Workplace stress is a prevalent problem, especially in today’s ‘’work hard, play hard’’ culture.
Stress statistics in South Africa
Statistics from the South African Federation of Mental Health report that most adults spend 50 – 80% of their waking lives at work.
Additionally, around 70% of employees experience severe stress that disrupts their daily functioning and overall performance. From the above statistics, it is evident that employee health is a vital component of workplace wellness.
Therefore, creating a culture of health at work is imperative to employee health and the success of the organisations that employ them.
What is stress?
There are many variations of stress that you might hear about from healthcare professionals or mental health experts, such as ”acute” or ”chronic” stress. Both types of stressors can harm your physical and mental health.
However, chronic stress, the most pervasive stress of all, often cause the most issues for people – especially within the workplace.
In recent years, employers have become increasingly aware of how stress can affect employees, especially those in high-pressure roles like CEOs and high-level executives.
Fortunately, employee research programs offer pivotal insight into the employee experience through data collected from interviews and surveys, most of which are discretionary.
Such insight provides employers with information and awareness on how to improve systems and offer a much better, health-conscious employee experience.
Employee wellness programs
Most employees expect their employer to provide workplace wellness programs and qualitative wellness options. Health and wellness are crucial aspects of the employee experience.
For example, many employers ”sell” a job role to prospective employees in various ways – with health and wellness programs at the forefront of job advertisements.
The advantages of corporate wellness programs
For organisations seeking to invest in a healthier workforce – there are many benefits to having an employee wellness program; such benefits include:
- A reduction in conflicts in the workplace
- Reduced rates of child abuse and domestic abuse
- Lower absenteeism rates
- Increased employee performance and higher productivity in the workforce
- Higher employee morale and a more positive work culture
- Improved workforce relationships between management and staff
Wellness and executive burnout programs
Executive stress and burnout are widespread problems for executives in high-pressure roles. The list of things to do is constantly piling; executives work harder, longer, and typically have more responsibilities than non – executives.
It should come as no surprise that executives are at higher risk of succumbing to the severe stress placed on them daily.
Studies show that over 62% of employees finish the working day with neck pain. The same survey showed that most people neglect their health and basic needs to complete work assignments or tasks.
For example, many admitted to skipping lunch to complete a work task, while others reported spending up to twelve hours a day on work-related projects.
Wellness and executive programs provide employees various benefits, including stress management and burnout prevention strategies.
Creating a culture of health
Executive wellness programs often include an immersive agenda. Inherently, such programs focus on creating and sustaining a ”culture of health”, an integrative program that is customised to meet the employee’s health status and needs.
The myriad advantages of executive wellness programs are limitless; employee wellness programs help to provide:
- Illness prevention and recovery
- Improved quality of life
- Positive lifestyle change
- Increased professional performance and productivity
- Stress relief
Entering an executive wellness treatment program
If you are considering going to an executive wellness treatment program – you probably already have an image of what to expect. Many retreat centres worldwide offer executive wellness programs; for a good reason, they work.
Taking agency of your life and reclaiming your energy, vitality, and mental and physical health is the primary goal of executive wellness programs.
Moreover, executive wellness retreat programs are not just for executives. People from all walks of life can engage in wellness programs – especially those who feel increased pressure to succumb to the daily demands of life.
Stress often builds over time, and wellness programs can give you the tools to cope when things get too much, allowing you to identify the warning signs of stress before things worsen.
Effective wellness should include an extensive aftercare and follow-up program that reinforces and supports sustainable behavioural change. Such programs must get backed by scientific research through expert advice and implemented programs that are proven effective.
What does an executive wellness program involve?
Many executives need time to recoup, an opportunity to reset their lives and gain perspective to plan a new, albeit healthier, way forward.
The above may include:
- Focusing on restoring your energy levels.
- Returning to wellness through deep relaxation.
- Unwinding and investing in yourself in luxurious, tranquil surroundings.
What stress does to us
Stress often paves the way for unhealthy behaviours, usually in the form of destructive coping mechanisms to deal with the backlog of pressure on the body and mind.
It is common for people to ignore the effect their lifestyle has on their health until they discover they are profoundly burnt out and cannot continue with ordinary functioning.
Inherently, stress impairs our ability to function; thus, wellness programs are therapeutic in that they help return people to baseline wellness.
What does an executive wellness program entail?
Executive wellness retreat programs offer different approaches to wellness and health care. However, the goal of wellness is always the same; to restore function and physical and mental health. Typically, executive wellness programs offer therapy, interactive activities, and luxury spa and accommodations.
Health and nutrition are vital aspects of the wellness experience, and most retreat centres offer gourmet food options and mouth-watering freshly prepared cuisines.
Some retreat centres offer 7, 10, 14, and 21-day wellness and detox programs – customised to suit your needs and requirements.
In addition, you will likely engage in intensive therapy throughout your stay, such as:
- Dialectical behaviour therapy
- Cognitive behaviour therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- 12 – step program
Dialectical behaviour therapy
DBT is an effective therapy for those with problems with emotion regulation, compulsive behaviours, and personal conflict. Other mental health disorders that DBT can help with are substance use disorder, major depression, and emotional trauma.
DBT focuses on teaching you four primary skills that can help you manage during periods of stress:
- Emotional regulation
- Distress tolerance
- Interpersonal effectiveness
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy, or CBT, continues to be a pioneering treatment for people with depression, anxiety, phobias, addiction, and sleep disorders. During CBT treatment, dysfunctional thinking patterns become the focal point from which your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours get explored.
For many people, such patterns are destructive – the intervention point is discovering the root cause of destructive behavioural patterns and thus seeking a resolution.
Developing alternative, more helpful ways of thinking can significantly increase a person’s well-being. The above strategies allow a person to stay in the present moment and develop an understanding between their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours.
The psychodynamic approach focuses on the unconscious forces that drive behaviour and explores what compels people to act and behave in a certain way.
Based on Freudian psychology, the psychodynamic approach is rooted in traditional psychoanalytic theory. The psychodynamic theory believes all human behaviour is motivated by unconscious, repressed desires.
Our early life experiences get stored in the unconscious mind, which profoundly influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviour as adults. Bringing conflict into conscious awareness allows a person to experience catharsis.
Psychodynamic therapy treats anxiety, panic disorders, stress-related physical symptoms, and depression effectively.
12 – step program
12 – step programs are holistically driven and consider a person’s whole being. An integrated, holistic approach considers the mind, body, and soul, and programs such as this are proven to be the most effective for treating various addictions.
Most retreat centres take a different approach to the 12 steps, but the focus is usually on the whole body and not just a set of symptoms.
Other effective therapies for stress and burnout
Other therapies that are effective for treating stress and burnout and that you can expect from an executive wellness program include:
- Music and art therapy
- EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing)
- Person-centred therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
Wellness program experiences
Typically, an executive wellness program is an interactive experience that promotes health and wellness at an optimum level.
Such programs may include:
- Rigorous health screenings, including blood pressure.
- Examining a person’s fitness level.
- Reading a person’s blood sugar.
- Overall health status check-up.
Wellness programs offer different activities to help you unwind and exercise your competitive streak.
Most executive wellness programs include:
- Authentic experiences
Contacting White River Manor
Whether you are an executive or not, we provide the ultimate burnout and executive treatment program.
Our specialists are dedicated to providing a holistic approach to stress and burnout, and we encourage people from all walks of life to join our wellness programs. Contact a specialist today for more information.