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Maintaining healthy choices

What you need to do

Employers should encourage employees to continue to keep healthy choices while they are working from home.

Why this is important for you

For many of us, the coronavirus outbreak is an unexpected and sudden change in our daily routine. This can lead to staff feeling anxious and vulnerable and make unhealthy food choices, increase cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption as a way of coping with the unfamiliar.

As an employer it is important to encourage employees to look to make healthier eating choices as it can positively impact their energy levels, stabilise their blood sugar and help to maintain a stable mood.

How you can support your employees

You could offer e-learning programmes or signpost to advice on topics of health and wellbeing with a focus on healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices. Reminding employees that they can make the activity fun, participative and reduce the possibilities of unnecessary snacking by creating healthy eating plans with and for the entire family.

Sticking to a schedule for mealtimes helps continue a sense of normal routine and keeps blood sugar levels stable. Substituting fruits and nuts as healthier snack options will help overall mood and energy levels to remain stable. While at home, individuals may forget to stay hydrated. It is important to maintain a regular intake of fluids, especially water.

The Government has also highlighted the risks to smokers from COVID-19, and you could encourage smokers in the workforce to #QuitforCovid. Exposure to secondhand smoke is also likely to exacerbate the risks from coronavirus, alongside the other harms it causes. Therefore, smokers who are self-isolating and are not able to go outside to smoke should be encouraged to seek alternatives such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or e-cigarettes to protect the people around them from harm.

For smokers, quitting or temporarily stopping during this outbreak is one of the best things they could do right now. Many stop smoking services are looking at how they can support people remotely.

This might also be a time when staff are increasing their alcohol intake as an response to stress and anxiety.  Mindful messaging to encourage alcohol awareness as well as highlighting the impact on lowering mood and weakening of the immune system will also help towards action employees can take to reduce their susceptibility to germs and viruses.

 You can find further support on making healthy choices at the links below: