We’re focusing on healthy teams, healthy hearts in recognition of American Heart Month for February’s Organizational Wellness Challenge. Just as heart health is key to a body’s physical wellness, healthy teams are key to organizational success. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in four deaths every year. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, individuals who have close relationships at home, work, or in their communities are often healthier because they are more successful at meeting health goals when they work on them with others. Help keep your organization’s most important asset (and your team’s hearts!) strong by encouraging heart healthy habits.
Heart Healthy Habits for Healthy Teams
- Publicize wellness benefits. Educate your team on how to take advantage of any health and wellness benefits your organization offers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings and vaccine clinics. You can’t improve what you don’t track. Knowing your numbers—how much you exercise, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol levels—and risk factors can improve heart health.
- Intentionally model movement. Whether your team is on site, remote, or hybrid, encourage folks to move by modeling the behavior and working movement into your team’s routines. Take a walk at lunch. Stand during meetings. Schedule walking one-on-ones. Small movements add up to big gains (or losses as the case may be) and benefits can be amplified in a team setting.
- Assess your environment’s risk factors. COVID-19 infection substantially increases risk of heart disease and can leave an estimated 15% of those infected with Long COVID, which can impact an individual’s ability to work. If your team is co-located, ask your building management how air is filtered, ventilated, and monitored and advocate for these systems to be modernized. In the meantime, open a window and put CO2 monitors and portable filters in shared spaces. Normalize masking in close quarters and maintain open, respectful lines of communication around the behavior. Make staying home when sick the expectation, not the exception.
- Manage stress. Stress impacts all the body’s systems—nervous system, hormones, lungs, gut, and especially the heart. Stress can increase the likelihood of heart disease and heart attack. Model stress management behaviors and proactively help your team by managing workloads and checking in with them regularly.
Take heart by tracking health information, moving more throughout the day, limiting risk, and managing stress. CEEK a Better Way during National Heart Month!