As we reflect on the challenges of the past few years, including the pandemic and the resulting “Great Resignation,” there is a growing consensus that self-care and vitality are more important than ever. Improvements to personal health and well-being can have a significant impact on all areas of life, including performance and satisfaction at work.
Studies show that employees who typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday are more than three times as likely to look for a new job in the next year, and 89% of Americans who left their job last year cited burnout as their reason for leaving. Research also shows that mental health issues among workers are responsible for considerable lost productivity and lower employee engagement and result in more days of lost work than chronic physical conditions.
The good news is that employers and employees alike are making workforce well-being a top priority. Employees are demanding better work-life balance and are looking to work for companies that prioritize employee health and well-being, while employers are enhancing resources and benefits. But, sometimes all it takes is a simple action or change of habit to add more vitality to our workday and boost our health and mental wellness.
At Cigna, our people take pride in maintaining a happy, healthy work environment and culture, and our company is committed to providing the resources for employees to thrive and live their healthiest lives. For inspiration on how to improve health and happiness at work, we recently asked our colleagues to share their top tips for simple, effective ways to add more vitality to the workday. Continue reading for their ideas and suggestions.
Stephanie Barker, Client Service Consultant at Cigna
Sometimes, all I need to add vitality to my day is a good laugh. Humor and laughter can be a powerful way to lift your spirits and add vitality to your day. During lunch or after work, I’ll look up clips of my favorite comedian for a quick laugh and a break to disconnect and reset.
Prashant Bhat, Senior Director, Business Transformation at Cigna
I make it a priority to connect with people that motivate and energize me. I find personal and professional connection help to raise my levels of vitality. No matter if it’s a work-from-home, hybrid, or in-person work environment, it’s important to set aside time to proactively reach out to your colleagues and work friends, and it’s equally important to introduce yourself to new people outside of your immediate circle who may also be seeking connection in the workplace.
Cindy Ellis, Staff Pharmacist at Express Scripts
Exercise and mindfulness help prepare me with more vitality for my workday – it only takes five to 10 minutes to completely reenergize your day. I do a quick yoga or stretching session in the morning, both of which you can do from the comfort of your home before work or during a break, or in the office. I recommend using a free app for a guided session to stay on track and get the most out of your time.
Sarah Heaton, Senior Implementation Manager at Cigna
I recommend a daily meditation session to reset and clear the mind of negative thoughts. Meditation can help provide a new perspective on the day, increase self-awareness, and reduce stress. I use an app called Wellbeats, which is available for free to all Cigna Corporation employees, but there are many different free apps and resources available to help guide you through meditation.
Lillian Martin, Telephonic Registered Nurse at Accredo
I spend a lot of time working at my desk, so I try to find unique ways to stay active and engaged throughout the day. Even though I’m sitting much of the day, one tip I have is to use an inflatable exercise ball in place of a desk chair. For me, the exercise ball keeps my legs moving and challenges me to keep my spine and abs engaged all day.
Ryan Miller, Safety Advisor at Cigna
I’ve found that carving out time to prioritize the upcoming workday, organizing or accomplishing tasks ahead of time, provides me the flexibility for weightlifting around the lunch hour, when time allows. Weightlifting invigorates me and provides stress relief and a general sense of well-being. I also recently decided to take action to improve my sleep quality – I discovered I have sleep apnea and was prescribed a CPAP machine, which has done wonders for my energy, mood, and recovery. I never knew a good sleep could do so much for me!
David Rojas, Sales Lead Associate at Cigna
Proper nutrition is one way I add more vitality to my workday. Eating lighter meals that are plant-based, with some protein, helps give me the energy I need to get me through my workday. By eating healthier, I feel better all around. My tip: As difficult as it may be, try to stay away from the enchiladas, lasagna, or burgers at lunch, or at least eat them in moderation. And for me, a good night sleep is also essential, regardless of diet.
Lynne Sain, Adverse Drug Event Nurse at Evernorth
Maintaining balance in your life is key to vitality throughout the workday. I always eat a healthy, balanced breakfast, get a good night’s rest, and maintain a positive attitude. I’ve also found that small changes to your work environment can help uplift vitality. Try keeping your environment well lit and add light music to keep up your energy.
Kristina Williams, Patient Care Advocate at Evernorth
As a patient care advocate, I spend a lot of time on the phone. I find it’s helpful to stay active while working. Walking around while on calls and investing in a standing desk is a small, effective way to keep your energy levels high and revitalize your day. Along with staying active, staying hydrated is also important – drink a lot of water!
Stephanie Young, Quality Review and Audit Analyst at Cigna
I add vitality to my workday by enjoying some sun and fresh air. When I need a rest from the computer screen, I take a quick break to go for a walk and reset. Going outside, even for five minutes, can have a big impact on your mental health. Research shows that the outdoors can help reduce stress and anxiety and lead to better overall health. The outdoors helps give me the vitality I need to come back to work and feel refreshed and energized.
Research: Vitality Fuels a Healthy Workforce
By better understanding vitality and the factors that impact it, including mental health, employers have a path to more deeply recognize the unique needs of their people and make meaningful investments in workforce health.