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Understanding The Importance Of Occupational Wellness

Understanding The Importance Of Occupational Wellness

The work-life balance includes feeling balanced while youre at work.

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of a work life balance, and so much of that balance requires you being able to separate yourself from your professional life. Of course, there are always a few emails to be answered, reports or proposals to be finished, projects worked on, and calls to be made when you’re not physically in the office (or remote but off the proverbial clock) and it’s OK to occasionally work during non-official work hours. For the most part, leaving work at work and fully focusing on the other aspects of your life is key to happiness and satisfaction. 

This balance between work and life promotes health and wellness of the mind, and when you are in a healthy state of mind in general, your overall success will improve when you are working. Also, you’ll be happier, and you can’t put a price on health, wellness, or happiness.

But that needed separation noted, being fulfilled and satisfied with your professional life also requires personal satisfaction while you are working. Thus the importance of occupational wellness.

What Does Occupational Wellness Mean?

(Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash)

First, to be clear, occupational wellness does not mean you are hitting career goals, doing work that’s financially rewarding, and getting along well with coworkers. Those things are all important, to be sure, but occupational wellness is not about what you are achieving but about how you are feeling. Only when you achieve occupational wellness can you truly gain personal satisfaction in your career while also being successful in your work.

Occupational wellness means you feel a sense of commitment to your job, you feel your work has a crucial influence on the success of your organization, and you feel empowered when working independently as well as when working with a colleague or a team. It means you have only a manageable amount of workplace stress with which you can effectively deal. And occupational wellness you feel seen, heard, and respected at work. 

There are many things that can help you achieve occupational wellness: engaging in work that you enjoy, create connections with your coworkers, working in such a way that suits your personal learning style, communicating and working together with colleagues. Overall, you want to balance work and leisure plans. If you're happy about the work you've accomplished, improving occupational wellness will be easier.

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In most cases, you can improve your sense of occupational wellness by doing your best work, standing up for yourself and supporting your peers (because nothing makes us feel better about ourselves than helping others) and rising to challenges. But because the achievement of occupational wellness necessitates doing work that has you feeling inspired and those feelings of respect and appreciation, in some work places, it simply might not be possible to realize.

If your current job just can’t provide that environment for you, that inspiration, respect, and conviviality, it may well be time to move on. Don’t stick with a job where you’re stuck doing work no one appreciates, where you are disrespected, or where you’re just not happy.

Why Is Occupational Wellness Important?

Group of friends happy, working in a library by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash
Photo by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash

Simply put, occupational wellness is important because you are important. If you don’t feel a sense of satisfaction and validation at work, the thing that likely occupies more hours than any other aspect of your life (with sleeping being the one possible exception, depending on how much rest you need for your own optimal sleep), then you are going to feel less overall happiness in life. And that just won’t do – your happiness matters deeply, and not only to you, but also to the others in your life. The better you feel personally, the more you will have to offer your family, friends, and neighbors. Do what’s called shadow work, taking that deep dive into self-reflection and a frank assessment of how your work affects your life, and make sure your intellectual wellness is not a victim of your career. 

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So too does occupational wellness matter in terms of your occupation. The better you feel about your work, the better the work you do will be. It’s not about simply working until you can escape to leisure time, in other words, it’s about feeling engaged and even happy while you work. You will get more done and the work you do will be better when you feel good about your job. And you’ll be a better colleague, also, in terms of the work you do in concert with others and simply in terms of being a person with whom it’s a pleasure to associate.

Tips On Improving Occupational Wellness

workplace mentor
(Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash)

As noted, there may well come a time when the only way to achieve occupational wellness is to make a career move. Before quitting a job, take a hard, honest look at your financial situation, your potential next moves, and also carefully consider whether the workplace is the issue or if it may be the work itself – people often find themselves sticking with a career that will never be all that rewarding and in which they may never thrive simply because it’s comfortable albeit unsatisfying. If you feel stuck in your work, consider talking to a career counselor before you quit, as these professionals can help guide your next move or, potentially, help redirect you within your current work situation.

If you do see the potential for better occupational wellness within your current job, so much the better. You have already taken a step toward improving your job satisfaction just by realizing you need more of it.

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The next step to take to improve your sense of occupational wellness is to seek out more training, experience, and the wisdom of others so you can be sure you possess all the tools and information needed to do your best work, because the better you are at your job, the better you will feel about your job. And as you work to better yourself at work, know that your personal learning style will play a role: you may want to shadow someone with more experience, to read up or watch training videos, or to expand your professional network to include more people who can be an asset.

It’s also critical that you relate well to your colleagues. Unless you are self-employed, occupational wellness is almost impossible if you don’t get along well with the people with whom you work. Improving coworker relationships can involve spending more time communicating with people at work as well as spending the occasional time with coworkers away from work. You don’t have to be friends with your coworkers, per say, but you must be friendly with them. Fortunately, they surely want the same thing.

And finally, take the time to be reflective. Thinking about your work, both in terms of long-term career goals and in terms of what you do to make each day better, is a much better approach them simply getting through each day. If it helps, you can even write out goals and action steps that will help make your wants, needs, and hopes more concrete.


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