Staff General Wellbeing
The Occupational Health Department at the University of Huddersfield aims to promote the health of staff. The following sections relate to local sources of assistance and projects undertaken by members of the team as part of their Health@Work activities.
We also coordinate the Staff Pop Choir, Singing has been shown to deliver a host of physical and emotional benefits, including increased aerobic exercise, improved breathing, posture, mindset, confidence and self-esteem. New members are always welcomed.
We are always interested in your views. if you have any comments or ideas you would like to pass onto the Wellbeing team please email Staff.firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below for information on the following:
Why should I stop smoking?
- Live a longer, healthier life. 50% of all long term smokers die early due to smoking related diseases such as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Smoking causes approximately 90% of all lung cancers.
- Breathe more easily, within 9 months of giving up smoking you should cough less and breathe more easily as your lung capacity improves by up to 10%. This can be difference between an active, healthy old age and struggling to climb the stairs.
- Look younger, Non-smokers skin gets more nutrients and oxygen, so stopping smoking can slow facial ageing and delay the appearance of wrinkles.
- Have more energy, within 3 months of stopping smoking your blood circulation improves. This makes physical activity easier, can reduce tiredness and headaches.
- Improve your fertility, stopping smoking improves the lining of the womb and can improve sperm quality. Stopping smoking also decreases the chances of miscarriage.
- Feel less stressed, Nicotine withdrawal between cigarettes can increase feelings of stress, this is because our bodies confuse the stress of withdrawal with other stresses. It may therefore feel like smoking reduces stress but the opposite is true. Scientific studies found peoples stress levels lower after they stop smoking.
- Have an improved sense of smell and taste. As your mouth and nose stop being dulled by harmful chemicals found in cigarettes you should notice food tastes and smells better. In addition to this your general oral health should improve leading to fresher breath and whiter teeth.
- Protect your loved ones, Breathing second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Children who live in a smoking household are more at risk of chest infections, ear infection, asthma and are 3 times more at risk of developing lung cancer than children from smoke free homes.
No Smoking Day takes place annually.
Benefits of cutting down alcohol consumption
By reducing your alcohol consumption you could:
- Improve your long term health. By reducing alcohol consumption you reduce your risk of developing cancer, liver disease, heart disease and reduce your blood pressure.
- Improve your sleep. When you drink excessive amounts of alcohol you sleep less deeply, you are more likely to wake up early and not be able to get back to sleep.
- Improve your energy levels. Alcohol can have a negative impact on your immune system making it harder to fight off bugs. Couple this with the negative effects of alcohol on sleep and mood, drinking in excess can make you feel tired, glum and under the weather.Could improve your mood. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol interferes with the neurotransmittes in your brain, this can lead to low moods the day after you have been drinking heavily.
- Improve your skin. Alcohol dehydrates your skin, this can make your skin look dull and grey. Skin quickly recovers and could start to look better within a few days of reduced alcohol consumption.
- Lose weight. Alcoholic drinks are often high in calories. A pint of beer a day has the same number of calories as 4 burgers.
- Reduce indigestion and diarrhoea. Alcohol irritates the stomach causing it to produce more acid than usual, this can lead to stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Why should I exercise?
If you exercise regularly you could reduce your risk of:
- Osteoarthritis by 83%.
- Hip fracture by 68%.
- Type 2 diabetes by 50%.
- Colon cancer by 50%.
- Coronary heart by 35%.
- Depression by 30%.
What counts as regular exercise?
To remain healthy an adult should be active daily and should do 150 minutes of exercise over a week. For exercise to count your heart rate needs to increase, you should breathe faster and feel warmer. Easy ways to fit exercise in include walking or cycling to work.
Staying Active in the Workplace
Most of us know that being active is good for our health. But more evidence is emerging that even if you exercise regularly, spending a lot of time sitting down can still be bad for you. People who spend long periods of time sitting have been found to have higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death from all causes. If your job is desk based, it can be difficult to avoid this, but there are ways to help us keep active in the workplace.
Meetings often involve spending a lot of time in a seated position with minimal physical activity, limited access to fresh air and consumption of foods high in sugars and fats, such as cookies and other snacks during coffee breaks. The World Health Organisation has released guidelines for employers and meeting organisers to promote healthier and more sustainable meetings.
The guide includes the following simple yet easily applicable ideas:
- ensure that fresh fruits and vegetables are the basis of any snacks provided;
- reduce portion sizes to discourage overeating and decrease food waste (for example, cut baked goods or sandwiches in half);
- choose wholegrain foods such as whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice;
- avoid offering sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and juice drinks in favour of water, served plain or with the addition of fresh cut fruits, vegetables or fragrant herbs for additional flavour;
- choose products with lower salt content and request that caterers reduce the amount of salt in the menu – ask them to use herbs, spices and acids (vinegar and lemon or lime juice) for flavouring instead; and
- offer participants appropriate opportunities to be physically active by incorporating physical activity into the meeting agenda or by allowing enough time during lunch breaks for people to be physically active and to refocus their minds.
Read the full guidelines here
Five steps to mental wellbeing
- Be active, exercise is linked with reduced levels of depression and anxiety.
- Connect, relationships are vital for wellbeing and helps to shield against mental ill health.
- Learn, lifelong learning promotes good self-esteem.
- Give, Studies show that people who give to or help others are more likely to feel happy.
- Be mindful, Studies have shown that being aware of the present moment, your thoughts and feelings can have a positive impact on the way you view your life and how you approach new chanllenges.
Information on mental health awareness and stress can be found at the following websites:
For further resources on stress management go to the Occupational Health Stress page.
PHE has launched a sleep and recovery toolkit for all employers which consolidates the best evidence, employer practice and aligned with the best freely available resources.
Benefits of eating 5 a day
- Fruit and vegetables contain key vitamins ans minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.
- They are a great source of fibre, important to maintain a healthy bowel and prevent constipation. A high fibre diet can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
- Fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
- Fruit and vegetables are low in fat and calories, eating them can help maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy.
The Eatwell Guide
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Have dairy or dairy alternatives. They are a good source of protein and calcium.
- Base meals on starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta. They are a good source of energy.
- Eat meat, beans, pulses, fish, eggs. They are a good source of protein.
- Drink plenty of fluids such as water, lower-fat milks and sugar free drinks.
Waist to hip ratio is increasingly being used to determine if a person needs to lose weight and improve their diet and exercise levels.
More information on healthy eating can be found on the British Heart Foundation
The menopause is when a person stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly.
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for the menopause is 51.
However, around 1 in 100 experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency.
For more information see: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/sexual-and-reproductive/menopause
For information about the impact of the Menopause in the workplace, see this free Webinar: https://www.posturite.co.uk/webinars/2018-webinars/managing-menopause-in-the-workplace
Also, see this podcast episode