RUOK?

While most within our industry are not healthcare practitioners, much of what we do could fall into “wellness or wellbeing” services.  In fact, this element is one of the most important expectations in today’s consumers who visit a salon or clinic.  It is a well-established fact that prevention is better than cure.  

While technology in healthcare is rapidly evolving and the value of understanding the patient’s experience has been brought into the spotlight in recent years, the wellbeing of the providers has largely been ignored, bringing new meaning to another healthcare tenant: ‘do no harm’ and threatening the capacity of the system.

In the past decade, health has focused its energy on improving the client or patient experience, recognising that how the client feels about how they were treated when they were vulnerable, has an impact on their ability to get better.

Even in medicine, research has shown clearly that when a patient feels respected – seen and heard as a person with values, emotions, and opinions, and consequently, is included in decision making about their health, they have better perceived and real health outcomes.

In other words, the relationship is an active agent in providing the best healthcare for patients. The attitude and the systems that have evolved out of this near-universal commitment to patient-centered care have reduced errors and been a powerful way to deliver more often on the medical committee of doing no harm for patients.

While the research supports patient-centered care, and it is the right thing to do for patients, it is time for the next step in the evolution of health, as a human-centered endeavour. As is often the case, when we focus on one thing, we are prone to miss something else. The providers of wellness or healthcare are humans too. In the effort to continuously improve the delivery of care to clients and patients we may have in fact done harm to ourselves.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has also placed a lot of pressure on our own health as practitioners, as well as on our staff.

We already know that relationship is key to helping our clients or patients feel and getting better. The relationship is critical also to the practitioner who is providing personal care and wellbeing services. Being seen, heard, valued, and cared for are basic human needs that are also important to the caregiver.  They also need to stay well, so that they can continue to deliver effective services for others.

Human factors such as relationships and connections remain relevant for the well-being of others even more so in our technologically advanced world.

As a business owner or service provider, it is important that you and your staff regularly review your physical and mental health.  Establish a mental health program is essential.  You can start with simple protocols.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Introduce a wellness day, when you and your staff discuss ways that help you stay calm and well nourished both body and soul.  Share ideals and strategies, introduce an interesting article that makes recommendations of way to lower stress levels.
  • Discuss proven immune system boosters in both healthy food and supplements.
  • Introduce a simple relaxation and destressing protocol by way of an exercise, deep breathing, or a mindfulness strategy that can be implemented throughout the day to support mental health and wellbeing.
  • Choose to celebrate birthdays, or a celebration of an achievement of a college and wherever possible, provide support and positive feedback. Celebrate with your team.
  • Introduce a fun recreational day or activity that would be of interest to you and your team – even if it only once a month. Allow you team to know that you value them and are willing to invest in their wellbeing.
  • Review your music and switch to relaxation tones.

·       Introduce fresh flowers once a week into your business.

·       Introduce air purifying indoor plants such as Peace Lily, Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

·       Educate your team to explore healthy, wholesome herbal teas and learn to enjoy them together.

  • Above all, foster a culture of kindness, self-care and “caring for each other” mentality among your team.
  • Introduce timely breaks.
  • Invite a naturopathy, psychologist, or healthcare expert to speak to your team on helpful tips for improving sleep, releasing stress and improving nutrition and energy levels and implement some of their recommendations within your work environment.

Stress can progressively accumulate. Learn the signs and establish strategies to minimise their impact.

It is just as important to monitor your own health and wellbeing, as well as those who are under your care.  This includes not just your clients, but also your team, it will enable you to minimise illness and foster a happy and productive work environment.