Get ready to mark your employee communications calendar—and cross-reference with your wellbeing program—because we’ve got a list of health and wellness holidays you’ll want to promote in the first quarter of 2019!
So, why are these days important? While we believe that every special day should be celebrated—even national Pizza Pie Day on Saturday, February 9, 2019—certain days call our attention to health and wellness behaviors that make the biggest impact on employee wellbeing. As employers and advocates of workplace wellness, anything we can encourage our colleagues (and our loved ones at home) to learn more about relevant topics is helpful—and healthful.
Here are some holidays (some lasting up to a week or month!) you might want to introduce to your employees, using our tips to get buzzing about them for maximum engagement:
National Sugar Awareness Week: January 14-18, 2019
What a sweet topic to kick-off the New Year. Sugar in and of itself isn’t a “bad” thing, but overeating and bingeing sugar can lead to health problems and side effects many of us are all too familiar with. By now, most people have had their fair share of sugar-laden holiday baked goods and libations…perfect timing for some sugar awareness.
Engagement tip: Round up some employees to participate in the Sugar Awareness Challenge and omit dietary sugar for 5 days (get details from the official National Sugar Awareness Week website). The average American consumes 150-170 pounds of refined sugars in one year, so what’s less than one week without them?
National Blood Donor Month: January
Every 2 seconds, according to the American National Red Cross, someone in the US needs blood. And let’s face it: your workforce has blood to give. Even if some employees aren’t eligible to donate—or if just the thought of it makes them turn pale—they might have a family member or friend who’s interested in participating in a morale-boosting blood drive that literally saves lives.
Engagement tip: After sharing some facts about National Blood Donor Month with your employees in a colorful infographic to get them excited about the prospect of helping others by donating, invite them to a blood drive—the one you’re hosting at your office, of course. All you’ll need a large open room with space for privacy, volunteers, and donors, and the Red Cross provides help with planning, recruitment, equipment, staff, and everything else you need. To get the process moving, visit American Red Cross.
National “Wear Red” Day for Women’s Heart Health: February 1, 2019
The first Friday of every February—American Heart Month, by the way—your workforce can stand united in the national effort to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths. In other words, the topic is relevant to your entire workforce.
Engagement tip: Host a heart-healthy luncheon or snack break, using the occasion to educate employees about cardiovascular disease and what they can do to improve their lifestyle habits. The Go Red for Women website offers downloadable resources like posters, email banners, and social media messages you can use to communicate with your workforce and get them involved in either wearing red or donating to the cause.
International Boost Self-Esteem Month: February
According to Psychology Today, self-esteem functions like an emotional immune system, meaning those with higher self-esteem are less affected by stress and anxiety. (You’ve read the statistics on stress’s impact on employee absenteeism and presenteeism, right?) Yet, they posit, the “modern workplace presents some formidable psychological hazards” that employers can help improve. Before you write this mental health holiday off as psycho-babble, consider how your workplace could benefit by employees who have healthy levels of pride and self-confidence.
Engagement tip: Tackling self-esteem in the workplace doesn’t need to be tricky, too touchy-feely, or even clinical. A great way to get your employees involved in self-esteem-boosting activities is to share ideas and resources with them throughout the month. You can make them aware of some of the concepts (e.g. positive vs. negative self-talk) that help define self-esteem as well as tools (e.g. exercise, sleep, and self-care) that help them address their personal self-esteem concerns.
Bonus tip: Schedule a management training session with company leaders to teach them skills that build confidence among their employees. For ideas, check out these 7 Ways to Build Your Employees’ Self-Confidence from Success magazine and these tips for building employee confidence from the American Management Association.
National Sleep Awareness Week: March 4-10, 2019
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that a good night’s sleep can help individuals meet their personal, family, and professional goals. Yes, professional goals! Well-rested employees show up at work ready-to-go…even if they’re fortified with some morning coffee.
Engagement tip: Let NSF do the heavy-lifting for you so you can have a relatively restful week. Start by downloading NSF’s Sleep Awareness Week infographic, posters, website logo, social media messages, and other content to share with employees. Then send an email asking your employees to check out NSF’s Bedtime Calculator for sleepy-time inspiration. And don’t miss any of the facts and resources offered up at Sleep.org, paying special attention to their work-related content!
American Diabetes Alert Day: March 26, 2019
The American Diabetes Association reports that one in three Americans is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Do your employees know this? Did you know that, according to the CDC, of the $245 billion spent on health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes, $69 billion covers indirect costs including disability payments and time lost from work. All in all, employers and their workers need to know what’s at stake when a diagnosis of diabetes is made. Why not take steps to help prevent it in the first place?
Engagement tip: Plan to get your employees involved in some preventive education! The American Diabetes Association’s website will be introducing an Alert Day toolkit to help employers get employees involved in workplace-friendly activities. And if you head over to their Wellness Days page, you’ll find more resources—and perhaps get a head start planning for May 1, National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day!
Want more health and wellness holiday ideas?
Download your free 2019 Wellness Calendar for 130 important dates, monthly themes, plus Grokker programs!