food choices in the workplace and organization sponsored events.
  3. Eating mindfully by providing quiet space and time for staff breaks, meals and avoiding working lunch/meal meetings.
  4. Healthy metabolism by encouraging physical activities during the workday. If possible, provide opportunities and company discounts that support physical activities (e.g., walking, gym membership or on-site gym space, walking in nature meetings.)
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Physical Activity

The biological and physiological processes that compose the physical aspects of development and functioning. Engage in sufficient physical activity to keep in good physical condition; maintaining flexibility through stretching.  

Physical activity promotes strength, endurance, and vitality. It also promotes a strong sense of self-worth and self-control stimulating mental activity and a sense of direction.

Physical Activity for Staff

Employee physical health programs should be given equal attention to other dimensions of wellness, including spiritual, intellectual, and emotional constructs.

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Physical Activity for Administrators

Consider incorporating nature related physical activities, nature music, walking, work related activities in nearby parks, yoga, meditation/mindfulness in nature, eating lunch outside, outdoor café, outdoor food carts, and inclusion of sociocultural physical activities in retreats and educational opportunities.  

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Sleep

Sleep has been shown to be important in the following ways:

  • Better decision making and focus. 
  • Impact eating behaviors.
  • Reduce feelings of depression.
  • Increase ability to manage stress.
  • Decrease risk of additional chronic health conditions.

Effects of Substance Use on Sleep include:

  • Decreased length of sleep.
  • Decreased quality of sleep.
  • Inability to sleep when tired.
  • Sleeping in unsafe areas.
  • Sleeping more than intended.
Sleep for Administrators

Promote a healthy workplace by encouraging work life balance.

  • For example: Limit after-hours work communication.

Offer wellness and health promotion opportunities for employees emphasizing holistic health practices.

  • For example: Support mindfulness and meditation practices that positively impact sleep.

Design and implement programs and services specific to the needs of clients promoting wellness and health promotion.

  • For example: Develop community partnerships with yoga instructors, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) facilitators, and acupuncturists.
  • Build a skill set within your staff to offer these programmatic services.
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Sleep for Staff

Advocate for and participate in holistic health practices in your workplace that promote healthy sleep routines.

Facilitate holistic health practices in service delivery.

For example, encourage clients to:

  • Create daily rituals that include exercising, spending time in daylight, eating well and setting a consistent bedtime.
  • Decrease stimulating or troubling screen time, especially in the bedroom.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeinated, sweetened or energy boosting products including nicotine before bed.
  • Create a good sleep environment by decluttering and darkening your bedroom.
  • Utilize meditation or sleep stories before sleeping.
  • Individuals may be or have been impacted by racism, traumas, and may have also been impacted by COVID-19. Being sensitive to the current challenges that each individual is facing will help in being able to implement strategies to help them sleep better. Using the techniques mentioned above, along with encouraging clients to be patient with themselves, may also help. Keep in mind not everyone responds the same way to these challenges. There may be cultural, generational, differences. Inquire as to how these things may or may not be impacting them.
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Spirituality

A focus on one’s personal spiritual beliefs, uncovering feelings of wholeness, faith, and embarking on the quest for meaning in life.

  • Spirituality can help give our lives a sense of purpose or context and comes from a connection with self and others. It usually involves the development of personal values and the search for meaning in life. For some this will be a connection to a higher power.
  • In early recovery, some may feel very isolated, and it is crucial to increase inner strength and external support and connection. A person’s belief in his or her ability to heal or recover, his or her positive expectation of a return to wellness, affects the brain circuitry and decreases stress levels. Spirituality can improve resiliency since it may encompass the activation of the relaxation response, positive thinking, social support, belief and positive expectation, decrease fear, altruistic love, and a sense of connectedness to something greater than oneself.
Spirituality for Staff
  • Implement workforce development strategies that aim to support positive rapport and mental agility among staff.
  • Implement a provision of wellness benefits with flexibility for individual practices.
  • Affirm the value of diversity in the workplace by respecting different spiritual practices cultivating inclusion
  • Support individual spiritual practices with respect and flexibility.
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Spirituality for Administrators
  • Support and model positive work culture demonstrated by embracing the “whole person” approach. Doing so contributes to and supports “giving back” to society through community and volunteer services. This creates an environment that energizes the workforce to develop a sense of community and a sense of love and acceptance within a cultural context.
  • Support multiple paths of recovery and be intentional in efforts to include individuals who bring appropriate skill sets and reflect diverse backgrounds.
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Stress Reduction

During a stress response, we generally feel separated from those around us and from a higher power. In the relaxation response, we are more apt to feel a quality of oneness with those around us, and the needs of others. Substance use often modulates stress. Healthy stress management strategies can support recovery on physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual levels.

  • Everyone experiences challenges and painful situations in life. The way we manage the challenges of life impacts our experience of the situation, and therefore, the degree of suffering we experience. If the mind is agitated, and there is a perceived threat or environmental stressor, the body can go into Stress Response, also known as the fight or flight response, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and defense behavior. A normal and practical bodily reaction necessary for survival.
  • Stress reduction strategies can intervene in the response to promote personal well-being. Learning new coping skills for self-regulation to deal with life stressors and supports the recovery process by helping one feel confident, strong and at peace.
Stress Reduction for Staff

​​​​​​Promote safe space for staff to practice stress management within the workplace (e.g., quiet space for meditation, break rooms that disconnect from other workspace – outdoor/nature)

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Stress Reduction for Administrators
  • Promote well-being and self-care within the organization by encouraging and supporting work-life balance. (e.g., work schedules, vacations, and personal time)
  • Promote wellness practices among the workforce and service delivery.
  • Support the integration of stress reduction activities through workforce development strategies directly or indirectly through community partnerships (e.g., mindfulness and meditations, wellness coaching, and yoga certification.)
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