Health at work

If you're like most people, you likely spend more time working at your job or profession than doing anything else, including sleeping. That's a lot of time.

With all that time spent in the workplace, there's a tremendous potential for the work environment to have a significant impact on your health. In fact, the habits you create related to your health while at work often become the basis of your overall practices around health in your life.

During my 20-plus years working in the corporate sector as a human resources professional "“ much of that time as a single parent with two kids in a very fast-paced, demanding environment within a Fortune 500 company "“ I witnessed my friends and colleagues in poor physical condition, completely stressed out and struggling to take proper care of themselves. It broke my heart to see people sacrificing their well being, trying to do what they thought was most important while both their health and their performance on the job were diminishing.

When I noticed the same in myself, I made a decision to change the situation from within. Starting first with consciously establishing a few foundational healthy habits and boundaries for myself, then joining the team working on the new integrated health initiative where I worked.

I learned that there are a lot of things an individual can do to enhance and maintain his or her health and wellbeing at work. In this "First Shots" blog series, I'll be sharing tips and key strategies that you can implement right away to improve your health in mind, body, and spirit both at work and beyond.

The place to begin is with your awareness. Take an honest look at your current state of health. When was the last time you had a full physical with your physician or health professional? Do you have any presenting issues, problems, pain, risk factors or concerns related to your health? How have you been feeling? Do you have enough energy to accomplish what you must and to enjoy the things that bring happiness and fulfillment to your life?

If you had a magic wand and could change anything about your health, what would you change? Would you shed the 10, 20, 50, or 100 lbs that you keep struggling with? Would you finally stop smoking? Would you luxuriate in a deep, restorative, night's sleep? Would you at last be able to quiet your busy mind, relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders, and experience the blessing of a hearty laugh? Take a moment to ponder and write down your responses to these questions.

In the coming weeks, we'll talk about the basic principles and practices of a healthy lifestyle and how you can begin to integrate a few key practices that will help you feel better and be more effective both at work and at home.

Lisa G. Jing is Founder/CEO of Synergy at Work, Inc., a consulting/training firm dedicated to transforming the workplace into an environment where people are their whole and best selves. She is a corporate health and wellness consultant with an M.A. in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University.