Summer is on its way, and temperatures are heating up across the country. While the warm weather is perfect for the beach, it can put additional stress on your body, particularly if you’re working in a physically intensive role.
Safety is a key concern at Pacific National, and this extends far past policies and regulations. Instead, we want to take more of an all-encompassing approach by encouraging every member of our workforce to be proactive in maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing. As the end of the year draws near, it’s important for us all to stay focused on our health. Here are five ways you can get started:
1. Keep water intake up as seasonal changes hit
Many of us fall into the habit of not drinking water over the winter months, but it’s vital that we break this routine as the country heats up for summer. Why?
Well, the higher temperatures put you at greater risk of dehydration, which places significant amount of stress on both your mind and body. The National Health and Medical Research Council explained that a mere 2 per cent loss of body water can cause a range of negative effects, some including:
- A decrease in physical ability
- Difficulty focusing on mental tasks
- Greater chance of developing kidney stones
- Poor oral health
The risks are clear, but how much water should you actually be drinking? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, and your specific intake needs will depend on your body, lifestyle, activity levels and a range of other factors. With this in mind, however, the government-backed Better Health Channel suggested that women should be drinking around 2.1 litres of fluids per day, while men should be getting around 2.6 litres.
2. Take frequent breaks
It goes without saying that hard workers are an incredibly valuable part of Pacific National and the logistics industry as a whole, but that doesn’t mean that you should be pushing yourself to the limits day in and day out. Doing so may make you more productive for a brief period of time, but it’s simply not a sustainable way of operating, and will sooner or later lead to burnout.
To help our workers get home safely every day, we put a strong emphasis on supporting our employees to take care of their own fatigue levels. This is particularly important in our Pacific National division, where we have many shift workers operating on the front lines. A lapse in concentration in this sector of the business could easily result in injury, so it’s imperative that our employees are alert and aware of their environment.
Ensuring that our employees understand how to deal with this and minimise their fatigue is essential. Providing mandatory training, management tools and ongoing learning opportunities is an integral part of this process, but ultimately the responsibility rests with our employees.
In addition to balancing your social life with your career, one of the key ways of staying switched on at work is to take frequent breaks. Having a quick coffee or going for a brisk walk between tasks can help you stay focused, be more aware of hazards in the workplace and reduce the chance of an accident.
3. Take steps to manage stress
Due to the time constraints of the job and our desire to always meet and exceed the expectations of our clients, working in the transport and logistics sector can be demanding. While some people thrive in the fast paced environment, for others it’s a bit more challenging, and their careers can sometimes feel like a never-ending source of stress.
This isn’t unique to the world of rail freight and port management. In fact, almost half of all Australians (44 per cent) report their workplace to be a source of stress, according to figures collated by the Australian Psychological Society.
These statistics suggest that work-related tension is fairly widespread. The challenge for employers, therefore, is how to minimise stress among employees and give them the tools they need to improve and maintain their mental wellbeing.
One of the ways we’ve achieved this at Pacific National is through R U OK? Day. Held on September 10, the initiative aimed to boost awareness of mental health issues by encouraging our employees to support each other with one simple question: Are you okay?
While R U OK? Day was a resounding success: it’s worth remembering that mental health is an ongoing issue. If you’re struggling with work, be sure to take steps to identify your key sources of stress and implement a strategy that will help you deal with these factors more effectively. Our Employee Assistance Program, which offers a free and confidential counselling service for Pacific National employees and family members, will be able to provide you with additional advice and support.
4. Eat snacks throughout the day
In recent years, snacking has been demonised as a fast lane to weight gain and all the associated health risks. However, when the right types of food are nibbled on in appropriate amounts, a quick munch between main meals can actually provide a lot of benefits.
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) found that clever snacking could play a role in:
- Improving how you manage your calorie intake
- Maintaining a more consistent insulin response
- Lowering your blood cholesterol
- Enabling active people to ingest enough calories to meet their high energy lifestyle
This last point is especially significant for people working physical roles in the logistics chain, such as our stevedores. Having a large midday lunch may not provide you with sufficient nutrients, but snacking on healthy treats at regular intervals throughout the day will give you the energy to stay focused and in peak physical condition.
5. Recharge the body
We’re all well aware that we should incorporate exercise and healthy eating into our lives, but what many people overlook is the importance of getting enough rest. In fact, more than (5 per cent) of Australians don’t get enough sleep, according to figures collated by healthcare providers Bupa.
The key takeaway here is to make sure you get enough rest. The Sleep Health Foundation recommended that most adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of shut-eye every night, though this will vary between people.
In addition, while it may not be high on your list after a long day on your feet, a quick 15-minute stretching routine after work can help you relieve stress, tension and reenergise your body and mind.